Buffalo sunset, Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

Selous and Ruaha

Southern Tanzania features two contrasting landscapes, one a Game Reserve and the other a National Park. The Selous Game Reserve is vast and home to the mighty Rufiji River, drawing wildlife from a vast area especially in the drier months.

Ruaha National Park is well off the beaten track, at a higher altitude and with a sense of remoteness hard to find in many mainstream safari areas. Both have excellent wildlife viewing.

Two lionesses feeding on hippo, Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
Elephants quenching their thirst in the Great Ruaha River, Tanzania
Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
Plains game, Selous, Tanzania
Zanzibar, Tanzania

Wildlife of Selous and Ruaha

A combination of these two areas gives a very real chance of seeing wild dogs, incredible birdlife and big cats. Diversity of wildlife and activities are the buzz-words here – days on safari in boats on the Rufiji, walking with guides and experiencing a very interactive and authentic safari. Both areas are home to the big cats plus large plains game, Ruaha is one of the few places where you can spend a day without seeing other vehicles.

  • Walk with armed rangers and track the big game
  • Enjoy sundowners after a boat trip along the Rufiji
  • Stay at simple authentic bush camps or top-end lodges
  • Explore with some of the most knowledgeable guides in East Africa
  • Experience contrasts – the rugged beauty of Ruaha and the delta-like lushness of the Selous

Experiences

What do you really love doing? We curate your itinerary especially for you.

Fly camp, Selous, Tanzania

Fly Camping

Spend a night sleeping out in lightweight tents, camped in the heart of one of Tanzania’s largest wilderness areas.

Suggested stay

Walking, Sand Rivers Selous, Selous Game Reserve

Walking Safari

Join an armed ranger on foot and track big game across the landscapes of Ruaha and Selous.

Suggested camp

Lake Manze, Selous, Tanzania

Cruise the Rufiji

Relax with sundowner cocktails on a sunset boat trip along the Rufiji River.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Elephants quenching their thirst in the Great Ruaha River, Tanzania

Wildlife Connection

Learn about the work that NGO Wildlife Connection is doing to promote coexistence between local communities and the elephant population.

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Usangu Expedition Camp £££££

  • Africa
  • Tented Camps

A seasonal camp that only operates between June and November,  Usangu offers exclusivity for anybody wanting a genuine wilderness experience. The camp has just four tents and each one comes with its own guide and vehicle, giving you complete flexibility. Usangu Camp sits on the edge of the Usangu Wetlands, shaded by woodlands. Positioned close to the Douglas Bell Eco Research Station, the camp allows you to engage with the work and research projects taking place here. These range from telemetry tracking of predators to setting camera traps.

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Ikuka Safari Camp £££££

  • Tanzania
  • Safari Lodge

Ikuka Safari Camp is an intimate camp located on an escarpment with panoramic views of Ruaha National Park. The remoteness of this wilderness area offers an authentic and unspoilt safari experience. On game drives in the park, you are unlikely to see more than a handful of other vehicles. The camp has six spacious tented suites with 24-hour electricity, comfortable super-king beds and spacious bathrooms with showers and flush toilets. Each of the tented suites is covered by a thatched roof, whilst wooden decks extend in front, offering views over the park.

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Kwihala Camp £££££

  • Tanzania
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Set in the heart of Ruaha National Park, Kwihala Camp is a combination of raw African safari and luxury, designed for those who would like to be that little bit closer to the wildlife and the excitement of Africa, but who still crave the creature comforts. It is a small camp of just six, well-spaced tents giving guests a very private opportunity to see and experience Ruaha the way it should be. The shaded veranda with traditional safari chairs welcomes you to enter your spacious sleeping area. Furnished with proper beds and ensuite bathrooms with a bucket style shower. Rates include all drinks (except champagne, cellar wines, premium brand spirits), game drives, night drives, guided walks and a laundry service.

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Sand Rivers Selous £££££

  • Tanzania
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Sand Rivers is a permanent lodge in the Selous, a 40 minute light aircraft flight from Dar es Salaam. The lodge has eight double cottages built in rustic style, each with en suite bathroom and a private view over the Rufiji River. Cottages are all open fronted and on raised platforms to ensure panoramic views. There is an open-fronted mess area in which to relax next to the library and lots of private dining spots around the pool.

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Jabali Ridge £££££

  • Tanzania
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Jabali Ridge sits high on a rocky kopje, in Ruaha National Park. This stylish and comfortable camp has some of the best views in the park, looking out over a landscape dotted with palm trees and gnarled baobabs. The 10 beautiful suites are hidden amongst boulders and bush, spread along the ridge. Spacious and designed to complement the natural surroundings – using natural wood tones throughout – the rooms feature floor-to-ceiling shutter doors and beautifully rounded decks. Secluded and relaxed, Jabali is the perfect base from which to explore Ruaha. Facilities include an infinity pool, a spa and comfortable communal areas. Activities available will comprise game drives, night drives and walking safaris.

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Kigelia Camp £££££

  • Tanzania
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Set in a secluded grove of Kigelia or ‘Sausage Trees’, high on the banks of the Ifuguru sand river in the Ruaha National Park, Kigelia Camp is an exclusive seasonal camp offering a tailor-made, private experience. Kigelia Camp is accessed by light aircraft to Msembe Airstrip from either Dar es Salaam or Arusha. The adventure begins with the 14km game drive from the airstrip to the camp. The accommodation offered is six large double tents which offer a refined, authentic camping experience within a totally wild environment without sacrificing any of the comforts of home. Each tent has comfortable, locally crafted beds and its own ensuite bathroom with flushing toilet and open-air bucket shower for that true camping experience.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Illona Cross

Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management.

Talk with our experts
  • 1 800 571 2985

Chris Johnston

Chris is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Africa.

25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.

Talk with our experts
  • 1 800 571 2985

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