Nyerere National Park
Nyerere National Park is found in Southern Tanzania and is the largest national park in Africa. This stunning park offers a unique blend of breathtaking landscapes, rich wildlife, and cultural heritage.
The park is named after Julius Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania, who was known for his contributions to the conservation of wildlife and the promotion of sustainable development in the country. The park covers an area of over 2,500 square kilometers and is home to a wide variety of wildlife species, including elephants, lions, buffalos, zebras, and many others.
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. Adding a portion of this reserve to TANAPA’s esteemed portfolio of parks raises its profile as a well-managed and thriving, protected eco system in Tanzania.
The history of the Nyerere National Park
The Selous (pronounced ‘se-loo’) Game Reserve, now Nyerere NP remains one of Africa’s oldest and largest protected areas. In 1896 it was proclaimed as a protected wildlife hunting reserve by the then German Governor of Tanganyika. In 1922 the reserve was named after a British explorer, officer, hunter and conservationist called Frederick Courteney Selous. Frederick was born in London in 1851 and became a professional hunter at the age 20. Though he started out as a big game hunter, his books centered around the natural world as he shared his vast knowledge of the ecology and wildlife in the area. During World War I, he joined the army at the age of 64 and was tragically killed by a German sniper near the Beho Beho River in the western section of the reserve, where his remains are buried. In 1982 the area was declared a UNESCO Heritage Site highlighting the importance of this pristine wilderness area.
What is unique about the Nyerere National Park?
Nyerere is one of the few places in Tanzania that allows for an exciting combination of traditional game drives and water-based safari. During your boating safari, chances are excellent you will spot a variety of wildlife coming down and into the water to quench their thirst. It is an unusual perspective to observe game from a boat in the water, as if you are looking from the inside, outwards. Along the way you will marvel at the large concentrations of honking hippos and belly crawling crocodiles, offering an up close perspective at these interesting water mammals. During hot days you may even find herds of elephants cooling down in the water or crossing a waterway with their trunks raised like periscopes.
How to access the 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 Selous Kulinda Camp can fly directly to Selous Kulinda Camp.
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.
How many days should you set aside to explore the Nyerere National Park?
We recommend you spend at least four nights at Selous Kulinda Camp in the Nyerere National Park. This will give you enough time to experience all the water and land based safari activities. If you have more time to spare you can take advantage of our special longer stay value added packages by staying for seven nights and only paying for five nights.
Wild dogs are a species of African wild dog and they can be found in the Nyerere National Park. African wild dogs are considered to be endangered, with only around 6,600 individuals remaining in the wild. They are known for their social structure and highly coordinated hunting tactics.
The African Wild Dogs are skilled hunters and use their cooperative tactics to take down larger prey, such as antelopes and buffaloes. Their strong social bonds and pack behavior are unique among canids and make them fascinating to observe in their natural habitat.
You will have the opportunity to observe these fascinating animals in their natural habitat and learn more about their behavior and conservation status. African Wild Dogs are truly a special species that deserves our attention and protection.
“We had a outstanding stay at Selous Kulinda Camp. We enjoyed the view and going on boat safari. The tents were spacious and clean. The food was decent. We will not forget the friendly staff and our waiter. The manager and staff were helpful. The pool, dining and lounge area was remarkable. Overall our stay at Selous Kulinda camp was unforgettable“
“We arrived for a 3 day safari experience after spending a week on Zanzibar The service was excellent throughout, we were greeted at the airstrip by our guide/driver Steven and after a short drive to Kulinda camp we were welcomed by the manager and staff. After a refreshing drink and a short while settling in, we set off for a half day safari and saw lots of animals, with lions prowling within arms length of the Jeep, there were giraffes and Impalas aplenty!
The accommodation is wonderful considering we had a standard tent, there is more than enough room inside, the toilet and bathroom are separate and the beds have mosquito nets that are drawn at dusk by the staff. The porch area is large enough to sit in the evening and it is wonderful to listen to the animals around you, there are several types of monkey and lots of lizards. You can sometimes hear the hippos as the river Rufiji is a stones throw away and you’ll certainly see them bobbing up and down when you experience the river safari, along with crocodiles and along the embankment the weaver birds are busy with nesting
Food is excellent and far exceeded the 5 star hotel that we had stayed at previously in both quality and presentation. The meals are cooked and served as you arrive in the dining area and, when on safari, they are packed for you to take along. This is served at a little picnic table within the national park where you can enjoy the tranquil surroundings as you eat and drink.
There is a constant supply of water and soft drinks if needed, alcohol is available but you need to pay for this – around 5 USD for a large beer and 6 USD for a glass of wine, however you probably won’t need much alcohol as the days are packed full of activities that you return to camp feeling contented and sleepy!“
“My son and I visited this camp during one of the rainy seasons so not the main tourist season. We were flown in to the camp from Dar-es-Salaam airport. We were the only visitors in this particular camp at the time, although we did see other tourists as we travelled around. We could not have asked for better treatment from the most welcoming of staff. From the manager down through the chef, barman, waiter, Masai guides, and particularly our driver and guide, Abel, nothing was too much trouble. We had a boat safari, and two half day land safaris during which we saw a multitude of animals and birds, many at really close quarters including lions, elephants,and many many giraffes. Other sightings were of hippos, crocodiles, zebras, impala, warthogs among others. Various stork species, herons and myriads of smaller birds were in plenty evidence. Monkeys flocked around the campsite. We had a tented lodge with a huge double bed and a large single bed, with private shower room and a swimming pool – a boon for us northerners. There was layers of protection from mosquitos. The only minor downside for us was that we could have done with a fridge and air conditioning – although large fans kept us a bit cooler in the tent, and in the large decking area there was a constant supply of cold drinks. And also we realised that the dry season would have probably been less humid. These were slight drawbacks however which did nothing to spoil our enjoyment of the stay. Highly recommended.”
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