Tanzania President directs the split of Selous Game Reserve to form new National Park

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Tanzanian President John Magufuli had directed his government’s wildlife conservation authorities to split Selous Game Reserve to form a new national park.

The President had last Friday directed Tanzania’s ministry of Natural Resources and other relevant government institutions to carve a part of Selous Game Reserve to form or establish a new national park.

He said that the current situation of the Selous Game Reserve, one among Africa’s biggest wildlife conservation area, was not economically viable to benefit Tanzania through tourism, mostly hunting safaris and a few photographic safaris being carried in the Reserve.

The Tanzanian president then directed the Ministry of Natural Resources to split Selous Game Reserve and make its upper part a National Park to spur tourism growth and conservation of wildlife.

He issued the directive at a function to lay the foundation stone for construction of the mega-power generation plant at the Stiegler’s Gorge site within the Reserve.

He said the lower part of Selous Game Reserve, the largest wildlife reserve in Tanzania and the UNESCO World Heritage Site should retain its current status as a game reserve, while the upper part should become a National Park.

Covering the area of about 55,000 square kilometres, Selous Game Reserve contains the biggest concentration of crocodiles, hippos and buffaloes than any other known wildlife park in the entire African continent of which any visitor there could imagine.

Selous’ panoramic plains are decorated with golden grass, savannah forests, riverine marshes and boundless lakes. Rufiji River, the biggest river in Tanzania cuts through the Reserve with its brownish waters flowing to the Indian Ocean.

The river adds more romance in the Selous and is best known as the most crocodile infested inland water in Tanzania.

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Selous stands as the biggest wildlife conserved park in Africa with the largest concentration of elephants in the world where more than 110,000 heads are found roaming in its plains.

Other than elephants, the Reserve contains the biggest concentration of crocodiles, hippos and buffaloes than any other known wildlife park in the entire African continent, the wardens say.

The Selous Game Reserve, rich and precious inheritance to mankind, teems with unrivalled wildlife, from the tiniest midge to the oldest elephant patriarch. However, this reserve, boasts of the largest concentration of elephants in the world – more than 110,000 herds.

Larger than Switzerland, Denmark or Ireland, the Selous Game Reserve is the second largest wildlife protected area in Africa, and the wildest area in the world.

Attractive for photographic safaris, Selous Game Reserve is a unique wildlife sanctuary by its rivers and lakes, which make it one of the best watered protected areas in Africa. Rufiji River, the largest and longest river in Tanzania cuts across the Selous Game Reserve.

Famous for its crocodile population and big school of hippos, Rufiji River provide water to most parts of Selous Game Reserve. Evening and early morning boat excursions along its course, is the other tourist activity inside the Reserve.

Selous Game Reserve is one among seven recognized World Heritage Sites in Tanzania. The rest are Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Serengeti National Park, Kilwa Ruins, Rock Paintings in Kondoa and Zanzibar Stone Town.

It was named in honor of Frederick Courtney Selous, an Englishman whose knowledge of the African bush has entered the stuff of legends.

From 1871, Selous spent 40 years developing his intimate knowledge of the wilderness and served as the Great Hunter.

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