Selous Game Preserve – Liwale, Tanzania - Atlas Obscura
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Liwale, Tanzania

Selous Game Preserve

The largest game reserve in Africa is home to thousands of species but refuses to house humans. 

Watching a lioness devour her fresh kill in the Selous Game Preserve has a tendency to remind visitors in their open air trucks that the nearest village is two days drive in any direction.

Officially established as a protected area in 1896 when Tanzania was still a British colony, the Selous Game Preserve is located in the south of Tanzania, and is comprised of over 21,000 square miles of remote swamps, hills and grasslands. Unlike a lot of the more touristy safari spots on the Serengeti where competing guides jockey for position, the Selous Preserve feels incredibly remote thanks to the provision that prohibits any permanent habitation within the preserve’s boundaries. It’s possible to book a tour on this sprawling grassland and not see another soul the entire time.

The Selous area is home to a staggering number of wildlife species, so much so that the location was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unspoiled beauty. The area has populations of vultures, crocodiles, lions, cape buffalo, hippos, and literally thousands of other species of plants and animals, all virtually undisturbed by human interaction. Hyenas stalk and kill their prey. Elephants lazily graze in the sun. Even rhinos can be found on the grounds, although sightings are rare, a sad testament to that animals’ continuing endangered status.

The park also contains the gravesite of its namesake Frederick Selous, the British explorer and conservationist who was killed battling with German troops in the area during World War I. Selous knew the beauty and tranquility of this remote corner of the country, and thanks to his effort and foresight visitors to the preserve can continue to experience that beauty for themselves.

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