One of the largest wildlife havens in the world and Tanzania’s largest National Park, the Nyerere National Park (previously named the Selous Game Reserve) is just South of Dar es Salaam and is home to diverse wildlife experiences, away from the mainstream tourist circuit.
With the life-giving Rufiji river meandering through the heart of this area, it is one of the best places to encounter countless hippos, crocodiles and birdlife up-close during a boating safari. The Rufiji’s many tributaries, side streams and small lakes are an invaluable life force for wildlife.
The combination of traditional, land-based game drives and walking safaris plus water-based safaris makes it great value in a truly remote wilderness area. Wildlife habitats include open grasslands, Miombo woodlands, lakes, swamps and riverine forests.
When was the Nyerere National Park established?
The Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) established the Nyerere National Park in 2019. An area of 30,893 km2 (11,928 sq mi) in the northern part of the well-known Selous Game Reserve, just South of Dar es Salaam, was portioned off for inclusion in TANAPA’s portfolio of national parks. It is now one of the world’s largest wildlife sanctuaries at twice the size of Belgium.
This new park was named for Tanzania’s founding father of the nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere who passed away in 1999. Though this park is newly established, the entire Selous Game Reserve spanning a massive 54,600km² traces its historical roots back to 1896.
More than a century later, in 1982 the reserve gained UNESCO World Heritage Site status, recognising the importance of its position as a wildlife corridor with Mozambique’s Niassa reserve to the south.
How to get to Nyerere National Park
Nyerere National Park is located in south eastern Tanzania, bordered by Mikumi National Park to the northwest and Udzungwa Mountains National Park to the west.The best way to access the park is by air. There are daily scheduled flights from either Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar with a flight time of under an hour to a variety of different airstrips in Nyerere. There are several airlines serving this route, some of which include Coastal Aviation, Safari Link and Auric Air. All these airlines have a reliable service and credible safety record. Guests visiting Siwandu camp can fly directly to Siwandu airstrip.
Nyerere National Park can also be accessed by road from either Dar es Salaam or Arusha. The road distance varies from 184 km to 230 km depending on which gate or entry point of Nyerere National Park you want to access. In terms of journey time, typically you want to allow for 6 hours for most Park entry gates such as Mtemere and Matembwe, and up to 6 to 6.5 hours for gates on the northern side of Selous Game Reserve. Road conditions are poor in places with the last 75 km to the park being on a bumpy gravel road.
For those who are feeling adventurous with an interest in experiential travel, there is no better way, in our view, to get to the park than by the TAZARA train from Dar. This is the Tanzania to Zambia train that departs from Dar twice-weekly on a Tuesday and Friday with a journey time of approximately 4.5 hours. The train is remarkably punctual but on some days the delay can be for hours with it occasionally not running at all.
The most convenient option is by plane from Dar es Salaam, or the next big national park, Ruaha. Dar es Salaam to Selous is about 45 minutes by small plane, while from Ruaha it would take around 90 minutes.
When to Visit Nyerere National Park
The best time to visit the Selous Game Reserve is during the June to October dry season. It is during this period that there is virtually no rain in the Selous, the malaria risk is at its lowest, and wildlife is increasingly concentrated around water sources like the Rufiji River. This attracts large numbers of predators to make game viewing very exciting and rewarding at this time of year.
Annual temperatures are at their mildest during the dry season – at least from June to late August when the average daytime maximum is around 27°C/81°F. Temperatures rise a degree or two in September and October which only increases the concentrations of wildlife at water, making these two months are great time to visit Selous if you can handle the heat.
The onset of the rains does not mean that it is no longer possible to visit the Selous. Rain usually comes in the form of afternoon storms and although the rains are heavy in December, there is a slight decrease in rainfall over January and February. This ‘green season’ is spectacular for travellers willing to trade a bit of rain for beautiful lush scenery, very few other visitors and superb bird watching.
Things to do in Nyerere National Park
Game safari are the main activities of your Safari, and our expertly trained guides and customs modified vehicles will bring you the best possible daily experience.
