​Overview – Nyerere (Selous) NP

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations, including the guide to Tanzania.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Bradt guidebook to Tanzania.

Philip is the author of the Bradt guidebook to Tanzania.

Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous Game Reserve) is Tanzania’s largest national park. The lifeblood of this vast wilderness is the mighty Rufiji River and a network of interconnected lakes. The abundant water supports huge numbers of crocodiles and hippos, which you’ll get scarily close to on boat trips, and also attracts plenty of elephants, buffalo and other wildlife. Early morning game drives offer the best chance to see some lion action.

Best Time To Go June to October (Easiest wildlife viewing)
High Season June to October (The main tourist area gets crowded)
Size 30,893km² / 11,928mi²
Altitude 40-1,317m / 131-4,321ft

Pros & Cons

  • Top wildlife viewing in the Dry season
  • Walking and boat safaris are available
  • Excellent selection of mid-range and luxury lodges
  • Small wildlife-viewing circuit
  • Animals are scattered during the Wet season
  • The northern section of the park gets busy with day visitors

Nyerere NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

The variety of wildlife to be seen in Nyerere isn’t quite on a par with Ruaha or Serengeti National Parks, but you’re likely to see big herds of buffalo and elephant. Masai giraffes are very common too. Impalas are abundant and you’ll see lots of greater kudus with their magnificent spiral horns as well. Nyerere is a stronghold for the rare sable antelope and one of the main attractions of the park is the chance to encounter wild dogs.

Scenery

Nyerere is an important part of the massive cross-country 155,000km²/60,000mi² Greater Selous-Niassa ecosystem. Its main habitat is dense miombo woodland, but the main wildlife-viewing circuit follows a string of five connected lakes fed by the Rufiji, one of Africa’s great rivers. Its palm-fringed channels attract loads of wildlife in the Dry season and its sandbanks are permanently filled with monstrous crocodiles.

Activities

Nyerere’s unusually diverse range of activities means that it offers arguably the most rounded bush experience of any Tanzanian national park. Game drives are rewarding for predator sightings, while boat trips on the Rufiji River and associated lakes offer utterly compelling water-based wildlife viewing. Guided walking safaris and night drives both add further dimensions to the wilderness experience. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can sleep under the stars on a fly-camping trip.

Weather & Climate

Nyerere experiences almost uniform temperatures throughout the year because of its equatorial location. It is mostly very hot and humid, but the Dry season (June to October) is slightly cooler than the Wet season (November to May).

Best Time To Visit

The Dry season (June to October) is the best time to travel to Nyerere. This is when animals converge on the Rufiji River and its associated wetlands, and the dry bush is sparse enough for views of the wildlife to be relatively unobscured. If you do visit in the wetter months, be aware that numerous lodges close their doors from April to May.

Want To Visit Nyerere NP?

231 Nyerere Safaris

Nyerere NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Expert
Gemma Pitcher  –  
Australia AU

Gemma authored several Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guides to Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.

My Top Tip for Tanzania
5/5

Nyerere (Selous) National Park is my favourite game area in Tanzania, and possibly the whole of Africa. The landscape, with its emerald-green swamplands, dead trees submerged in water and shaggy-topped palms, is ravishingly beautiful. You...

Full Review

Latest User Review
Lorraine  –  
Canada CA
Reviewed: Jul 16, 2024
3/5

All tour operators harassing the wildlife, likely because we saw very few animals and they wanted to make tourists happy but it was wrong.

Full Review