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Nyerere (Selous) Camping Safaris

4.4/5  –  89 Nyerere Reviews

Locals still know it as Selous Game Reserve. The official name is Nyerere National Park. Whatever you call it, this park is one of the largest in Africa and is filled with lions and elephants and so much more. The landscapes are also magnificent, offering a beautiful mix of the snaking Rufiji River, lakes, woodlands and deep gorges; Rufiji River sunsets are legendary in the region. It rarely gets crowded, especially the deeper you go into the park, and it’s an excellent place to go on holiday on a camping safari. Facilities are generally excellent, and it’s easy to explore the park and its wildlife from the various campsites.

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1-7 of 7 camping safaris to Nyerere National Park

5 Questions About Nyerere (Selous) Camping Safaris


5 Questions About Nyerere (Selous) Camping Safaris

Answered by Anthony Ham

What are the pros and cons of a Nyerere National Park camping safari?

“Many of the campsites are just outside the park boundaries. This is both a pro and a con. On the one hand, you can’t enter the park until sunrise, and you may waste a little time getting through the gate formalities and making your way into the heart of the park. At the same time, many of these campsites sit right alongside the northern riverbank of the Rufiji River, and the sunsets from such perches are often superb. Otherwise, it’s all positive: a camping safari in Nyerere National Park is a memorable way to explore an unforgettable park. Much of the park is pretty wild terrain, and you’ll be sleeping under canvas, catching its breezes and hearing the night calls of its animals. All the while you’ll feel as if you’re very much a part of this remarkable place.”


What facilities can I expect in the campsites?

“In those sites run by the Nyerere National Park authorities, the in-park locations are excellent. The facilities are basic and generally well-maintained. These facilities usually include a shared ablution block with toilets and showers, a communal kitchen, shared and shaded outdoor tables for meals, and plenty of space to pitch a tent. Just outside the main entrance gate to the park, in the woodlands right by the Rufiji River, many privately run safari camps have camping areas where you can pitch a tent. Although they’re outside the park, the riverbank location is outstanding, and you can very often enjoy the camp’s above-average facilities, such as the bar, restaurant and even the swimming pool. When I last stayed in one of these places, elephants and colobus monkeys were regular visitors to camp.”


How much will this safari cost?

“As a general rule, camping safaris in Nyerere National Park start at around US$150 per person per day, but these prices can go considerably higher. That said, as with all safaris, prices vary greatly, depending on a number of variable factors. These include the season when you’re visiting, whether you’re staying in a government-run or privately run camp, and the number of people in your group. Other factors that your safari operator will consider when setting prices are whether you’re expected to help with setting up camp, cooking and cleaning up your campsites before you leave. It’s also worth remembering that the per-day cost will usually be higher for shorter visits, as transport costs at the start and finish of your safari may need to be factored in.”


Is a camping trip in Nyerere National Park safe?

“I would have no hesitation in camping in or around Nyerere National Park, and I’d even camp here with my children. That said, you’ll need to be careful and always pay attention to your surroundings. This is especially the case because, in a majority of campsites, there are no perimeter fences to keep the animals out. One time when I was camping in Nyerere, I unzipped my tent in the early morning and found myself face-to-face with an elephant. You need to be particularly careful after dark when many animals are likely to be out and about, and visibility can be poor. But the same reasons why you need to take care are also why it’s such a fabulous experience: you’ll feel close to the animals in a way that simply isn’t possible when you stay in a four-walled room or behind a protective fence. And hard as it is to imagine, the chances are that many of the animals will be more scared of you than you are of them.”


What is the best time of year for a Nyerere camping safari?

“June to October is my favorite time to be on holiday in the Selous, as many locals still refer to Nyerere National Park despite the official name change. During these months you can expect mild temperatures, clear skies and park trails that are easy to drive. May, November and December can also be good. At these times, rain is possible, although it’s rarely more than an afternoon shower or thunderstorm. These months are also generally shoulder season, with lower prices (although this affects camping safaris less than it does the luxury end of the market), fewer safari travelers, and often greater availability when it comes to the busier campsites. The rest of the year, from January through to April, rains are more likely to disrupt your safari and some safari trails may be muddy and difficult to drive. That said, I’ve been there in March and April and had clear blue skies and wonderfully quiet everything. November to April are also the best months for birding, as this is when migratory species pass through (and even take up residence in) the park and surrounding area.”


Nyerere Reviews

4.4/5 89 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 National Park (Selous) 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

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*....

Full Review

Andy Bees  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Oct 3, 2022

The large area of this park means that the wildlife can be a bit more spread-out and the animals can be a bit more timid of vehicles. But in my opinion that is a good thing and exactly as it should be. Another plus is that the scenery is...

Full Review

Carry  –  
Netherlands NL
Reviewed: Sep 4, 2022

We did not spot the big 5, but Al lot of great animals. When one of the guides spotted lions, it suddenly gets very crowded. The rest of the day you will hardly see any other drivers. We had a beautiful boat safari and two fantastic full...

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Krzysztof Poręba  –  
Poland PL
Reviewed: Feb 23, 2020

The Selous Park is beautiful. And so many of our dibrtch memories from Tanzania. Afebxha was waiting for us by changing the number of employees in the contract. It was only after our intervention that she confessed to guilty and we...

Full Review