Price / Fee for Private Boat Safari: The cost ranges from US$ 25 to US$ 30 per person for an hour ride based on a group size of 5 to 6 persons.
Fishing in Nyerere is an exciting experience that you will not want to miss out and before you head down to Nyerere for this great experience.
Where to stay in Nyerere National Park
If you plan to visit this remarkable park in 2023/2024, choosing a suitable accommodation is essential for an unforgettable safari experience. Here, we present a guide to the best places to stay in Nyerere National Park, catering to various preferences and budgets.
Luxury Lodges and Camps at Nyerere National Park
Imagine this—you’re in Tanzania, surrounded by the most incredible landscapes you’ve ever seen. And right in the heart of it all is Rufiji River Camp, nestled along the banks of the mighty Rufiji River.
Can you imagine waking up to birds chirping and the gentle rustling of leaves? It’s like stepping into a dream! Now, let us give you the inside scoop on why this place is so thrilling.
First off, Nyerere National Park is an absolute haven for wildlife. It’s home to elephants, lions, giraffes, hippos, and even crocodiles! And guess what? Rufiji River Camp puts you right in the middle of all the action.
You’ll go on game drives and walking safaris led by expert guides who know the park like the back of their hand. They’ll take you on an adventure to spot these magnificent creatures up close and personal. Talk about a rush of adrenaline!
But here’s where it gets really exciting: Rufiji River Camp offers boat safaris on the legendary Rufiji River itself. Can you imagine cruising along the water with hippos and monkeys putting on a show for you? It’s like stepping into your very own wildlife documentary!
On top of that, you’ll be treated to exceptional hospitality and delectable cuisine back at the camp! The staff at Rufiji River Camp go above and beyond to ensure your comfort and satisfaction, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere that makes you feel like part of the family.
Siwandu Safari Camp in Nyerere National Par is an absolute thrill-seeker’s paradise! Here, you’ll wake up in the heart of Tanzania’s wilderness, surrounded by stunning landscapes and immersed in the sights and sounds of nature.
That’s precisely what awaits you at Siwandu Safari Camp in the breathtaking Nyerere National Park. It’s like stepping into a real-life safari movie!
And here’s the exciting part—the Siwandu Safari Camp is located along the banks of Lake Nzerakera, part of the Rufiji River system. This means you have the opportunity to embark on unforgettable boat safaris.
Picture yourself cruising along the serene waters, surrounded by lush vegetation and exotic bird species. Gliding through the water, you’ll witness hippos wallowing, crocodiles basking in the sun, and abundant birdlife dancing overhead.
It’s a sensational experience that will make your heart leap with joy!
The Selous Kinga Lodge is a hidden gem that will ignite your sense of adventure and leave you craving for more. Vast plains, lush vegetation, and the captivating sounds of nature surround the lodge.
It’s a slice of paradise that will make your heart skip a beat! Selous Kinga Lodge offers charming and comfortable accommodations that blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings.
From spacious chalets to cozy tents, each option provides a cozy sanctuary to relax and unwind after an adventurous day. You’ll fall asleep to the sounds of the wild and wake up to stunning views that will take your breath away. It’s pure bliss!
This place is an absolute haven for adventure enthusiasts, and I can’t wait to share the thrill with you!
Picture yourself in the heart of Tanzania, surrounded by untamed wilderness and breathtaking landscapes. That’s exactly where Selous Serena Camp is located, nestled in the magnificent Nyerere National Park. It’s a destination that ignites your sense of adventure and makes you yearn for more!
The camp is a luxurious oasis amidst the wilderness. The tented accommodations exude elegance and comfort, with spacious interiors and private verandas that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.
You’ll fall asleep to the sounds of nature and wake up to the sun’s soft rays filtering through the canvas walls. It’s a serene retreat that immerses you in the beauty of the natural world.
