Wildlife spotting and sailing on the Rufiji river

The Nyerere National Park (part of Selous Game Reserve) is a picturesque, unique and pristine safari destination and belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage Site as the oldest and largest protected nature reserve in Tanzania.

The numbers of animals in Nyerere National Park are unprecedentedly high, making the park ideal for an adventurous safari!

  • Surface 54.600 km2
  • Inhabitants 0
  • dry season June to October
  • green season November to May

About Nyerere National Park

Nyerere National Par is part of the largest game reserve in Africa, with large populations of elephants and buffalos. From the characteristic Rufiji river, you can see the natural behavior of the animals up close.

Sailing among the hippos, crocodiles and the many birds is an unforgettable experience. Also read our blog.

Landscape of Nyerere National Park

Characteristic of the Nyerere National Park are the varied landscapes with baobabs, acacia forests and palms alternating with swamps, acacia savannah, Miombo forests, rivers and lakes. As a result, there are many different ecosystems.

Near the water you will find many beautiful, colorful birds (there are 440 different bird species), many hippos and crocodiles.
On land you will find the typical mammals that you see in Tanzania during a safari: impalas, giraffes, elephants, buffalos, kudu, baboons, warthogs.

The number of animals in Nyerere National Park is enormous. The elephant, buffalo and lion are not found in greater numbers anywhere else on earth all year round. But Nyerere National Park is also a known habitat of the last African wild dogs, leopards and hyenas.

Een zeer markante plek in het park is de Rufiji rivier, in het noordelijk deel van Nyerere National Park. Deze rivier mondt uit in de Indische Oceaan tegenover Mafia Eiland en Stiegler’s kloof, een kloof van 100 meter diep en 100 meter breed. Een netwerk van rivieren en lagunes langs de Rufiji rivier zorgt voor de watervoorziening voor het wild in deze regio en tegen het einde van het droge seizoen is de concentratie van dieren rond deze waterbronnen ongekend.

Het park kent kleinere aantallen toeristen dan in Noord-Tanzania en je voelt ook dat je weg bent van de massa in een prachtig, sfeervol, divers landschap.

Climate & season

The climate of Nyerere National Park is warm and humid. So close to the equator, the nights are also warm.

June to October:
Most days are sunny with clear skies. In the afternoon temperatures are usually around 28 degrees, at night about 19 degrees. A wonderful time to visit Nyerere National Park. Many animals gather around the water.

The green season has higher temperatures and high humidity, with around 29 degrees in the afternoon and nights up to 22 degrees.

November to December:
The green season begins. Rainfall is occasional and short, often in the afternoon. During the day, it is around 31 degrees. In the morning and at the end of the afternoon it is around 22 degrees, the best time for activities.

January and February:
The rainy season is progressing and there will be several days with short showers, usually in the afternoon. During the day the temperatures are around 30 degrees, at night an average of 22 degrees.

March to May:
Especially March and April are rainy months. Thunderstorms are to be expected on most days, but they rarely continue throughout the day. Roads are often difficult to access and some camps are closed. The temperatures are slightly lower (between 28 degrees during the day and 21 degrees at night).

Interesting facts

1. Nyerere National Park (30,893 km2) was established in November 2019 as part of the Selous Game Reserve (54,600 km2)

2. The park’s name pays tribute to the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere (1922-1999), founder of independent Tanzania and first president from 1961 to 1985.

3. The Selous Game Reserve is named after Frederick Selous, a famous hunter and early conservationist. He died in Beho Beho (the Selous area) in 1917 during the battle against the Germans in the First World War.

4. Nyerere National Park is home to some of the last remaining black rhinos in Tanzania.

5. Along with the Selous Game Reserve, Nyerere National Park is the last true habitat of the African Wild Dog.

6. Selous Tanzania was first designated a protected area in 1896 by the German governor of Tanganyika, Hermann von Wissmann, and became a hunting reserve in 1905.

