By East African Business Week
Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli has directed wildlife conservation authorities in his country to split Selous Game Reserve and have its upper part turned into a national park.
Magufuli said the current situation of Selous Game Reserve, one of Africa’s biggest wildlife conservation area, is not economically viable to benefit Tanzania through tourism. The only tourism activities carried out in Selous are hunting safaris and a few photographic safaris.
He made the directive during the laying of the foundation stone for construction of the mega-power generation plant at the Stiegler’s Gorge site within the Reserve.
“The Ministry of Natural Resources must split this Game Reserve and make its upper part a National Park to spur tourism growth and conservation of wildlife,” said Magufuli.
He said the lower part of Selous Game Reserve 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 to the Selous and is best known as the most crocodile infested inland water in Tanzania.
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.
Its 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, it 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.
Selous Game Reserve is among the 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.