Explore Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania

Selous Game Reserve that is located in southern Tanzania is one of Africa’s largest parks and is a secret tip for stunning wildlife viewing. There are several rivers and lakes in Selous that form the lifeblood of the whole park, the central one being the Rufiji River. Especially the northern part of the Rufiji River is particularly scenic and one of the main wildlife viewing areas. The Rufiji River Camp is one of the most popular camps there and is just gorgeous place to stay.

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Selous is a pretty untouched wilderness in Africa and is easily accessible from Dar as well as Zanzibar. As Selous offers some of the finest boating safaris in Africa it is a must to take a boat ride on the river in order to see some of the 440 known species of birds including pelicans,

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white-fronted bee eaters

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or goliath herons just to mention a few of them. For birders this is a real paradise and the boat enables one to get very close to them, so great photos are guaranteed.

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Also pretty obvious are hippos and there are quite a few of them. They often are hiding so good in the water that even experienced boat drivers can overlook them and then the hippos are fleeing frightened of the sudden approach of a boat – they can be rather quick not only on land, but also in water.

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Always present around and in the water are crocodiles and some of them are really big. This one was sleeping in the evening sun and finally woke up as we came closer before disappearing into the water.

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Coming back to the camp during sunset does actually not stop you from watching but now from very comfortable terraces where you can of course enjoy all kind of sun-downers. And this is quite an important tip, you should take your time to do that whenever possible as these are quite stunning memories I found.

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While the boat safaris are stunning, of course also daytime game drives are a wonderful experience and you always should look to be able to drive in small groups as this enhances the whole experience of Safari significantly regardless if you are photographing, filming or simply watching. Experienced guides make up for the rest to guarantee successful sightings.

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Like we had the other morning with several groups of giraffes down at the river. Even being some distance away from them the continued to watch us carefully but in the end did not get disturbed by us.

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Driving a bit down into the wetlands brings you easily close to a number of animals. You always can see groups of elephants and we were lucky to get a show from a young one while eating breakfast.

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But also zebras and giraffes can come pretty close that allows for nice shots.

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Also lion sightings are not uncommon as the animals are usually lazing around the lakes and wait for the other animals coming to drink. We found this old lioness in a group of younger ones resting from the efforts of their last hunt.

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Selous is a secure tip for interesting and stunning safari adventures and best time to visit is during dry season that are the months from July to October as there are usually many animals to be found in the park, while a number of animals move away from the feeding grounds during the months of January and February.

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Learn more about safari tours to Selous Game Reserve on our African Safari Tours page with a variety of sample tours.

Peter Tomsu for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Peter’s African Safari Travel Diary

As usual we started our game drive early in the morning after having a restful night at the Rufiji River Camp. Our goal today was to drive up besides the Rufiji river bed and see what animals we would be able to photograph and film. Pretty soon we could see several groups of giraffes in the morning sunlight grazing down at the river.

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We all were immediately busy to catch these wonderful moments with our cameras and soon forgot about time, this is something very usual when you are on safari and have a sighting on a beautiful place.

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While driving further down to the river we came through pretty dense forests and there were again elephants looking for fresh green. Especially one young male gave a nice performance for us, not only eating but already trying to impress us with some attacking games.

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We soon reached the river where lot of palm trees and very juicy grassland gave home to a number of animals, especially a blue heron was hunting in the wet grounds and showing us some nice poses.

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A breakfast is always welcome after these exciting sightings and Nelson our guide had prepared a delicious table for us. I love drinking my coffee out in the wild!

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Quick forward to some other parts of the game park we were lucky to see giraffes again as well as many zebras and even a leopard but she was too far away to get a decent picture from her.

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Before returning to the lodge we found a group of lions resting in the shade, yes it already had become pretty hot around 10:00am.

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At noon we had to leave this beautiful place and head to Arusha via Dar Es Salam. The flight to Dar Es Salam was pretty much packed this time and we arrived after a short flight.

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This airport is an interesting place to watch natives and we got the chance to do that over the next 2 hours or so because our connection flight to Arusha would not leave before 4:30pm. The native people are all very nice and friendly and in general good looking.

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After we were up in the air again the sun went down pretty fast and we arrived at Arusha airport after 6:00pm in almost darkness.

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A driver was already waiting for us and brought us to the nearby Coffee Lodge, which is indeed right in a coffee plantation. What a beautiful place and what kind welcome we received there! We immediately went to our rooms and got ready for dinner, where we would meet this evening with local ground handlers of Roho Ya Chui safari tours to enjoy the deilicous food of the lodge’s restaurant.

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After a nice dinner that was served in the perfect setting of this lodge and a lot of exciting conversations we went back to our rooms to prepare for the next day adventures. Being well prepared needs to become a no brainer when you have to be ready for shooting the next morning – all batteries charged, all equipment cleaned and hopefully all photos and videos taken during the day stored and backed up – well at least one tries the best.

Peter Tomsu for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Peter’s African Safari Travel Diary

We had a great night in the Ruaha River Lodge and this morning went out on our game drive already before 6:00am in order to be able to get hold of a potentially beautiful sunrise. And what a sunrise that was, we were not disappointed at all!

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This is one of the routines when you are photographing on safari to get out as early as possible in order to be able to see the sunrise, enjoy the stunning colours during this first hours of the day and of course also to see potentially as many animals and if lucky predators still eating their kill from last night. The highlight we got this morning was no predators, but instead a beautiful giant eagle owl sitting high up in a tree.

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After we had done some driving we went down to the Ruaha river in order to have breakfast. There is nothing like having breakfast in the bush, where the sun is already a bit higher and already starts warming up the air, which is a nice welcome after the usually cool nights and morning hours. Alex our guide was nicely preparing the whole breakfast setup and we started enjoying our coffee or tea, while eating the deliciously prepared breakfast.

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We had at the same time the possibility to watch the animals in the dried river bed like elephants, antelopes and even some hippos. It quickly got warmer and we had to move on to come back to the lodge in order to pack and prepare for our next hop to Selous.

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We were brought to Selous by a small airplane from Fox airlines. We were heading to the beautiful Rufiji River Camp, where we arrived at 3:00pm.

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Our tent was built underneath a high roof made from wood and we were again surprised about how beautiful and comfortable the interior looked like in this place, far away from standard civilization. Meanwhile Joel and I were already used to sharing one room or tent and as they tended to be so spacious there was absolutely no problem with that.

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At 4:00pm we started our boat cruise on the Rufiji river where we would have the opportunity to see all the animals from a totally different view as compared to the usual view out of a vehicle. We started with huge groups of pelicans who were absolutely not shy when the boat got closer.

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Next were hippos who were hiding everywhere in the water and the one group we had approached now was obviously surprised and upset because they hurried to get away from us as quickly as possible.

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Around the river you can see a multitude of birds but as you already know I am not a birder. Nevertheless one cannot help keep shooting these beautiful animals and I even got the chance to shoot a goliath heron this evening – yes I am very proud I managed to identify this beautiful bird.

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One of the highlights was to be able to get very close to crocodiles and we saw quite a few magnificent ones. They were dozing lazy on the sandbanks in the grass enjoying the evening sun before sliding slowly back into the water as soon as our boat came closer.

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Another beautiful sunset closed the day when our boat arrived at the lodge to let us enjoy our dinner and well-deserved sleep after this day of breath taking views and adventures.

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Peter Tomsu for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

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