Apr 162009


The Rufiji River lies entirely within the African nation of Tanzania. The river is formed by the convergence of the Kilombero and Luwegu rivers. It is approximately 600 km (375 mi) long, with its source in southwestern Tanzania and its mouth on the Indian Ocean at a point between Mafia Island called Mafia Channel. Its principal tributary is the Great Ruaha River. For conventional boats, it is navigable for about 100 km (60 mi). A branch of ancient sea routes led down the East African coast called “Azania” by the Greeks and Romans in the 1st century CE as described in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (and, very probably, 澤散 Zesan in the 3rd century by the Chinese), at least as far as the port known to the Romans as Rhapta, which was probably located in the delta of the Rufiji River in modern Tanzania. The Rufiji is about 200 km (120 mi) south of Dar-es-Salaam.

The Rufiji traverses the Selous Game Reserve, Africa’s biggest protected wildlife area. The reserve covers a total area of 54,600 km² (21,081 square miles), almost twice the size of Belgium or Massachusetts, and four times larger than the famous Serengeti. Located in south-east Tanzania in a remote and little-visited part of the country, the Selous Game Reserve is Africa’s largest protected wildlife reserve and covers more than 5% of Tanzania’s total area. It’s rivers, hills, and plains are home to roaming elephant populations, the area’s famous wild dogs, and some of the last black rhino left in the region. Due to its remote location, and because it is most easily accessible only by small aircraft, the Selous Game Reserve has remained one of the untouched gems of Tanzania’s national parks and game reserves.

Over 800,000 mammals, including lions, leopards, cheetahs,elephants, buffalos, zebras, impalas, gnus, hartebeests, waterbucks, giraffes, kudus, warthogs, grysbok, hyenas, jackals, wild dogs, bush babies, baboons, Vervet monkeys and mongooses. And that’s without mentioning the reserve’s specialty – an abundance of hippopotamuses and crocodiles.

At least 440 bird species are documented residents of the reserve, but there are surely more to discover in a large part of the reserve few or no men have set foot. The sight of the innumerable birds that enliven the park is breathtaking: yellow-billed storks, marabou storks, spoonbill stocks, Goliath herons, ibises, gray herons, egrets and pelicans as well as weaves, starlings, geese, ducks and numerous birds of prey like eagles, falcons, kites, etc.

Its delta contains the largest mangrove forest in the world.

Rufiji River - Stilt House



Location (from 8º 31′ 44.07″ S, 37º 20′ 53.50″ E to 7º 46′ 14.81″ S, 39º 20′ 21.77″ E)

View Rufiji River in a larger map

service providers

Service Providers

Beho Beho was the first camp to be sited in The Selous, not on the banks, or the flood plains of the mighty Rufiji River, but in the cooler highlands so as to enjoy the cooling breezes from which its name derives. Always designated as a private camp it has fiercely protected its individuality and privileged location as one of the most magical places it is possible to visit in safari Africa.

Hippo Camp is situated near the Mtemere Gate, just outside the Selous Game Reserve. Stunningly set right on the banks of the Rufiji River, Hippo Camp is surrounded by lush riverine forest. Herds of elephant, giraffe, warthog and other game are attracted to a close-by pond, where they can be clearly viewed from the private tree-hut. The dining area & canvas tented huts all face the river. Access is mainly by air from Dar es Salaam: a 45 minute flight to Mtemere Airstrip, then a 10 minute drive to Hippo Camp. Game Viewing, Fishing, Boat Rides and Nature Walks are part of the local activities.

Impala Selous is set in Borassus palms and Tamarind trees and provides superb comfort, wonderful wildlife and dining under the stars beside the rippling Rufiji River. There is a large and comfortable thatched low-slung building with wide verandas where there is a relaxed open plan area with a well stocked bar, dining room and plenty of planters, chairs and sofas so that you can scan the river and banks for game, drink in hand. Nearby is a sheltered, crystal clear blue swimming pool which overlooks the Rufiji, just the thing after returning from a game drive in the heat of the day! Other activities include bird watching; photography; walking safaris; and fishing Tiger Fish and Vandu.

