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Nyerere (Selous) Luxury Safari Tours

4.4/5  –  85 Nyerere Reviews

Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous Game Reserve) is Tanzania’s largest wildlife reserve, extending across almost 31,000km²/12,000mi². This makes it similar in size to Belgium. The reserve is dominated by dry miombo woodland. The Rufiji River runs through Nyerere, feeding a string of palm-lined lakes and channels. The reserve supports the world’s largest populations of buffalo, hippo, lion and African wild dog. It also provides refuge to large numbers of elephant, giraffe, crocodiles and aquatic birds. It is the only safari destination in Tanzania where game drives are supplemented by guided walks, boat trips and overnight fly-camping excursions. This results in a more rounded bush experience than at most other reserves.

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1-12 of 12 luxury tours, packages and holidays to Nyerere National Park

7 Questions About Nyerere (Selous) Luxury Safari Tours

Answered by Philip Briggs

Why should I choose Nyerere (Selous) for a luxury safari?

“When it comes to luxury and exclusivity, the best lodges and camps in Nyerere are hard to beat. This is partly because the reserve extends over such a vast area. Even though all its lodges and camps lie in an area on the north bank of the Rufiji River, they tend to be small and personal. And they are set far enough apart from each other to offer a real feel of exclusivity. What marks Nyerere out as a safari destination is the presence of the Rufiji, a wide, palm-lined watercourse that offers a real African riverine wilderness experience. Nyerere is the only major reserve in Tanzania that can be explored by boat. This is a thrilling experience thanks to the presence of many hippos, elephants and crocodiles, and water birds such as African skimmer, African fish eagle and palm-nut vulture. Back on dry land, Nyerere is also one of the best places anywhere to see the endangered African wild dog. Lions, darker than elsewhere in Tanzania and with scraggly manes, are often seen hunting around the lakes by day. Other attractions are guided walks, an activity forbidden in the national parks, and fly camping around the lakes. That said, Nyerere’s hot climate sporadically sees abundant tsetse flies, and the rather exposed camps and lodges make it relatively challenging compared to, say, the Serengeti. Overall, it is better suited to repeat safari-goers than to nervous first-timers.”


What is included in a luxury safari in Nyerere (Selous)?

“A luxury safari package is almost always all-inclusive, and Nyerere safari packages are no exception. This means that the quoted price will include flights or road transport in and out of the reserve, and transfers between camps within the reserve. Guided game drives, walks, boat excursions and other activities, along with accommodation and all meals, are also usually included. Most luxury lodges and camps in Nyerere also include non-premium drinks and laundry in their room rates. Non-premium drinks include tea, coffee, soft drinks, local beer and house wine. This isn’t always the case though, so do check to see exactly what your package covers. The most significant exclusion from a safari package will be tips, which can really add up on a Nyerere luxury tour. Check with your operator about expectations for tips and don’t forget to bring cash in small denominations with you.”


How long do I need for a luxury safari in Nyerere (Selous)?

“Many people will be happy with a 4-day, 3-night tour, which comes with a near certainty of spotting lions and elephants. But it really depends on your personal preference and your interest in wildlife. I feel that it is worth spending slightly longer in Nyerere, say 4 to 6 nights. Split your time between two camps or lodges, one in the vicinity of the wildlife-rich lakes near Mtemere Gate and the other in the quieter savannah to the west. Safaris in Nyerere are often combined with Ruaha National Park or the more westerly Katavi and Mahale Mountains National Parks. This can result in a longer, more diverse itinerary of 8 days to 2 weeks.”


What is the difference between a drive-in or fly-in on a luxury safari in Nyerere (Selous)?

“There are few advantages to driving to Nyerere for a luxury safari. It is a long, hot, dusty trip from Dar es Salaam. Once in the reserve, the car will be redundant as the more luxurious camps offer all-inclusive tours that include game drives and other activities. Flights to Nyerere provide a thrilling introduction to the reserve. The light aircraft sweeping above the Rufiji River provides good views of channels and islets teeming with hippos, elephants and waterfowl. If Nyerere is part of a tour that includes the Southern and Western safari circuits, it is worth noting that these reserves are spaced very far apart. Getting between them by road involves some very long drives, again tipping the scale firmly in favor of flying.”


How does a typical day on a Nyerere (Selous) luxury safari unfold?

“Typically, you would avoid being out and about during the midday heat, unless you opt to take a packed lunch and do a full-day game drive. Usually, the morning would start with a pre-sunrise wake-up call and quick cup of coffee and snack. You’d then head out on an early morning game drive, boat trip or guided walk. You might carry a packed breakfast to eat on the road or return to camp for a late breakfast or brunch. Lunchtime offers an opportunity for a nap in your tent or a dip in the swimming pool. Then you might head out for an afternoon activity drive at 3 PM or 4 PM. We would favor the morning for game drives, when carnivores are most active. Morning is also best for guided walks since it is relatively cool. The afternoon is better for boat trips, if only to enjoy the unforgettable sight of the sun setting behind the tall borassus palms and baobabs that line the Rufiji River. Either way, the day usually ends with sundowners (sunset drinks) around the campfire, a three-course dinner, and an early night for the next day’s pre-dawn start. The variety of activities on offer on a Nyerere luxury safari means that a typical day tends to be less prescribed than in most other parks and reserves. Your day will be tailored to make the most of the finest wildlife-viewing hours, which are the first hour or two after sunrise and the last hour or two before sunset.”


What type of accommodation can I expect on a luxury safari in Nyerere (Selous)?

“The dozen or so exclusive permanent lodges and tented camps dotted around Nyerere’s main tourist circuit are generally small, with up to 10 rooms. The lodges are normally in a thatch-and-canvas style, and ecofriendly. Most tented camps offer accommodation in large standing tents with en suite hot showers and comfortable bedding. Private verandas face towards the Rufiji River or one of its lakes. Top-notch cuisine, service and wine are provided. Many camps and lodges also have swimming pools, which are welcome in Nyerere’s extreme heat. Most have wifi. If this is important to you, check in advance that it’s on offer. Most camps and lodges offer overnight fly-camping excursions. This usually involves sleeping beneath a glorified mosquito net on the shore of a lake teeming with hippos and crocs. Fly camping is not for the fainthearted.”


What are the typical costs of a Nyerere (Selous) luxury safari?

“At the very top end, a full fly-in 3- to 4-day safari holiday from Dar es Salaam is likely to be between $1,200 and $1,600 per person daily. Mid-range options tend to be in the ballpark of US$600 to US$1,000 per person per day. The daily cost decreases slightly for longer safaris or if you combine Nyerere with other reserves in southern and western Tanzania. The exclusivity and remoteness of Nyerere means that a luxury trip there tends to be pricier than a similar excursion in northern Tanzania.”


Nyerere Reviews

4.4/5 85 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

Mary Fitzpatrick  –  
United States US

Mary is an acclaimed travel writer and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including South Africa, Tanzania, East Africa and Africa.

Boat safaris, wild dogs & wilderness

Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous) is near the top of my list of recommended safari destinations. It offers sublime riverine scenery, year-round greenery and a complete climate and topographical contrast to the Northern circuit. While...

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...

Full Review

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

Lyn Arnold  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Aug 7, 2019
Fantastic Reserve: Full of Animals, Not Full of People

Selous Game Reserve is a real jewel, full of wildlife and birds and intriguing flora with the added bonus of very few visitors. I stayed at Asilia Africa's Roho Ya Selous and it could not have been better. As a solo traveler, I look for...

Full Review