How to get to Nyerere National Park

How to get to Nyerere National Park | Dar-es-salaam to Nyerere National Park | Flights | Safari Vehicles | Tranfsers | Lodges |Tented Camps

How to get to Nyerere National Park

Most safaris to Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous GR) are fly-in packages from Dar es Salaam.

Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) just outside Dar es Salaam is the main international airport and entry to the country. In most cases, your tour operator will pick you up and handle all further arrangements.

Nyerere NP is often visited as a safari extension to a beach holiday on Zanzibar Island, or one of the beaches around Dar es Salaam. To accommodate this, there are daily scheduled flights from either departure point to both Nyerere and Ruaha. Flights from Arusha town, the base for the northern safari circuit, are also available.

Another option is to drive to Nyerere NP from Dar es Salaam on a road safari, but the trip is bumpy and uncomfortable and will take a full day. Time permitting, there is the option of a stopover at Mikumi National Park to break up the trip.

2 ways to go to Nyerere National Park

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Difference between fly and go by a car is  km.

Nyerere Crater FAQ's

Selous Game Reserve is famous for a number of reasons. For one, it’s the biggest wildlife conservancy area in all of Africa. Second of all, it contains some of the world’s largest number of animal populations like elephants, black rhinos, cheetahs and giraffes. 

Located on Tanzania’s less crowded southern safari circuit, Selous Game Reserve covers an immense area of 50,000 square kilometres (roughly 19,000 square miles. That’s twice the size of Serengeti National Park. In 1982, Selous Game Reserve was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Originally a hunting reserve, Selous was named after Frederick Selous (pronounced as se-loos) a big game hunter and conservationist who extensively explored East Africa. Selous died in 1917 when he was shot near Beho Beho camp during the First World War. In 1922, five neighbouring reserves were combined to create Selous Game Reserve.

The northern part of Selous Game Reserve is now officially called Nyerere National Park. It was named in honour of Tanzania’s first president, Julius Nyerere. Nyerere National Park includes the Rufiji river and buffer zone to the south of the watercourse. The paark is still widely known as Selous Game Reserve. 

You can visit all parts of Selous Game Reserve as there is so much to see in the way of wildlife and unique ecosystems. 

The landscape of Selous Game Reserve is divided into four key areas:

  • Northern Selous
  • Southern Selous
  • Rufiji River
  • Stiegler’s Gorge

Northern Selous

North Selous, or Nyerere National Park, is a no-hunt zone dedicated to photographic tourism. This piece makes up 8% of the total reserve and is a visitor-friendly location for all accommodation and safari activities.

Southern Selous

The southern side is the bigger part of the reserve which is divided into blocks and leased as private hunting concession areas. Safari tours do not operate in this region of the game reserve.

Rufiji River

Tanzania’s largest river, the Rufiji River, defines the landscape of the reserve by providing a year-round water supply and creating a diversity of habitats. The slow meandering river and its tributaries form swamps, palm-fringed channels and lakes while seasonal flooding creates rich grasslands. The smaller Kilombero and Ruaha rivers also cross the reserve.

Stiegler’s Gorge

Stiegler’s Gorge is a 5-mile long (8km) and 330 ft (100 m) deep canyon along the lower reaches of the Rufiji river in the north of Selous. The gorge is named after a Swiss explorer who was killed there by an elephant in the early 1900s. This is also the site for the controversial new dam and hydraulic power plant in the park. Conservation authorities fear the dam will have long-lasting negative impacts on biodiversity and the communities downstream.

The cost of a Selous Game Reserve safari ranges from $400 per person per day to $1500 per person per day. These costs also include other travel expenses like flights, car rentals, accommodation and meals. 

I recommend that you also take advantage of safari tour packages where certain locations (including other southern national parks like Ruaha and Mikumi), specialised activities (hot air balloon flights and game drives) and a guided tour are included in the overall price. 

The best time to visit Selous Game Reserve is during the dry season, which is from June to October.

Here is a complete breakdown of the seasons in southern Tanzania and what to expect while visiting Selous Game Reserve: 

Dry Season (June – October)

As with most Tanzanian national parks, dry months (June-October) are best for game viewing in Selous. Thankfully, the reserve remains relatively crowd-free over this peak period. 

Animals do not migrate away from the north during the year as they have consistent food and water sources in Selous.

Wet Season (November – March)

The rainy season is November till March. If you plan on visiting the reserve during this time, note that some roads may be flooded.

Distance: 190.5Time: 1 hrs 

Nyerere National Park

Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous GR) is Tanzania’s largest national park. The lifeblood of this wilderness is the mighty Rufiji river and network of interconnected lakes. This abundance of water attracts lots of wildlife in the Dry season from June through October. Game drives are most rewarding for predator sightings, but boat and foot safaris add a different dimension to your stay.

Serengeti Trips Tanzania

Find all the transport options for your trip from Arusha to Ngorongoro Crater right here. We displays up to date schedules, route maps, journey times and estimated fares from relevant transport operators, ensuring you can make an informed decision about which option will suit you best.

Where to stay in Nyerere National Park

 Here are 5 of my favourite accommodation options in Selous: 
  • Africa Safari Selous Nyerere National Park (near Selous’ Mtemere main gate and airstrip)
  • Serena Mivumo River Lodge (near Selous’ Mtemere main gate)
  • Selous Kinga Lodge (near the Rufiji River)
  • Baker Safari Company (near the Rufiji River)
  • Sable Mountain Lodge, A Tent with a View Safaris (in the Beho Hills of Northern Selous)


Mid-Range Accommodation

The no-frills Lake Manze Camp is known for good elephant sightings. Its sister camp Impala is slightly more luxurious but still affordable. 

Sable Mountain Lodge outside Matambwe Gate and Beho Beho in the northern part of the reserve are also budget-friendly with options of stone cottages or tented bandas.

Luxury Accommodation

Siwandu Camp and Sand River Camp on the banks of River Rufiji are more pricey but luxurious and at perfect locations for game viewing.

Things to do in Nyerere (Selous) National Park

Head out with an experienced guide who knows the landscape and animals. Predators and prey escape the midday heat under shady trees so take a drive before 11 am or after 3 pm for the best sightings.

You will never feel closer to nature than on a guided foot safari. Appreciate the little things and learn about tracks and signs. 

Take a guided tour to the nearby Mwaseni Village. Always ask permission and be sensitive about photographing people.

A unique option for a safari, river cruises on the Rufiji River is a chance to get close to the many hippos and crocodiles on these waterways. Choices range from sunset cruises to half-day trips.

A number of camps offer adventurous visitors the experience of sleeping beneath basic tents in the wilderness. An armed ranger and guide will keep you safe as you listen to lions roar and swap stories around a blazing fire.

Get an early start and watch the sunrise as you float above the plains. Most balloon safaris include a champagne breakfast.