Nyerere National Park Tanzania

Nyerere National Park which was formerly known as Selous Game Reserve, is the largest Game Reserve in Tanzania and it is a protected area covering about 50,000km2. Selous was at first a series of National Parks that were made a protected area in the year 1896 but in 1905, it became a hunting reserve for all who wanted to enjoy the hunting game. It was named Nyerere after a British adventurer Fredrick Nyerere who died during the world war I. after his death, all the small game reserves around were combined by the British colonialists to form the current Nyerere National Park.

The Nyerere National Park is one of the least visited places in Tanzania and this makes it the perfect place for tourists who want to enjoy the big 5 without the large crowd. It has a diversity of vegetation especially the famous Miombo woodland, lots of wildlife and over 400 bird species that can all be viewed in their natural habitats. 

The National Park is one of the few places in Tanzania which you can explore with both a game drive and a boat ride. The National Park is very safe for a safari but you must follow all the guidelines that are put in place by the tour guide, you can spend as many days as you want for as long as you can afford it and you can join your safari to Nyerere with other destinations in the country. 

How to get to Nyerere National Park

The National Park is just a few kilometers away from Dar es Salaam making it an easy place to get to but only if you are coming from Dar es Salaam. If you are getting to the park from Arusha, then it becomes a very long journey especially if you are driving. There are three transportation means that you use to get to Nyerere and these are road, railway and air transportation.

nyerere national park Tanzania

  • Air transport

Taking a flight to Nyerere is the most expensive ways but also the best since it gets you to the park easily. The flights to Nyerere can be got from Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam and Arusha.

  • Rail transport

Rail transport is the cheapest way to get to Nyerere and probably one that has lovely scenery for you to see before you get to the park. You get to pass through a lot of rural villages and Mountains before you get off at the Matabwe stop. From here you will be able to drive to Nyerere National Park since it is a short distance.

  • Road transport

This is the most commonly used mode of transport to get to Nyerere. A drive to the park will take you between 4 to 8 hours and during this time you can make stopovers at the different places as per your itinerary. It might take a while before you get there but it will be worth your time.

Things to do while in Nyerere National Park

Nyerere is a very big park that has a lot of animals and birds plus vegetation that is worth being seen and these will determine the things that you can do while in the park. Some of the things that you should look forward to do while here include the following:

Game drives

the game drives within Nyerere are best done during the dry season experienced from June to October because this is the time when most of the animals can be seen at the different waterholes trying to beat off the heat and in search of food. Some of the animals that you should look out for when you get to Nyerere include the famous wild dogs, buffalos, hippos, lions, giraffes, baboons, zebras, rhinos, elands, impalas, elephants and baboons to mention but a few.  Since the park gets few visitors, the animals tend to hide from tourists but with patience you get to see all them in their natural habitat. The best time for one to enjoy a game drive in Nyerere is during the morning hours before 11:00am and afternoon hours around 3:00pm because this is the time when animals are not shielding themselves from the heat.


Nyerere is one of the best birding destinations in Tanzania and the best time for one to go for birding is between November and April during the wet season when the migratory birds fly into the country. The bird species specials that you should look out for include the yellow bellied bulbul, mangrove kingfisher, black cuckoo-shrike, palm-nu vulture, red throated twin spot, red-winged warbler, African skimmer, spotted flanked barbet and the grey hooded kingfisher among others.

Walking safaris

A walking safari through Nyerere might not get you to all the corners of the Reserve but it will get you to some of the best places. A walking safari in Nyerere comes with an armed ranger who is there to make sure that you are not attacked by any wild animals. The walk will however be organized on a more tame side which doesn’t have predator animals and some of the animals that you get to see while on your walk include zebras and elephants. Make sure that you follow all the guidelines given to you by the guide during your walk.

Cultural tours

cultural tour to the Mwaseni is one of the things that you can engage in while one safari to Selous. With the help of a tour guide, you get to spend the whole day with the locals engaging in their day to day activities.

Photo safari

this is one of the best activities that you should engage in while in Selous. This can be done all throughout the year as you get to take photos of the animals and the birds that live within the Park and the surrounding scenery.

Boat safari

a boat safari one of the best ways in which you can explore the Game Reserve. You will take a boat ride along the River Rufiji where you will get to see aqua animals like hippos and crocodiles plus a large flock of birds. You must not miss out on the experience of a boat ride in Selous.

hippos in nyerere

When to visit Selous

Nyerere National Park experiences two seasons and these are the dry and wet season. The seasons highly determine the activities that you can engage in and in return the activities determine the best time for you to visit the Selous. The dry season (June to October) is the best time for a walking safari and game drives whereas the wet season (November to April) is the best time for all those that would love to go birding.

Before you pack your bags for a trip to Selous, make sure that you do extensive research on the tour company that you are going to use so that you are not conned and ask ahead about what you should bring and what to avoid before travelling to the southern part of Tanzania.