The Selous in Africa: A Long Way from Anywhere


 Lion fending off hyenas from its zebra kill in the Selous - photo by Robert J. Ross


These exciting photos are from a new book about the Selous Game Reserve by Robert J. Ross, whose amazing shots of this little known wilderness in southern Tanzania add a new dimension to observations about the area. David and I feel privileged to be allowed to post these shots from this exquisite tribute to the Selous.


 Flying over the Luwegu River, a tributary of the Rufiji in Selous - photo by Robert J. Ross


In late 1979, the writer and naturalist Peter Matthiessen and the wildlife photographer Hugo van Lawick joined a safari into the Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania, one of the largest yet least-known strongholds of wild animals left on earth. Sand Rivers is their beautiful account of a remarkable trip into this quintessential East African wilderness. I remember reading it at the time – I still have a copy on my bookshelves.

 Borassus palms dot the Selous landscape - photo by Robert J. Ross


  Hippos in Selous - decked with the ubiquitous, invading water lettuce - photo by Robert J. Ross


It is clear that Matthiessen’s work is a source of great inspiration for Rob Ross. The book features nearly 400 photographs of this extraordinary place. Not only the large mega-fauna typically seen in a photographic book on African wildlife, but also the fantastic and often overlooked smaller creatures, birds, insects, and dramatic landscapes are captured in these breathtaking images. The first edition is already sold out and a new edition is being released.

 African wild dog takes a drink while keeping a wary lookout - photo by Robert J. Ross


 Lioness watching a lone impala - photo by Robert J. Ross

Original essays on the history and ecology of the Selous are complemented by extensive excerpts from Sand Rivers, used with generous permission from Peter Matthiessen. But the story of the Selous Game Reserve is best experienced through Ross’ photography. Culled from over 100,000 photographs shot over four years, the images featured in the pages of The Selous in Africa offer readers an intimate glimpse into the diverse landscapes, flora, and fauna to be found in this cherished reserve.

A waterbuck stands on a sandbank in this aerial shot of the Luwegu River - photo by Robert J. Ross


Added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1982, the Selous is Africa’s oldest and largest protected area and remains one of the continent’s greatest undisturbed ecosystems. Teeming with life—including one of the largest elephant populations remaining on the African continent, more lions than any other protected area on the continent, large packs of wild dogs, and vast herds of buffalo—the Selous is a crown jewel of biodiversity and wilderness preservation.

 Elephant eating the fruit of a Borassus palm in Selous - photo by Robert J. Ross


Dramatically increased poaching and other threats to the Selous which have emerged in recent years have resulted in efforts being implemented today to preserve the reserve’s unique resources and withstand future threats. As Kishore Rao, Director of UNESCO/World Heritage Centre writes in the book’s Foreword, “The Selous World Heritage Site is our common heritage. Its magnificence is captured through Robert J. Ross’ great pictures. We cannot let the Selous die, it is our common responsibility to save it. Together we can make it happen.”




Robert J. Ross is a native New Yorker who has spent the past fifteen years capturing colorful moments in Africa and elsewhere around the world after wisely leaving a career in property finance and development.  Rob’s work has been published in National Geographic Adventure, National Geographic Traveler, Conde Nast Traveler, Getaway Magazine, Africa Geographic, Islands, Travel Africa, GQ, House & Garden, and in many other leading travel and environmental journals.  Rob has also undertaken photographic assignments for the Wildlife Conservation Society, the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Global Fund for Children.






The Selous in Africa: A Long Way From Anywhere

by Robert J. Ross

Published by Officina Libraria

276 pages; hardcover; $75;

ISBN: 978-88-97737-64-3


The book can be purchased from book sellers worldwide and on Amazon.Signed copies as well as the limited edition are available from the author at this link


You can e-mail Rob from the Contact page on his website if you have any comments about his work or if you are interested in purchasing prints of any of the images on this site or from the book.  Rob also has an extensive library of other images that can be reviewed upon request.

Find the author on Facebook at: Robert J Ross

And on Instagram




“Rarely written about and rarely photographed, the Selous is a vast wild place in southeastern Tanzania. A stronghold of large animals, it is the largest wildlife sanctuary on the African continent (larger than Switzerland). It is also one of the least accessible and the least known. With Robert J. Ross’ The Selous in Africa, this is about to change. Ross has travelled to this extraordinary wilderness numerous times documenting its great array of wildlife with some of the most beautiful photographs ever taken there.”

—Peter Matthiessen, National Book Award-winning author and naturalist


“The Selous is one of the largest wild areas left on earth. Robert J. Ross is a dedicated conservationist and tenacious photographer—just the combination needed to bring this wilderness to the light. Rob’s book appears at a critical time when the attention it brings is most needed.”

—Michael “Nick” Nichols, photographer, conservationist, and editor-at-large, National Geographic


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