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Nyerere (Selous) Safari Tours & Holidays

One of the largest protected spaces in Africa, Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous Game Reserve) is a fabulous, beautiful world of big cats, big elephants and big herds of wildlife. The landscape here is also something special, with a beguiling mix of the mighty Rufiji River, palm-fringed lakes, deep gorges and wild woodlands. The Selous, as most locals still call it, has a refreshingly wild feel about it, and it’s nicely removed from the crowds that you often get in the parks of Tanzania’s Northern safari circuit. In fact, this is one of few places in East Africa where you can enjoy the region’s famous safari trails in relative peace, and where each wildlife encounter still feels like a real discovery.

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1-20 of 250 Nyerere (Selous) trips, packages and vacations

5 Questions About Nyerere (Selous) National Park Tours


5 Questions About Nyerere (Selous) National Park Tours

Answered by Anthony Ham

How does a Nyerere safari compare to a Serengeti safari?

“The ideal scenario is a holiday in which you visit both Nyerere National Park and the Serengeti. That way you could compare these two magnificent parks for yourself. At the highest level, both parks have incredible wildlife and you’ll get to see the animals against a backdrop of beautiful landscapes. Looking a little closer, Nyerere has much more water and subtropical vegetation, as well as denser woodlands. These landscape differences are also reflected in the subtle differences in the wildlife you can see here. Although there are many species that are common to both, such as big cats, elephants, zebras, giraffes, crocodiles and hippos, Nyerere has fewer plains or savannah species and is a crossover zone where you can see bird species from both East and southern Africa.”


What can I expect from a Nyerere National Park tour?

“The simple answer is that you can expect to see lots of wildlife against a backdrop of stunning landscapes when you’re on a safari in Nyerere National Park. More specifically, the most exciting part of your holiday will be the early morning and late afternoon wildlife experiences. Usually this means a before-dawn wake-up call, a hot drink, then a game drive looking for birds and animals. Unless you’re moving on to a different location for the next night, you’ll return to camp mid- to late morning for breakfast and/or lunch. This is often a time to relax, before afternoon tea and another game drive immediately afterwards. While out on the trail, just before sunset, you’ll most likely stop somewhere scenic for a sundowner where you can enjoy the drink of your choice at a simply gorgeous time of day. In Nyerere National Park, there’s one fine variation on this classic safari experience: instead of one or more of the game drives, you might go on a boat tour or safari out on the Rufiji River, from where you’ll get a whole new perspective on the park.”


How much will a Nyerere safari cost?

“Prices vary widely when it comes to Nyerere National Park safari packages, starting from $150 per person per day for the cheapest safari, up to more than $1,000 per person per day for the height of luxury. At the cheaper end of the price range, you’ll most likely be sleeping in simple rooms or bungalows, possibly with shared bathrooms, or in camp tents. If you’re on a camping safari, you might be expected to contribute to group chores, such as setting up camp and cooking. For mid-range safaris, you can expect rooms, meals and vehicles of a higher standard. If your accommodation is in safari tents, you’ll have en suite bathrooms and a few other furnishings, with space to walk around in. At the luxury end of the scale, accommodation is superb and spacious, with high levels of personal service, excellent meals and less-crowded safari vehicles.”


What animals can I expect to see?

“Nyerere National Park has the advantage of having incredible scenery and wildlife habitat on both land and the Rufiji River. On a boat safari out on the river, you’ll almost certainly see hippos, crocs and abundant birdlife, and you never know which land mammals might come down to drink by the river’s edge. On game drives, you’re almost guaranteed to see both lions and elephants: the Selous (as Nyerere National Park is still called by many locals) has some of Tanzania’s largest populations of both species. Other big cats are always a possibility, as are African wild dogs, and the park has large populations of zebra, giraffe, buffalo, wildebeest and so many other species. More than 440 bird species have been recorded in the park, making this a top-notch destination for birders.”


How many days are recommended for a trip to the park?

“Spend as much time as you can in Nyerere National Park. I would recommend a minimum of 3 days for a safari to Nyerere National Park. That will give you time to go on a number of game drives, take a Rufiji River boat safari, enjoy more than one river sunset, and get a good overall experience of what the park has to offer. With just 2 days, you could achieve much of the same, but it will be a bit of a rush, and you’ll most likely leave wanting more. Each extra day you have here will bring rewards, allowing you to see more of the park and return to some of your favorite corners of the park. Additional days also mean you can factor in relaxation time to enjoy your accommodation and downtime without feeling as though you’re missing out if you don’t go out and explore.”


Nyerere Safari Reviews

4.4/5 99 Reviews
Sue Watt  –  
United Kingdom UK

Sue is an award-winning writer who specializes in African travel and conservation. She writes for national newspapers, magazines, Rough Guides and Lonely Planet.

True Wilderness – and wild dogs

If you’re after a true wilderness sensation that goes beyond the confines of a Land Cruiser, then come to Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous Game Reserve). A vast chunk of Nyerere, most of the land south of the Rufiji River, is sadly...

Full Review

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

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...

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Harald Schulz  –  
Germany DE
Reviewed: Mar 18, 2024

It were not the big five but maybe in the other national parks. We were in the wrong national park to see them. This were the first safari and visit in Tansania .It was a great visit in this national park and we saw many another animals. ...

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Danielle  –  
Israel IL
Reviewed: Oct 7, 2023

Not every animal chose to appear for us, but we were able to get close to an incredibly diverse range of animals and birds. Our guide was highly professional and knowledgeable and really enhanced our understanding of what we were seeing.

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Andros Belfonte  –  
Trinidad and Tobago TT
Reviewed: Jul 14, 2023

I was able to see 3 of the Big 5. Elephant, Buffalo and Leopard. Didn't see any lions on the day but they are around sometimes. No rhinos on this park. It was a magnificent 3 day experience with a lot of wildlife. The tour guide was...

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Jaroslav Karhánek  –  
Czech Republic CZ
Reviewed: May 12, 2023

As I mentioned before in review for Tanzania, this park is emazing. Close to Dar es Salaam so if you do not have so much time this is the best option and you will not regret it. Many animals, great landscape, kind people and everything 5*....

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