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Nyerere National Park Safaris

home of the African Hunting Dogs

Visiting Nyerere National Park

Until 2019, Nyerere national park, named after the country’s first president, following independence in 1961, was known as Selous Game Reserve.

Named officially in 1922 after an English explorer, Captain Frederick Courtney Selous, the reserve was his final resting place when he died there in combat with the Germans during the first world war just below Sugar Mountain in the Beho Beho hills. A small plaque marks the grave.

At 30,000 square kilometres, Nyerere National Park is the largest national park in Africa. It is the size of Switzerland and yet, one can go out for an entire day on game drive and never see another human soul. It is one of our favourite parks in Tanzania and is found in the south of the country.

As an operation, we started in Selous in the mid 90’s but our founders, David and Masoud met as safari guides in the reserve in the late 1980’s. There are, therefore, few operators who can match our knowledge of this park. Nyerere National Park has it all and is truly off the beaten track away from the crowds.

Wildlife of the Nyerere National Park

The mighty Rufiji river and the lakes are the lifeblood of the park and during the dry season of July through October, it is the place where a huge concentration of wildlife gathers. Nyerere national park is arguably the best place in Africa to spot the once endangered African Hunting Dogs (wild dogs). There are fantastic elephant herds, plenty of lion prides, leopard, hyena, kudu, eland, impala, bush buck as well as hippo and huge Nile crocs in the river and lakes. The birdlife here is also phenomenal with over 400 recorded species. Wildlife migrates from the east and the south both resident and migratory.

The wildlife in the Selous is particularly interesting as it attracts both east and southern African wildlife, both resident and migratory, and over 400 known species of birds, which make it a key destination on a Southern Tanzania safari. Lion are particularly strong here and there are large numbers of leopard. The park is home to over 50% of the remaining endangered African wild dog, and also hosts very good populations of buffalo, giraffe, eland, hyena, sable, hippo, crocodile, kudu, baboon, wildebeest, zebra, impala, hartebeest, colobus and vervet monkeys along with over 400 species of bird.

Honeymoon in Tanzania

Tanzania Honeymoon 
The secret safari parks

11 days  |  US $4400

  • Saadani national park
  • 4x4, boat and foot safaris
  • Swahili coast
  • Selous Nyerere national park
  • Off the beaten track safari
  • Zanzibar beach
  • Small and intimate lodges and safari accommodation

Safari and Beach Holidays

Zanzibar and Secret Southern Tanzania safari

11 days  |  US $4370

  • 2 safari destinations and 2 beaches
  • Selous Nyerere National park
  • Stay in small and intimate lodges and safari accommodation
  • Saadani National park
  • Zanzibar beach & culture 

Off-The Beaten Track Safari

Secret Southern Tanzania, Selous and Saadani

10 days  |  US $5355

  • Two safari destinations
  • Selous game reserve
  • Saadani national park
  • Combine car, boat and foot safaris
  • Best place to spot African hunting dogs
  • Safari in open Land Rovers
  • Best of african wildlife

Bird watching in Tanzania

Best of Tanzania
Bird Watching safari tour

12 days  |  US $3975

  • Mountain, wetland and sea birds
  • From Kilimanjaro to Selous
  • Birds of Usambara mountains
  • Saadani national park
  • Udzungwa mountains bird-watching
  • Selous Nyerere national park

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Best time to visit Nyerere national park

How to get to ​Nyerere national park

The park is easily accessed by scheduled flights from Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar with a flight time of under an hour. Visitors can also get to the park by road from Dar es Salaam but we recommend a break in the journey, maybe with a stop off in Mikumi National Park. The road to Selous is graded regularly but it’s worth checking after the main rainy season of April & May how the road is. 

For those who are feeling adventurous with an interest in experiential travel, there is no better way, in our view, to get to the park than by the TAZARA train from Dar. This is the Tanzania to Zambia train that departs from Dar twice-weekly on a Tuesday and Friday with a journey time of approximately 4.5 hours. The train is remarkably punctual but on some days the delay can be for hours with it occasionally not running at all. We have a good source of information at TAZARA after so many years of using the train to Selous and therefore always proceed with caution.