Tented Camps and Bush Camps
Inside your tent, you find a cozy haven adorned with comfortable beds, crisp linens, and traditional African décor. As you settle in, you can’t help but be captivated by the breathtaking view from your private veranda.
The shimmering waters of Lake Manze stretch out before you, fringed by swaying papyrus reeds. Beyond the lake, a panorama of untamed wilderness awaits, with golden grasslands and scattered acacia trees.
The excitement truly begins to stir as you explore the camp’s activities. Guided walking safaris offer an intimate encounter with the wilderness as you venture into the bush accompanied by expert guides who unveil the land’s secrets.
Each step awakens your senses, with the thrill of potential wildlife sightings just around the corner.
Located atop a hill overlooking a vast expanse of untamed wilderness, Beho Beho Camp offers a panoramic view that will leave you breathless. The camp’s thatched-roof buildings blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape, creating a harmonious fusion of luxury and nature.
Upon arrival, you’re greeted by the warm smiles of the attentive staff, whose genuine hospitality instantly makes you feel at home. As you settle in, the excitement builds, knowing you’re about to embark on a remarkable safari experience.
Beho Beho Camp is renowned for its exclusive game drives, led by expert guides who intimately know the park’s inhabitants and their secret hideaways. The anticipation of what lies ahead sends a thrill through your veins.
Nyerere National Park FAQ's
Nyerere National Park is Africa’s largest stand alone National Park, and one of the largest in the world. The park is located in south Eastern Tanzania, roughly 230 kilometers by road from Dar es Salaam city to Mtemere Gate, and was carved out from the Selous Game reserve, a huge wilderness area and safari destination in Southern Tanzania.
Yes, Yellow Fever vaccination is required if you are traveling to Tanzania. We suggest you contact your doctor a month before travel for specific recommendations. Click here to read more on recommended vaccinations for Tanzania travel.
es, a visa is required if you plan to travel to Tanzania, except citizens from countries who are exempted. You will also need a passport with 6 months validity and at least 2 blank pages to enter the country.
Nyerere is quite safe to visit. Crime against visitors is rare in Tanzania and the little crime that does occur mostly happens in major urban centers, similar to the rest of the world.
See more here Is Nyerere National Park Safe. In terms of safety from Animals, incidents of wildlife attacks on visitors to the park are very rare. Camps and Lodges in Nyerere National Park have night guards who patrol the property and keep the vicinity safe.
During the day, your Safari Driver-Guides would typically guide you on how to approach the wildlife in the safest way, either on your game drive or your walking safari.
The Park Entry Fees to Nyerere National Park for Non-Residents and Residents is USD 50 per adult per 24 hours and USD 30 per child under the age of 15 years old. Apart from the Park Fees there is also Concession Fees of USD 25 per adult applicable for people staying inside the park at any lodge, camp or hotel.
Yes, children of all ages are allowed to enter most National Parks and Reserves in Tanzania and enjoy a Safari.
Yes, there is a wide mobile network coverage in the park (AIRTEL is the best network). Some lodges and Camps even have complimentary WI-FI and computers for guest’s use. Although there are some areas in the parks where there is no mobile coverage.
Ideally, a minimum of 3 days and 2 nights is perfectly okay. This will give you enough time to explore and view the entire variety of wildlife and sceneries in the park
- Nyerere National Park is a vast wilderness and diverse wildlife in Tanzania.
- Visitors can enjoy game drives, boat safaris, walking safaris, and birdwatching, all while admiring the park’s breathtaking landscapes.
- Additionally, the park offers the opportunity to learn about Tanzania’s rich cultural heritage and interact with local communities.
- Furthermore, Nyerere promotes sustainable tourism. This ensures the conservation of its natural resources and supports local economic development.
- Overall, a visit to Nyerere provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness Tanzania’s spectacular natural beauty and wildlife up close.
The park contains several important historical and cultural sites, including the graves of German soldiers who fought in World War I and the ruins of Swahili trading towns. Visitors can also participate in cultural tours led by local communities.