Nyerere National Park

Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous Game Reserve) is Africa’s largest protected reserve in terms of square kilometers. With only few visitors, it is also a hidden gem far from the madding crowds of the northern parks. As an off-the-beaten-path destination it rewards visitors with an unspoiled wilderness and outstanding game encounters.

Located roughly 220 km from Dar es Salaam, it can easily be reached by plane but can also be accessed by road. Thanks to its great abundance of species and habitats, it is also an important wildlife corridor that links to the Niassa Game Reserve in Mozambique. It has gained UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1982.

This untouched, rugged game reserve offers its few visitors a huge range of activities. Regular game drives can easily be combined with spectacular boat safaris and incredible walking safaris with armed rangers. For the very adventurous traveler, a night under the African sky during a fly-camping experience is a spectacular highlight.

Main Facts

Selous: established in 1922 with a size of 54,600 km²
Nyerere: established in 2019 with a size of 30,000 km²

Best Time

all year around – best during dry season: June to October

Common Animals

Antelopes: eland, hartebeest, impala, kudu, wildebeest
Big Five: buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, rhino (hardly ever seen)
Birds: more than 440 bird species
Cats: hyenas, wild dogs (rarely seen)
Mammals: giraffe, hippos, zebras
Reptile: crocodiles, green mamba

Activities

game drives
boat safaris
fly camping
walking safaris

Expectations

incredible panoramas along the Rufiji River – especially from a boat
a great wealth of wildlife incl. birds, cats, mammals and many more
rarely seen, but possible to spot are the endangered wild dogs
a wealth of activities – game drives, boat and walking safari, fly camping
intimate and private safari experience away from the crowds

Further Details – Nyerere National Park

Vegetation

Nyerere National Park combines a large variety of habitats including open grasslands, rocky acacia-clad hills, riverine forests and swamps as well as Miombo woodlands along with borassus palm trees. More than 2100 plants have so far been recorded. The Rufiji River, which creates a complex network of channels, lakes and swamps, is a haven and life force for local wildlife.

Wildlife

The varied terrain provides a splendid habitat for an abundance of wildlife. Its large mammal population encompasses a significant population of African elephants, buffaloes, crocodiles and hippopotamus. Baboons, monkeys, giraffes, hyenas and zebras also play a part in the scenery. Rhinos do in fact inhabit Nyerere/Selous but sightings are extremely rare and should not be expected.

Puku and sable antelopes, elands, Lichtenstein’s hartebeests, impalas, greater kudus and Nyassa wildebeests call Nyerere/Selous their home. They provide the perfect dinner for the well over 3500 lions. Leopards are usually found lounging in the riverine woodland. It is also an important sanctuary for the endangered African wild dog.

With more than 440 recorded species of birds, Nyerere/Selous is a paradise for ornithologists. Apart from the endemic Uzungwa forest partridge, hornbills, plovers, storks, sunbirds, turacos and vultures can be observed. The lakes are home to fish eagles, ibises, kingfishers and pelicans, while along the sandbank you will often find large bee-eater colonies.

The Rufiji River – a source of life

The Rufiji River is the catchment area for superb wildlife observations. The labyrinth of channels, lakes and streams creates a delicate water paradise similar to the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Boat safaris are a great way to view wildlife from a different perspective. Visitors will come across sunbathing crocodiles or witness hippos from up close. While herbivores gather here to drink carnivores lie in wait. Spectacular encounters are in store for you!

Which travelers will particularly enjoy Nyerere National Park?

  • for travelers who want an off the beaten track experience
  • for travelers who want an extended stay in one place for in-depth park explorations
  • for travelers who are looking for a varied wildlife experience
  • for travelers who want to leave their vehicle and explore the park by foot and boat