7. Most of the reserve remains reserved for hunting through private hunting concessions.

8. Permanent habitation is not allowed in Nyerere National Park en the Selous Game Reserve.

9. In the southwest of Selous Game Reserve, far away from the safari areas, at Stiegler’s Gorge, construction of a dam for a hydroelectric power station on the Rufiji River started in 2019. This Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station is expected to be completed in 2024.

10. The journey from Dar es Salaam to Nyerere National Park takes approximately 5 hours by land. The road is unpaved and bumpy, but the views and the beautiful route make up for all that. You can get there within an hour by plane.


With its many rivers and lakes, Nyerere National Park is highly suitable for an adventurous boat safari.

Of course, you can also make beautiful safaris by jeep and on foot. Single or multi-day.

Selous safariSelous safariSelous safari

Boat safari

In Nyerere National Park, you can make beautiful boat safaris on the many canals and lakes in the reserve. During such a boat safari, there’s a good chance you see hippos, crocodiles and possibly other animals that come to drink. In addition, you can see many birds (around 440 different species).

A boat safari takes about two hours and can be done in the morning or in the afternoon. In the morning you have beautiful light (unless it is cloudy), but in the afternoon there is a greater chance of seeing crocodiles because temperatures are higher. A popular option is a morning walk around 6.30 am followed by a boat safari around 10 am. An afternoon boat safari has the advantage you sail during sunset.

(Walking) safari

During a safari in Nyerere National Park, you travel with a private safari guide or in a small group. Most lodges offer safaris during which you share the car with other guests. We recommend a minimum stay of three nights here, for you to get a nice impression of the area. Even better is to stay for four or five nights, possibly at two different locations.

You can also take a walking safari from your lodge, where you zoom in on the smaller ecosystems (including plants, spores, insects) with a guide (& armed ranger). An expert guide is very important here; of course for safety, but also for the beautiful stories that can be told about life in nature.

Fly camping

As part of a walking safari, it’s possible to spend a night under the stars in private from the lodge. You breathe Africa and experience it with the animals, as close to nature as possible. At the end of the day you arrive at the camp, together with the guide. There, with a crackling open fire, drinks on ice are waiting for you. You can shower under a hanging bucket of warm water. After a delicious three-course dinner served under the stars, you can relax in your tent and fall asleep comfortably, surrounded by the sounds of nature. Of course the guide ensures safety.

Animals in the area

Nyerere National Park has an unprecedented amount of animals.
Over half of all Tanzanian elephants are living here.

Large herds of elephants, buffalo, crocodiles, hippos and wild dogs live in Nyerere National Park,
as well as many bird species and some of the last remaining black rhinos in Tanzania.

Click here for the wildlife overview

Dieren overzicht Nyerere National Park & Selous Game Reserve

  • Buffalo
  • Crocodile
  • Diverse bird species
  • Elephant
  • Giraffe
  • Hartebeest
  • Hippo
  • Hyena
  • Leopard
  • Lion
  • Moose
  • Rhino
  • Wild dog
  • Zebra

Imagining yourself in Nyerere National Park yet?

Have a look at other example trips that can be fully adapted to your wishes or contact us directly!

example trips trip advice

Accommodations in Nyerere National Park

There are only a handful of safari camps in this largest protected area of Tanzania. Our accommodations have been selected with great care and attention. Small scale, hospitality and quality are paramount.

They vary in luxury, but are all in beautiful locations surrounded by nature and close to the animals.

Beho Beho

Nyerere NP & Selous GR, South Tanzania
Safari lodge, All Inclusive
€ 1.147 to € 1.200 pppn (all inclusive)

Kiba Point Selous

Nyerere NP & Selous GR, South Tanzania
Villa, Full board
€ 617 to € 914 pppn (all inclusive)

Lake Manze Tented Camp

Nyerere NP & Selous GR, South Tanzania
Tented camp, Full board
€ 334 to €428 pppn (full board, safaris)