The Selous & Ruaha National Parks

Luxury Safari Holidays in Selous and Ruaha

Tanzania boasts not one, but two, of Africa's best kept secrets. Four times the size of the Serengeti and slightly bigger than Switzerland (or Denmark, depending on who you listen to), the Selous Game Reserve is large - in fact the largest in Africa. Slightly to the north-west the Ruaha National Park was recently expanded to become Tanzania's largest national park. A safari here feels like you're going truly off the beaten track and into virgin territory.

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Why we think you’ll love it

  • The Selous lion, unlike their normally nocturnal brethren, display unique (and convenient for those on safari) daytime hunting behaviour that is a fantastic spectacle.

Luxury Safaris in the Selous Game Reserve

Accessible by air, the Selous is still relatively untouched, and a wilderness of tangled jungle and meandering 'sand rivers', bar one - the vast Rufiji River - which winds its way majestically through the reserve all year round. The wild, rugged plains are home to everything from hot volcanic springs, 100 yard deep gorges and sporadic lakes to vast wooded escarpments and dry savannahs.

And that's just the terrain. With so much diversity the reserve is able to protect a phenomenally large mammal population including buffalo, hippo, wildebeest, zebra and impala. The local giraffe population is also so large that the Selous has been nicknamed Giraffic Park. Birders, too, will not be disappointed.

With all this food-on-the-hoof it's hardly surprising that there are predators aplenty in the reserve. The Selous lion are famous for their daylight hunting techniques, and wild dog, whose predatory needs have often led to them being shot by farmers, thrive in the boundless woodlands and savannah of the Selous.

Because the Selous is a game reserve and not a national park a larger range of activities are permitted. Boating safaris are increasingly popular and offer visitors a chance to see, up close, and in all its splendour, the diverse wildlife along the Rufiji River. Walking safaris, where guests track lions on foot and spend the night in fly camps, are an ideal way to explore the park and add a real touch of adventure.

Ruaha National Park Safaris

Tucked away in the Central Highlands, the Ruaha National Park feels like completely virgin wilderness. Apart from a few isolated springs, the only real water source is the Ruaha River itself, meaning that during the dry season from June to November this acts as a major attraction for game.

Like the Selous, the real joy of Ruaha is a distinct lack of tourists, and thriving varied wildlife. Ruaha has one of the greatest populations of elephant in any African park, and the dry open hillsides encourage antelope and buffalo to gather into large herds which are in turn stalked by some of the largest prides of lion anywhere on the continent. This terrain is particularly good for seeing not only lion but potentially leopard, wild dog and numerous giraffe and zebra on a Tanzania safari.


Original Highlight

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The area is a paradise for those keen to get away from the bustle and the other tourists. You'll be able to explore vast areas of pristine wilderness by foot, 4x4, or even by boat.

Eleanor, Original Traveller

Weather in January January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Average Temp. — 27°C / 80°F
  • Rainfall — 6cm / 2.7 inches
  • Water Temp. — 29°C / 84°F
Flight from London

9:00 hrs

Time Difference

GMT +3 hrs

Top picks for The Selous & Ruaha National Parks

Azura Selous

Azura Selous

The Selous & Ruaha National Parks

One of Tanzania’s most luxurious lodges is tucked away, miles from any other camps in the mighty Selous Game Reserve, along the banks of the Ruaha River. Being isolated within the Selous has huge advantages; often guests will not see another safari vehicle whilst on game drives, giving the feeling that you’re exploring a private concession.

Where to stay

Wildlife at Mdonya Old River Camp, luxury camp in Tanzania

Mdonya Old River Camp

The Selous & Ruaha National Parks

Situated in the western corner of Ruaha National Park, Mdonya River Camp is made up of eleven traditional style safari tents, dotted under the shade of large sycamore figs on the banks of a dry sandriver.

Where to stay

Sunset at Impala Camp, luxury hotel in Tanzania, Africa

Impala Camp

The Selous & Ruaha National Parks

Impala Camp is located on the banks of the Rufiji River in the Selous National Park, Africa’s largest game reserve.

Where to stay

The camp pool at Siwandu, luxury camp in Tanzania


The Selous & Ruaha National Parks

Siwandu is a luxury tented camp located on the banks of Lake Nzerakera in Tanzania’s vast Selous Game Reserve, the largest protected wilderness reserve on the continent.

Where to stay

Breakfast in the bush, Ruaha National Park

Kigelia Ruaha

The Selous & Ruaha National Parks

Kigelia Ruaha is located within a Kigelia tree grove - from which it takes its name – on the banks of the Ifuguru Sand River, which as well as being a peaceful and secluded spot to camp, is also in one of the richest game areas in the whole of the Ruaha National Park.

Where to stay

Sand Rivers at night

Sand Rivers Selous

The Selous & Ruaha National Parks

Sand Rivers is a luxurious safari lodge on the Rufiji River.

Where to stay

Explore The Selous & Ruaha National Parks

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