With around 55,000 km², the Selous game reserve in the south-east of the country is the largest game reserve in Africa according to ebizdir. It is the habitat for around 350 species of birds and around 1 million wild animals, including 40,000 elephants, as well as buffalo, black rhinoceros, giraffes and crocodiles.
Selous Game Reserve: Facts
|Official title:||Selous Game Reserve|
|Natural monument||with more than 50,000 km², flowed through by the Rufiji and its tributaries; Temperatures up to 41 ° C, partly under protection under the German colonial government since 1905, established as a game reserve in 1922, in the 1980s the elephant population was decimated by 50% due to poaching, until today a hunting area for licensed big game hunters|
|country||Tanzania, Morogoro, Lindi, Mtwara and Ruvuma regions|
|location||southwest of Dar es Salaam|
|meaning||the second largest African game reserve with very large populations of giraffes, hippos, cheetahs, elephants and rhinos|
|Naming||after the big game hunter Frederick Courtnay Selous|
|Flora and fauna||Miombo forest and forest savannah with more than 2000 plant species, around 150,000 wildebeest, 160,000 buffalo and 30,000 African elephants; Plains zebras, impalas, Lichtenstein cow and sable antelopes, warthogs, waterbuck; Cheetahs, wild dogs; more than 250 species of birds, including Goliath herons, jugglers and ground hornbills|
Untouched, original Africa
This continent is really not poor in beauty – but the area of the Selous is probably one of the greatest that Africa has to offer. Sheer limitlessness: this impression is inevitable even in the Selous Reserve with its huge expanse and its diverse landscape forms. The bush savannah stretches for kilometers. Large expanses of grass, over which the air shimmers in the heat, adjoin this. Large areas are characterized by the Nyika, a scrubland of dry thorn bushes that do not provide much food for pets and are therefore of little use for agriculture. The largely sandy soils are covered by Miombo forest, a special form of tree savannah. After the rain from June to August, the brown-gray areas with their bare trees are transformed into a sea of magical pastel colors. Most tree species belong to the genus Brachystegia. The leaves of these deciduous trees shoot out so quickly that the storage of the green leaf pigment chlorophyll simply cannot keep up with them. The thick leaf buds are deep red. After they burst open, the leaves go through the entire color palette from red to yellow, gold, brown and may green to almost pine green, until the chlorophyll has also reached the last cell in the leaf tissue. The supporting tissue of the young leaves is also not yet fully developed, so that they hang limply. For a few weeks there is a diverse juxtaposition of colors.
A system of pristine rivers runs through the area. Numerous hippos and water birds live here. The rivers form lake-like bulges, merge into swamps and take up small brooks. The Rufiji River runs in parts through Stiegler’s Gorge, a deep, wooded gorge, then it meanders again through flat land, lined with sandbanks.
For kilometers the Rufiji and other rivers in the Selous are accompanied by gallery forests. Borassus palms stand on the banks for long stretches, many of them have lost their crowns and rise into the air like tall, slender stakes. The inland delta of the Rufiji surpasses even the many other grandiose river landscapes of Africa in diversity and indescribable beauty. As if it had sprung from a textbook for geography, the river shows how it changes the landscape when it meanders its way. On the inside of the bend there is the flat, barely overgrown, mostly sandy sliding slope, while opposite it the water gnaws at the steep impact slope. Trees and bushes fall into the river and are washed away.
The year-round water-bearing rivers are, in addition to the diversity of vegetation, the ideal prerequisite for the extremely species-rich and individual fauna. Although there are no mass collections of animals in the Selous as in some other East African game reserves or in South Sudan, there are still large herds of wildebeest, zebras and buffalo here. The largest populations of the African savannah elephant once lived here. However, the merciless persecution by poachers has decimated the herds, even if international bans on the ivory trade almost ended poaching suddenly. But some countries are already trying to loosen the ban again. This could endanger the still remarkable elephant population, which is considered to be the largest at all within a reserve.
The park is also home to other species that are threatened with extinction from human persecution. Only a few animals can be left of the black rhinos. The African wild dogs are also threatened with extinction, in Selous the largest population still lives in some packs. The small tsetse fly could prove to be a natural lifesaver in this huge region: It transmits the deadly sleeping sickness and the Nagana disease, which is especially dangerous for cattle. Ranchers therefore prefer to avoid this area; the fly has so far saved the Selous from being colonized by humans – and that could perhaps ensure the survival of this unique landscape.