Selous Game Reserve
Only 200 km West of Dar es Salaam lies the mighty Selous Game Reserve, one of Africas least known yet wildest conservation areas. At an unbelievable 55,000 sq km Selous is almost twice the size of Belgium and four times larger than the famous Serengeti in the North, covering 5% of Tanzanias land area. The Selous ecosystem as a whole is made up of a few conservation areas, namely Mikumi in the North and the Kilombero game controlled area in the West, covering in total over 90,000 sq km of pristine wilderness devoid of human influence. Fed by the mighty Rufiji River, the largest river in East Africa which drains most of South Western Tanzanias water, this reserve is home to over 1,000,000 large animals and is home to over half of Tanzanias elephant population. Selous is unique among reserves in Tanzania as it encompasses an area exclusively devoted to tourism in its Northern part, making up for about 10% of the reserves total size.
This sector north of the Rufiji River is mostly open wooded grassland and is dominated by Terminalia spinosa trees – flat topped trees, in classic African fashion. However this section of the reserve is unusually diverse, comprising dense hardwood forests in the East, open plains in the centre, and rocky arid hills and volcanic springs in the West. The reserve is also crisscrossed by a multitude of dry riverbeds surrounded by dense riverine vegetation where many of Selous larger animals spend their days.