The Selous Game Reserve is the largest wildlife park in Africa. Established in the late 19th century by the German colonial government, it was founded in order to allow restricted hunting without threatening the continuation of the animal populations. It remains to this day a combination public-private venture, and is one of the few places left in Africa where limited hunting is permitted. However, a large swath of the park is reserved for those who wish only to shoot with cameras.
Selous was founded in 1896 as a protected area and graduated to a hunting reserve in 1905. After World War I, when Tanzania changed from German to British hands, it was upgraded again to a game reserve. Although protected, the park’s huge size and animal population, as well as greater conservation efforts elsewhere on the continent, allowed limited hunting to continue. By the latter half of the 20th century, it was one of the last places left in Africa to allow legal hunting. It became a world heritage site in 1982.
Despite the carefully restricted hunting, or perhaps because of it, Selous has one of the best preserved animal habitats on the continent. Some of Africa’s largest animal populations are here, with elephants, hippopotami and cape buffalo in large numbers. It also has many wild dogs, a general rarity in other areas. A popular destination is an area along the Rufiji River which has been designated as a photographic zone.
The Selous Game Reserve is huge, covering over 50,000 square km! Despite its size, the park, especially the interior, is very difficult to access, with many visitors coming by plane. The northern edge of the park is over 100 miles from Dar es Salaam. The park is open year round. As of this writing no visitor information was available. Web: www.selousgamereserve.net (official website).