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Nyerere (Selous) National Park

Nyerere (Selous) NP




Best Time To Visit

Weather & Climate

Getting There

Malaria & Safety

Overview – Nyerere (Selous) NP
Nyerere National Park, formerly the Selous Game Reserve, is Tanzania’s largest national park. It is characterized by the majestic Rufiji River and interconnected lakes, which sustain a diverse ecosystem. The park is home to abundant crocodiles, hippos, elephants, buffalo, and other wildlife. Early morning game drives offer prime opportunities to observe lion activity up close.
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Best Time To Go
June to October offers the easiest wildlife viewing.
High Season
From June to October, expect crowds in the main tourist area.
30,893km² / 11,928mi²
40-1,317m / 131-4,321ft
Pros & Cons
Premier wildlife observation opportunities during the Dry season
You can opt for walking and boat safaris as additional adventure options.
A fantastic array of mid-range and luxurious lodges awaits you, offering unparalleled comfort and service.
Nature's Snapshot: Compact Wildlife Viewing Circuit
Wildlife Wanderlust: Scattered Scenes in the Rainy Season
Buzz in the North: Day Visitors Flock to the Park's Northern Sector
While Nyerere National Park may not boast the same breadth of wildlife as Ruaha or Serengeti National Parks, visitors can still anticipate remarkable sightings. Large herds of buffalo and elephant frequent the area, alongside the prevalent presence of Masai giraffes. The park is teeming with impalas, and the majestic spiral horns of greater kudus are a common sight. Nyerere serves as a vital habitat for the rare sable antelope, and one of its primary draws is the opportunity to encounter wild dogs, adding a thrilling dimension to any safari experience.
Nyerere National Park holds significant importance within the vast Greater Selous-Niassa ecosystem, spanning an impressive 155,000km²/60,000mi². The park’s primary habitat consists of dense miombo woodland, but the main wildlife-viewing route traverses along a series of five interconnected lakes nourished by the Rufiji River, one of Africa’s major waterways. During the Dry season, these palm-fringed channels become bustling hubs of wildlife activity, while the sandbanks serve as permanent residences for formidable crocodiles, enhancing the park’s allure for visitors.
Weather & Climate
Due to its equatorial positioning, Nyerere National Park maintains relatively consistent temperatures year-round. The climate is typically hot and humid, with the Dry season (June to October) offering slightly cooler conditions compared to the Wet season (November to May).
Best Time To Visit
The optimal time for a journey to Nyerere is during the Dry season, which spans from June to October. During this period, wildlife congregates around the Rufiji River and its adjacent wetlands, and the sparse vegetation allows for clearer views of the wildlife. However, if you plan to visit during the wetter months, keep in mind that many lodges shut down from April to May.
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​Wildlife & Animals – Nyerere (Selous) NP

Nyerere National Park, formerly known as the Selous Game Reserve, provides exceptional opportunities for wildlife observation. Along the primary circuit, a series of lakes serve as prime spots for witnessing sizable gatherings of giraffes, alongside buffalo, waterbuck, impala, and plains zebra. In some instances, hungry lions lurk nearby, seizing the chance for prey as animals come to drink, offering the possibility of witnessing a daytime hunt.

Black Rhino
Wild Dog
Wildlife Highlights

Nyerere National Park is a sanctuary for wild dogs, which are critically endangered. These remarkable creatures roam across vast territories, with the greatest opportunity to spot them arising when they establish dens in the vicinity. Additionally, the park hosts a diverse array of antelope species. Keep an eye out for common waterbuck, greater kudu, and eland. While the majestic sable antelope is among the park’s flagship species, sightings are sporadic due to their preference for dense bush habitats.

Best Time for Wildlife Viewing

The Dry season, stretching from June to October stands out as the prime period for wildlife observation in the park. With thinner vegetation and animals congregating around the Rufiji River and the lakes, spotting wildlife becomes notably easier during this time. However, heavy rainfall renders roads impassable, leading to the closure of most camps towards the conclusion of the Wet season in April. These camps typically reopen at the onset of June. For those keen on encountering wild dogs, the optimal time is during their denning season from June to August.

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Wildlife Photos
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​Birds – Nyerere (Selous) NP
Nyerere National Park, previously known as the Selous Game Reserve, stands as a remarkable destination for bird enthusiasts, boasting a record of over 440 species. The park’s prominent avian residents are drawn to the sandbanks, lagoons, islands, and channels lining the Rufiji River. A boat safari offers an ideal opportunity to appreciate the diverse birdlife, with sightings including yellow-billed storks, kingfishers, lapwings, and vibrant bee-eaters. During dawn and dusk, flocks of African skimmers gracefully skim the water’s surface in search of fish. Keep an eye out for African fish eagles and palm-nut vultures perched atop trees. Migratory birds grace the park from November to April, adding to its avian splendor.

Notable Birds in Nyerere (Selous) NP

African fish eagle
White-fronted bee-eater
Black-winged stilt
Spur-winged lapwing
Collared palm-thrush
Best Time for Bird Watching

Nyerere serves as an excellent birding destination throughout the year. From November to April, the presence of Palearctic and intra-African migrants enhances the birdwatching experience, making this period particularly rewarding. It is also during this time that resident birds engage in nesting activities, showcasing their vibrant breeding plumage. However, it’s worth noting that most camps close towards the conclusion of the Wet season in April and reopen in June. For optimal wildlife viewing, the Dry season, spanning from June to October, is the preferred time to visit.

