The reserve covers a total area of 54,600 km2 and has additional buffer zones. Within the re-serve no permanent human habitation or permanent structures are permitted. All (human) entry and exit is carefully controlled by the Wildlife Division of the Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. Elephants, hippos, African Wild Dog, cape buffalo and crocodiles can be found in this park in larger numbers than in any other African game reserve or national park.
Most of the reserve remains set aside for game hunting through a number of privately leased hunting concessions, but a section of the northern park along the Rufiji River has been desig-nated a photographic zone and is a popular tourist destination.
Interesting places in the park include the Rufiji River, which flows into the Indian Ocean opposite Mafia Island and the Stiegler Gorge, a canyon of 100 metres depth and 100 metres width. Habitats include grassland, typical Acacia savanna, wetlands and extensive Miombowoodlands. Although total wildlife populations are high, the reserve is large and densities of animals are lower than in the more regularly visited northern tourist circuit of Tanzania.