Lukwika-Lumesule Game Reserve

Southeastern Tanzania

This tiny game reserve is hidden away in the wild hinterlands southwest and west of Masasi. With luck you may see elephants, elands, crocodiles and hippos, though it's more likely you'll see none of these. The main challenge, apart from getting around the reserve, is spotting the animals through the often dense vegetation and dealing with the voracious tsetse flies.

Lukwika-Lumesule is separated from Mozambique’s Niassa Reserve by the Ruvuma River, and animals frequently wade across the border. There are no real roads in the reserve, just overgrown bush paths. It's officially off-limits during the July–December hunting season, and unofficially off-limits during much of the rest of the year due to the rains. According to reserve officials, late June is the best time to visit. Before setting off, it’s essential to stop by the Masasi Reserve Warden’s Office in Masasi to get an entry permit.

Camping is allowed with your own tent; there’s no charge. Water for bathing is normally available. Bring everything with you, including drinking water.

The entry point into Lukwika-Lumesule is about 2.5km southwest of Mpombe village on the northeastern edge of the reserve, and reached via Nangomba village, 40km west of Masasi.

There is no regular public transport, although you may occasionally be able to get a lift with a vehicle from the reserve warden’s office in Masasi. Otherwise, you’ll need your own 4WD transport. During the dry season, it’s possible to drive around Lukwika-Lumesule, following a 'road' running along its periphery.