What Wildlife can I see at Selous Game reserve?

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What Wildlife can I see at Selous Game reserve?

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  1. The remote regions of southern Tanzania make for a wild and raw safari experience than the more accessible national parks and reserves of northern Tanzania.

    The vast areas of Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park consist of secluded and pristine wilderness areas and a wealth of wild game. Throughout these areas it is still possible to enjoy a game-drive without seeing another vehicle.

    Three times the size of the Serengeti, the Selous Game Reserve is the largest wildlife sanctuary on the African continent covering an astounding 54,600km2. The Selous forms the nucleus of the 155,000km2 Greater Selous-Niassa Ecosystem, the largest tracts of relatively untrammelled bush in Africa, containing perhaps the greatest concentration of big game left on earth.
    Selous has a particularly high variety of habitats including Miombo woodlands, open grasslands, riverine forests and swamps. The reserve’s fire-climax vegetation creates soil erosion during the heavy rains.
    During this period, what once was a network of dry rivers of sand quickly become raging river torrents, creating a very dynamic ecosystem. As a consequence, roads within Selous become impassable and most camps close towards the end of the wet season (April – June) and reopen in July.

    Selous Game Reserve is home to some of Africa’s large mammal populations including globally significant populations of African elephant (70,000), black rhinoceros (150) and wild hunting dog (1,300). It also includes one of the world’s largest known populations of hippopotamus (40,000) and buffalo (200,000).
    There are also important populations of ungulates including sable antelope (8,000), Lichtenstein’s hartebeest (55,000), greater kudu, eland and 100,000 white-bearded wildebeest (common in Tanzania & Kenya but at the most southerly extent of its range with the Rufiji River forming a natural barrier between the ranges) and Nyassa wildebeest (at the most northerly extent of its range again with the Rufiji River forming a natural barrier between the ranges).
    In addition, there is also a large number of lion (4,000), leopard, puku antelope (50,000), wildebeest (100,000), zebra (35,000), impala (25,000), giraffe (completely absent south of the Rufiji River), Nile crocodile, side-striped jackal, spotted hyena, Sharpe’s greysbok, topi, bushbuck, waterbuck, reedbuck, klipspringer, red and blue duikers, warthog, Sanje crested mangabey, Uhehe red colobus monkey (vulnerable), blue samango monkey, black and white colobus monkey, and yellow baboon amongst others.
    There exists a rich array of bird life in Selous, with an approximate 450 species including the endemic Udzungwa forest partridge (classed as vulnerable) and the rufous-winged sunbird (also vulnerable). Other species include knob-billed duck, southern ground hornbill, bateleur eagle, Stierling’s woodpecker, and white-headed lapwing. The globally threatened wattled crane, corncrake and lesser kestrel also occur.

    Despite its vast area, the Selous is divided into two uneven parts split by the Rufiji and the Great Ruhaha Rivers. The approximate 5,000 foreigners who visit annually (1% of tourist arrivals to Tanzania) enjoy wildlife spotting in an area north of the Rufiji River, in just 5% of the total surface area.
    Game drives are particularly good towards the end of the dry season (Sept-Nov) when the large mammals concentrate along meandering Rufiji River, and the network of 5 attractive lakes and adjoining narrow streams, channels, swamps and volcanic hot springs.

    Lion kills are regularly witnessed in Selous. Indeed, visitors have a higher chance to witness a lion kill here than almost any other reserve in Africa. This is partly because the dry season forces the lions to resort to an unusual diurnal hunting strategy. During this period, the lions rarely move from the lakes and wait to pounce on their prey.

    Selous is probably the best place in Africa to see the endangered free-ranging African wild dog with an approximate population of 1,300, twice the total of any other African country, let alone any individual game reserve and close to 1/3rd of the worlds total population. The denning season between June-Aug is the best time to view the 3 separate packs (60 individuals) that live north of the Rufiji River.

    With a herd of approximately 150 black rhinoceros Selous has the largest herd to be confined within any east African conservation area. Visitors to the reserve will search for the 10 resident individuals that inhabit the area north of the Rufiji River, in the Kidai sector and the Beho Beho hills of the north-west.
    During the dry season the elephants partake in an ancient migration between the Selous and Mozambique’s Niassa Game Reserves. This is one of the largest natural trans-boundary eco-systems in Africa with up to 70,000 elephant individuals roaming the two parks, 84% on the Tanzanian side.

    Being a game reserve the Selous is not subject to the regulations that govern the national parks of Tanzania. Visitors can enjoy boat trips along the sandbanks, oxbow lakes, lagoons, and channels of the Rufiji River, tiger and vandu catfish fishing trips, game drives, excursions to the hot springs, guided game walks based at a lodge/camp, and mobile walking safaris between mobile fly camps.

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