We used spatial analysis to assess the Land Use Land Cover (LULC) changes, and studied the impacts of LC changes on conservation of buffer zone of the Selous Game Reserve (SGR) and their implication on community’s livelihood in Vikumbulu Ward of Kisarawe District, Tanzania. Socio-economic data from Kisarawe District and TNBS were linked to spatial data to offer an integrated perspetive of LULC change in the Ward. Three cloud free image dates of 1998, 2011 and 2015 were analysed using System for Automated Geoscientific Analyses (SAGA) GIS for three categories of land cover, i.e. forest, wooded grassland and bare land/settlements/cultivation. Vikumbulu demographic and socio-economic data were linked to spatial data applying distance as a function of LULC change. Spatial analysis has shown a decreasing trend of forest and woodland cover in Vikumbulu Ward between 1998 and 2015. The sharp decline indicates increasing social economic activities such as shifting agriculture and charcoal burning as an outcome of population growth and poverty. Rapid conversion of forest cover to wooded grassland occurred between 1998 and 2015 in Vikumbulu Ward. However, loss of forest cover was associated with a decreasing trend in wooded land in the ward between 2011 and 2015. As there was only 0.15% area under crop cultivation in Vikumbulu until 2015, it is highly likely that LC change is caused by charcoal burning and shifting cultivation. This study suggests developing integrated strategies that target LULC change, conservation and people’s livelihoods to effectively improve the current situation in rural areas of Tanzania.