Nyerere Game Reserve
The Nyerere Game Reserve, a UNESCO world heritage site, is part of Tanzania’s Southwest Circuit (along with Ruaha, Katavi and Mahale). It’s also one of the largest wildlife reserves in Africa – it’s almost four times the size of the Serengeti! Its landscape is varied with rolling plains, woodlands, rocky outcroppings and numerous lakes, lagoons, and tributaries formed by the Rufiji River. The Nyerere contains one third of the world’s wild dog population alongside one of Africa’s largest populations of giraffe. The Rufiji River also provides excellent game-viewing, particularly during the dry season (June-October), when big game joins the hippos and crocodiles at the water’s edge. November through March is the hottest time of year and might be a bit uncomfortable for most travelers, but it’s a dry heat and the trade-off might be worth it for epic predator sightings, the arrival of baby animals, the best chance to see wild dogs, and lower rates. Camps are closed in April and May during the long rains. The biggest perk of the Nyerere is its diversity of activities, especially since it offers the only boat-based activities in East Africa with boating safaris on the lakes and Rufiji tributaries, as well as fishing for catfish and tigerfish. Guests can also enjoy game drives, walking safaris, swimming in natural hot springs and fly camping.
The Nyerere is easy to access, as there are regular, well-priced flights from Dar es Salaam, and it combines nicely with Zanzibar, Mafia Island or Fanjove Island for a classic bush & beach combo. There are also daily flights between the Selous and the Serengeti (via Ruaha), creating an ultimate Tanzania safari.