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Facts & Figures

Bird Species


Migratory Birds

Nov to Apr

Best Time To Visit – Nyerere (Selous) NP













The optimal time for wildlife viewing in Nyerere National Park, previously known as the Selous Game Reserve, is during the Dry season from June to October. As the vegetation thins out, spotting wildlife becomes more manageable, and animals congregate around the Rufiji River, along with its lakes and lagoons. Conversely, the Wet season from November to May brings lush, green scenery, but afternoons can become uncomfortably hot. It’s essential to note that numerous lodges close their doors from April to May during this period.
Best Time
Between June and October is the optimal period for observing wildlife.
High Season
Between June and October, the area around the Rufiji River becomes busy with tourists.
Low Season
During March, April, and May, numerous lodges are shut, particularly from April to May.
Best Weather
From June to October, there is minimal to no rainfall.
Worst Weather
March and April mark the peak of the wet season.
June to October – Dry Season
Water's Edge Wildlife: Simplified Spotting Amid Sparse Greenery
Sunny Skies: Rare Rainfall and Abundant Sunshine
Balmy Breeze: Moderate Humidity and Gentle Heat
Dry and Dusty Days
The primary tourist zone experiences significant crowds.
November to May – Wet Season
The landscape displays stunning greenery.
March to May marks the low season, potentially offering discounted prices.
Superb birdwatching opportunities abound, especially with migratory birds gracing the skies from November to April.
Certain game-drive trails may become muddy and challenging to navigate.
Wildlife sightings are not as abundant as during the Dry season.
Many lodges typically close their doors from April to May.
The weather tends to be hot and humid.
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Wildlife Photos
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Weather & Climate – Nyerere (Selous) NP
Nyerere National Park, formerly known as the Selous Game Reserve, experiences a warm to hot and humid climate. Due to its proximity to the equator, temperatures remain relatively stable throughout the year. The period from October to April is characterized by intense heat, while temperatures moderate slightly from June to August. The Wet season spans from November to May, during which heavy rainfall is common. It’s worth noting that numerous lodges close their operations from April to May.
Dry Season – June to October

During the Dry season, abundant sunshine graces most days. Afternoons typically reach temperatures of approximately 29°C/84°F, while nights cool down to around 18°C/64°F.


From June to September, rainfall is rare, and the skies remain clear albeit dusty. Early morning game drives may feel chilly due to the cooler temperatures.

By October, the first signs of the Wet season may emerge, with the possibility of rainfall. As the dust settles, the anticipated rains offer relief after an extended period of dry weather.

Wet Season – November to May

During the Wet season, the climate is characterized by warmth and humidity, with afternoon temperatures typically hovering around 31°C/88°F, cooling to approximately 21°C/70°F at night.


In November, the Wet season commences, although the precise onset can be challenging to predict. Rainfall tends to be sporadic and brief, often occurring in the afternoons and unlikely to significantly impact your safari experience.


As January and February progress, the rainy season intensifies, with several days featuring short bursts of rain, primarily in the afternoons. Daytime temperatures remain close to 31°C/88°F, while nights and early mornings average around 21°C/70°F.


March and April mark the peak of the Wet season, with rainfall occurring most days, although typically not continuously. Maximum temperatures typically reach around 30°C/86°F, while minimum temperatures hover around 20°C/68°F.

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Nyerere (Selous) National Park
Nyerere (Selous) NP Photos
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​Getting There – Nyerere (Selous) NP

Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam serves as the primary gateway to the country and Nyerere National Park. As part of our package for Nyerere National Park, we arrange pick-up and transfer either by air or land, ensuring seamless travel arrangements for your convenience.


While many travelers opt for flights to Nyerere National Park, a road safari presents an equally rewarding option. The approximately 230km/143mi journey from Dar es Salaam to Mtemere Gate typically takes around 5 hours*.

*Please note that driving times serve as rough estimates, and it’s advisable to consider the possibility of significant delays.
Main Park Map
Tanzania Travel Guide Map
Airlines & Ticket Prices

Kindly utilize Skyscanner to explore the various airlines offering flights to Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) and to ascertain ticket prices.

Domestic Flights

Nyerere National Park benefits from daily scheduled flights departing from both Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. Additionally, flights from Arusha town, serving as the base for the Northern safari circuit, are readily available.


The following airlines offer services to Nyerere National Park:

Coastal Aviation

Safari Air Link


Auric Air

Passport, Visa & Other Entry Requirements

For detailed information regarding passport, visa, vaccination, and other entry requirements, we encourage you to visit our FAQ – Tanzania page. This resource will provide comprehensive guidance to ensure a smooth and hassle-free entry process.

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​Malaria & Safety – Nyerere (Selous) NP

In our assessment, traveling within Nyerere National Park, previously known as the Selous Game Reserve, is safe. Crime targeting visitors is uncommon in Tanzania, with any incidents typically occurring in major urban areas, mirroring global trends. While exploring cities during your journey, it’s advisable to exercise standard safety measures, as outlined in our ‘Cities & Urban Areas: Safety Precautions’ section. Additionally, during organized safaris, your guide will prioritize your safety and well-being.

Malaria & Vaccinations

Malaria poses a risk in Nyerere National Park. To safeguard yourself, it’s advisable to wear long trousers and closed shoes during the evening hours. Additionally, apply mosquito repellent, with formulations containing DEET being the most effective. Taking antimalarial medication is also recommended. Before traveling, consider receiving several vaccinations, which can be administered by your local travel clinic or doctor. These precautions are essential for ensuring a safe and healthy journey.

Wildlife Viewing

Adhering to the guidance provided by your experienced guide is crucial to ensuring your safety during wildlife viewing activities. Serious incidents during organized safaris are infrequent. Additionally, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the ‘Wildlife Viewing Safety Precautions’ outlined below for further guidance and precautions.

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Photo Gallery of Nyerere (Selous) National Park

Map of Nyerere (Selous) National Park

Photo Gallery of Nyerere (Selous) National Park

Main Park Map

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