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nyerere national park

Nyerere National Park (Selous Game Reserve)

Nyerere National Park: Background Info

One of the largest game reserves in Africa, the Selous Game Reserve sprawls across 50,000 square kilometres in the southeast of Tanzania. Its staggering wildlife diversity and undisturbed natural landscapes have seen it designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, although the region was first set aside as a protected area as far back as 1896 by the German Governor of Tanganyika, Hermann von Wissmann. In 1905, the region was established as a hunting reserve and was later named after Frederick Selous. This big game hunter and conservationist died at Beho Beho (which lies within the modern-day Selous Game Reserve) during World War I while fighting against the Germans.

While many areas of the reserve are still used for game hunting as privately leased concessions, the northern part of Selous Game Reserve along the Rufiji River is a popular safari destination and photography zone. It’s dotted with high-end lodges and camps that run daily game drives and walking safaris, as well as boat safaris to spot animals as they refuel along the banks of the Rufiji River.

Nyerere National Park: Destination Preview

nyerere national park

Wildlife

The Selous Game Reserve is home to huge numbers of buffalos (120,000 - 150,000), as well as large numbers of hippos and around 4,000 lions - among the largest populations in Africa. It also supports healthy populations of wildebeest, zebra and impala, together with giraffe, greater kudu, waterbuck, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest and eland.

The reserve is also considered an important sanctuary for the endangered African wild dog, as well as sable and puku antelope. Add to that spotted hyena, leopard, black rhino and Nile crocodile and it’s no wonder Selous is renowned amongst safari enthusiasts. While the park was once home to around 109,000 elephants (at the time the largest population in the world), numbers have significantly dropped due to poaching and there are only around 13,000 left today.

Birdlife

Aside from its wildlife, more than 440 bird species have been recorded in the Selous Game Reserve. Keep your eyes peeled for African skimmers and giant kingfishers on the lakes and rivers, as well as yellow-billed storks, spur-winged plovers and fish eagles. The Malagasy squacco heron regularly visits during the winter months while trumpeter hornbills and purple-crested turacos can be seen in the forested areas.

The most conspicuous birdlife is attracted to the sandbanks, lagoons, islands and channels along the Rufiji River. A good way to enjoy the birdlife is on a boat safari. Common birds include yellow-billed storks, kingfishers, lapwings and colorful bee-eaters. Fish eagle and palm-nut vulture can be found perched high in the trees and skimmers can sometimes be seen flying across the water. Migratory birds are present from November to April.

Nyerere National Park: Location

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