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.

Top picks for The Selous & Ruaha National Parks

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

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

Dinner on the sandriver at Jongomero, luxury hotel in Tanzania


The Selous & Ruaha National Parks

Superbly positioned right in the heart of the Ruaha National Park, Jongomero Camp lies on the banks of the seasonal sand river which bears the same name.

Where to stay

Baileys Banda hotel, luxury hotel in Tanzania

Bailey's Banda

The Selous & Ruaha National Parks

Part of the Beho Beho Camp, this private house sits tucked into the hillside just out of sight from its older sister, and is resolutely private.

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

The pool area at night at Beho Beho Camp, luxury hotel in Tanzania

Beho Beho Camp

The Selous & Ruaha National Parks

Beho Beho is a luxurious safari camp located in the northern part of the vast Selous Game Reserve.

Where to stay

Explore The Selous & Ruaha National Parks

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