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SELOUS GAME RESERVE

 
Frederick Courtenay Selous     Frederic Courtenay Selous     Frederick Courtenay Selous

Frederick Courtenay Selous (1851-1917), after whom the world's largest game reserve is named,
epitomized the British colonial gentleman.


Selous was born in Regents Park, London on 31st December 1851
He went to South Africa at the age of 19. He spent most of the early days in Matabeleland and later in Manika and Rhodesia with Cecil Rhodes. He helped to organize the Teddy Roosevelt expedition in 1909.

He never hunted in Tanganyika. When WW1 broke out he was 64. Against all advice he joined the Royal Fusiliers with the rank of captain and ended up in the East Africa campaign. Chasing the Germans he eventually reached the Rufiji where he was killed by a sniper near Beho Beho on the 4th January 1917.

When the British established the Game Department in 1922, they named the Selous Game Reserve in his honour. It has grown from lands originally set aside by Germans in 1905 to cover 22,000 square miles of Tanganyika, and today it preserves game for both photographic and traditional safaris.

One can visit Stieglers Gorge (100 metres deep and 100 metres wide), or the Beho Beho hot springs. Other activities include bird watching; photography; walking safaris; and fishing Tiger Fish and Vandu (in the rivers of the Kilombero Game Controlled Area to the west of the reserve).

The Selous is four times the size of the Serengeti and possesses a diverse landscape from hot volcanic springs, sporadic lakes, channels from the Great Ruaha and Rufiji rivers.
Walking is permitted (with an armed ranger) which with over 400 species of bird and 2,000 species of plants to see makes this the most heavenly sanctuary to explore.

There are elephant, hippopotamus and rhino (although few of the latter now remain).
The park has a broad range of game: buffalo - the largest population in Africa;
hartebeest; greater kudu; sable antelope (now rarely seen in the photographic area); eland; reedbuck; bushbuck; waterb reptiles include crocodiles and various snakes and lizards.

This reserve contains about one third of all the wild dogs (often called painted dogs), in the world.
Their need to range over vast areas and their formidable hunting skills have caused many to be shot by farmers, but here in the Selous they have boundless woodlands and savannah in which to roam.

Selous Wild Dogs

African Wild Dogs in Selous - photo by Dominic Oldridge

The Rufiji River

 

In the dry season an ancient migration of elephants takes place between the Selous and Mozambique's Niassa Game Reserves. This is one of the largest natural trans-boundary eco-systems in Africa and in the past it was estimated that 64,400 elephants roam the two parks, with 84% on the Tanzanian side.

Many conservationists disagree with this currently, putting the figure around 45000 and it could be even lower. A fresh census in Sept 2015 shows the numbers of elephants in Selous to have declined further.

There is no doubt that tourism protects the elephants and other protected animals - in two ways.
Firstly the income from park and reserve fees go to help maintain the conservation areas.
Secondly the presence of tourists, lodges, tented camps and staff make it difficult for poachers to exist in these areas.

 

SELOUS SEASONS


Dry Season:

The dry season sets in during June to mid November and is the best time for game viewing along the rivers and lakes.
Elephants come out of the bush at that time and predators are more commonly seen.
December to February is good for game viewing but can be rather hot and humid.

Rainy Season:

mid November to mid December and March to May are wonderful for birdlife ad lush scenery
but many roads become impassable after heavy rains.
Most of the camps in southern Selous are closed during April and May.

Selous Map Lake Manze Camp Selous Impala Camp
 


Link to dictionary of Swahili names for animals

Link to Selous Birds

 
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