Superbly isolated right in the heart of the Ruaha National Park lies Jongomero Camp on the banks of a seasonal sand river which bears the same name. Blending in beautifully with its surroundings the camp is tucked away among some shady riverine vegetation not far from permanent water therefore attracting a large amount of animals into the camp area. Being the only camp situated in this area of the park ensures unmatched privacy and a true wilderness experience.

Kiba Point is a small lodge available only on exclusive basis in the Selous Game Reserve. You won’t meet another traveler beyond the friends and family you brought with you and the private lodge staff during your stay. The four big, airy cottages can accommodate up to eight guests. They are constructed of stone and thatch and raised on platforms above the river line, keeping the interiors cool yet elegant. Your spacious, open bathrooms feature flush toilets, hot and cold running water, and an indoor and outdoor “rock” shower.

Situated on the panhandle of the Rufiji River in view of the mighty Stiegler’s Gorge is Mivumo River Lodge. All twelve rooms are set along the river as is the large dining area. The lodge offers a variety of activities including boat adventures, exclusive guided walks, wilderness picnics, private game drives & sundowner river adventures.

Rufiji River Camp is a tented camp located on the banks of the Rufiji river. It has 20 tents, beautifully positioned to catch the unique African sunset. It is environmentally friendly and its unique position affords one uninterrupted views off the river, which is regularly visited by hippos and groups of crocodiles.

Sand Rivers is Richard Bonham’s permanent lodge in the Selous, a 40 minute light aircraft flight from Dar es Salaam. There are eight double cottages built in rustic style, each with en-suite bathroom and a private view over the Rufiji River. There is a bar and dining area, and a swimming pool set into the banks of the river. From the lodge morning or evening walking safaris are offered. Full day walks can also be arranged from Sand Rivers, taking a picnic lunch. These can be extended by using fly camps and spending a night in the bush before driving or walking back to the lodge.

The Selous Mbega Camp is situated in its own forest reserve on the banks of the mighty Rufiji River. The accommodation at Selous Mbega Camp is in large safari tents, built on wooden platforms, mosquito & insect proof, …

The Selous Project: Exclusive Photographic Safaris in the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania. Lukula Selous is a private photographic sanctuary of over 300,000 acres where only one group of guests is permitted into the entire area at any given time. The group may be an individual, a couple, a family or a private group of friends or colleagues, up to a maximum of eight people, with no age limits. We only host guests for five months of the year, from July through November, during the dry season when the animals concentrate along the waterways that meander through this sector of the Reserve.

Hidden amongst dense forest and on the banks of the Rufiji River, Selous Riverside Safari Camp provides the most breathtaking view as dawn arises and a whole new adventure begins. Overlooking the Rufiji River, Selous Riverside Safari Camp consists of ten of the most largest and luxurious tented chalets in Tanzania. Adventures and activities available at Selous Riverside Safari Camp include game drives in open 4×4 vehicles, boat safaris on the Rufiji River, Balloon safaris, guided walking safaris and cultural tours.

The Selous Safari Camp is delightfully situated within an open palm forest on the shores of Lake Nzerakera, a massive lake adjoining the Great Rufiji River. Blending in superbly with its natural surroundings in what is one of the most photogenic areas of the Selous Game Reserve. All safari tents are widely spaced along the lake shore ensuring maximum privacy and wonderful views. Each tent sits atop its own raised timber platform with two large verandas on either side where one can sit with a cup of tea in the morning watching the bush come to life at sunrise, or nursing a gin and tonic as the bush gets ready for the night at sunset.

Set on the Eastern bank of the Simbazi River,  a tributary of the Rufiji, the Selous Wildlife Lodge offers twelve well appointed tents, positioned under individually grass-thatched structures, luxuriously furnished with adjoining beautifully appointed colonial bathrooms.