Explore Tanzania Selous game reserve
The landscape is generally flat with rolling hills and alluvial valleys, ranging in altitude from around 80 to 1,300 metres, and supporting a range of woodland communities, thickets, gallery forests, swamps and alluvial floodplains.
It supports vast herds of elephants, buffaloes, giraffe, hippopotamuses, ungulates, crocodiles and other species, and is one of the last strongholds of the black rhino.
Selous Game reserve facts:
Large undisturbed wilderness area: The Selous Game Reserve (SGR) is one of the largest undisturbed wilderness areas in Africa, occupying approximately 50,000 km2 of southern Tanzania that is free of human settlement, grazing or cultivation. It is located within a wider ecosystem of adjoining protected areas and community Wildlife Management Areas allowing free movement of elephants and other large herbivores over an area of some 90,000 km2, with further connectivity to the Niassa Game Reserve (42,000 km2 ) in northern Mozambique. The size and complexity of this extensive protected area complex ensures the functioning of on-going ecological and biological processes.
Globally significant populations of large mammals: The Selous Game Reserve supports some of the largest remaining populations of Africa’s iconic mega-fauna, including (at the time of world heritage inscription) more than 100,000 elephants, 200,000 buffalo, 2,000 black rhino, 18,000 hippopotamus and a healthy population of wild dog. Approximately 750,000 large mammals of 57 species were recorded in 1986.
Diversity of mammals, birds and other animal taxa: The reserve has a higher density and species diversity than any other area of miombo woodland (the deciduous woodland formation that typifies much of southern Africa). It lies in one of the world’s Endemic Bird Areas, and 450 species of birds are recorded in the Selous. Although inventories of other groups of plants and animals have not been undertaken it is expected that they will prove to be equally diverse.
Rare and endangered species: There are important viable populations of several rare and endangered mammals and birds (and probably other taxa, not yet evaluated). These include elephants, black rhino, wild dog, lion, cheetah, hippopotamus, Sanje crested mangabey and Udzungwa red colobus monkey. Amongst the birds, globally threatened species include the wattled crane (Grus carunculatus), lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni), the endemic Udzungwa forest partridge (Xenoperdix udzungwensis) and rufous-winged sunbird (Nectarinia rufipennis).
Diversity of vegetation types: The diversity of vegetation types reflects variations in altitude (from 80-1,300 metres), soils, rainfall, seasonal flooding patterns and other abiotic factors. The vegetation is predominantly deciduous miombo woodland, punctuated with seasonally flooded sand rivers, interspersed with rocky Acacia-clad hills, forests and swamps. The northern 17% of the reserve is composed of more open wooded grassland with floodplain swamps and tracts of borassus (Borassus aethiopium) and doum palms (Hyphaene thebaica).
Sand river in the Selous Game Reserve. The network of seasonally dry rivers that exist as dry sandy river beds for most of the year and become raging torrents during the seasonal rains, often flooding their banks, are a special feature of the Selous landscapeSand rivers and associated floodplains: The network of seasonally dry rivers that exist as dry sandy river beds for most of the year and become raging torrents during the seasonal rains, often flooding their banks, are a special feature of the Selous landscape.
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