Frederick Courtenay Selous


Have you been on an African safari? If yes, then you know the experience is unique. You get to see wild animals in their natural habitat. You get up close and personal with lions, elephants, leopards, hippos, and buffaloes. You see medium and small-sized animals. You can also relax on African beaches and interact with different people.

If you have not been to Africa, then you need to book a trip. There is so much in Africa for you. You will see most of the wild animals you see in films. You will see different landscapes on this beautiful continent. You will see some of the wonders of the world. It is more than fun. You get to learn a lot about Africans.

But who came up with safaris? Who inspired people to go on adventures? In this post, you will learn some African history. Specifically, you will learn about Frederick Courtenay Selous.

Early life

Frederick Courtenay Selous was born in London in 1851. His parents were educated and wealthy. The mother was a poet. The father chaired the London Stock Exchange. He grew up loving the adventures of explorers. While in school, he spent most of his time reading natural history. He also loved collecting animals such as butterflies. He grew up wanting to be a hunter or explorer in Africa.

African exploration

Frederick Courtenay Selous’ dream became a reality in 1871. He traveled to South Africa at the age of 19. The King allowed him to hunt in Ndebele. He spent several years hunting elephants and collecting specimens for museums. Through him, people started learning about Zimbabwe. During his stay in Africa, he became friends with community leaders and members.

In 1890, he became a guide to the Pioneer Column. It was a force used to annex Zimbabwe (then known as Mashonaland). He successfully guided the column in two and a half months.

Military career

In 1893, Selous returned to Africa after a trip to England. He participated in the First Matabele War. This is when he met Frederick Burnham, a fellow scout. In 1896. He settled in Matebeland with his family. He took part in the Second Matebele War. He served in the field force. This time, he also met Robert Baden-Powell. Robert was a Major and staff to the British Army.

At the age of 64, Selous rejoined the British Army. He fought in East Africa in World War 1. He was given several awards for his skills. He was killed on January 4, 1917. This occurred during a bush war in East Africa. A German sniper shot his head and killed him instantly. He was buried under a tree in Selous National Park.

Selous’ Legacy

Frederick Courtenay Selous as a hunter

Selous is known as the ‘great white hunter’. He succeeded in hunting in Africa and across the world. At just 19 years, he became a professional hunter. At the age of 25, he was known in South Africa and across the continent. In 1909, he accompanied Teddy Roosevelt on an African safari. Teddy was the ex-president of America. He also helped plan Roosevelt’s expedition to African countries.

Probably, you have heard about Frederick Selous rifle. He was an expert in firearms. He used them to hunt wild animals. The term ‘Frederick Selous rifle’ was popular because of his love for the firearm. Some guns have been named after him.

Other things are also named after the great hunter. Some animals are named after him such as the Selous mongoose. The Rhodesian special forces were called the Selous Scouts. You may have heard about Frederick Selous boots. There is also a national park named after him. It is called Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania. Now it is known as Nyerere National Park.

Frederick Courtenay Selous as a conservationist

In 1881, Selous noted that some wild animals were becoming scarce. He noted that the number of elephants was declining. He identified the need to conserve wildlife. This would help prevent the complete disappearance of some species.

He identified new species and recorded them in books, journals, and articles. He donated thousands of animals and plants to the natural history section. In 1893, he was awarded for good surveys. In 1902, he became a member of a club dedicated to conservation.

Frederick Courtenay Selous loved an adventurous life. He inspired people to go on adventures. Through him, people developed an interest to explore Africa. He played a major role in making safaris trendy. Today, millions of people from across the world have visited Africa. Most of them have come to see the diverse wildlife. Others are booking safaris to explore this beautiful continent.

Frederick Courtenay Selous also played a major role in promoting conservation. He saw this as the solution to preventing the extinction of some species. Today, several species are endangered. But many organizations are following in the footsteps of Selous. They are taking measures to protect wildlife. You can also play a role in the conservation of wildlife. Donate to conservation organizations. Keep the environment clean. Such small steps can go a long way in protecting wildlife.

Frederick Courtenay Selous should not be remembered for hunting elephants. He should be remembered for his positive impact on the African safari. Today, you just need to book a safari for memorable experiences in Africa. Subscribe to our blog and learn more about the history of safari.