HI: Nyerere National Park, previously known as Selous Game Reserve is also known as the “Wild Heart of Africa”. It is a spectacular Game Reserve in the world, populated by diverse species of wild flora and fauna.
WHY IS IT SPECIAL?
The unique wilderness safari environment comprises vast and thriving wildlife with forests and woodland around lagoons, sandbanks, and lakes along the mighty Rufiji River. Selous, now Nyerere National Park is the oldest protected area in Tanzania, it was established in 1896. The reserve was named after Captain Fredrick Courtney Selous, a British explorer, hunter, and conservationist, who died at Behobeho during the First World War.
The majority of visitors to the park pay tribute at the Selous grave located at Behobeho. The reserve is situated in the Southern part of Tanzania, covering an area of about 50,000 Km2 , which makes it the largest inhabited game reserve on the continent. Due to its natural diversity and untouched state, in 1982 UNESCO proclaimed Selous Game Reserve as a World Heritage Site and today continues to live up to its esteemed status. Nyerere National Park is home to over 350 species of birds and reptiles, 2000 species of plants as well as a wide range of wildlife.
The largest concentration of elephants on the continent has been known for taking home in this same reserve. The reduction in numbers estimated at about 30,000 to 50,000 is known for having been brought about by the “Ivory Wars “ of the late 70s and early 80s, which also brought about much devastating effect on the herds, reducing them in numbers. Apart from being very famous for hosting a diversity of fauna such as elephants, Lion, Leopards, hippopotamus, wildebeest, buffalos, sable antelope, eland, greater kudu, waterbuck, hartebeest, zebras, giraffe, reedbuck, warthog, spotted hyena, and hunting dog, in addition to the largest populations of buffalo in Africa.
LIFE AROUND RIVER RUFIJI
The Nyerere National Park also has a remarkable scenic view embraced with hot volcanic springs, sporadic lakes, and channels from the nearby rivers such as the Great Ruaha and Rufiji rivers make Selous Game Reserve have such a diverse landscape. The big herds of Tanzanian Elephants for example are attracted by the River Rufiji that flows through the reserve. Selous is a popular and superb hunting destination for big game hunting in Africa and arguably in the world. It is divided into forty-seven (47) blocks of which forty-two (42) of them are used for trophy hunting and the remaining five are (5) in the North Sector Matambwe are set aside for photographic tourism in lieu of trophy hunting. The Northern sector is home to a network of channels and lagoons that runs off the Rufiji River.
THINGS TO DO
The park is the most scenic wildlife destination and is utterly beautiful. The beauty of the reserve is ingrained in the quality of experience offered from:-
► Trophy/sport hunting
► Boating safari
► Night game drive
► Sport fishing
► Game viewing
► Commercial photography, Filming, and Cinematography
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit Nyerer National Park is certainly the dry season from June to March. During this period game drives are rather truly rewarding as many large mammals gather around the five lakes. On average, Selous receives 30,000 visitors per year. Being remote, it offers an exclusive experience for those who are taking a tour. Nevertheless, with increased demand for adventurers, Selous expects to receive 50,000 visitors in the next two years.
The sheer volume of games in the Selous is outstanding with statistics putting most parks in Africa to shame. Elephant, buffalo, and lion are ‘arguably’ found in no greater numbers year-round anywhere on the planet. But it is the Selous’ reputation as the last true stronghold for African wild dogs that draws the enthusiasts.
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