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Found 26 results

  1. Hello everyone. I have been a long time lurker on this site. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading other peoples trip reports, and have used these reports to help me decide on upcoming safari itineries. I made a promise to myself that when the time came I would contribute a trip report as well, so here goes! A bit of background info first. This was our 3rd safari (myself and Mrs Mopsy). Our first, in 2005, was to Botswana and Zimbabwe. This of course was meant to be the trip of a lifetime. But we were well and truly bitten by the Africa bug and knew we had to return. In 2009 we ventured to South Africa and Kenya. And that just left us wanting more. But then life got in the way (or kids to be more specific. Actually our first born son was conceived in Kenya). Two more boys came into the world over the next few years so our Africa plans were placed on the backburner. But the dream never stopped. I love to research, whether it be googling different camps I hear about or, as mentioned before, reading trip reports on here. So finally the time came where we were confident enough to leave the kids with grandparents and head back to the bush again. Deciding where to go was easy, the trip had been planned in my head for the past 5 years. It was just a matter of contacting different agents with our ideas and plans and see who have us the best feel. We eventually booked with Africa Travel Resource, as they gave us the best vibe and their price was very competitive as well. I also found they were very honest with their advice. So the final itinery looked like this - 1 night Dar Es Salaam - Southern Sun (Jan 8th) 5 nights Ruaha NP - Mdonya River Lodge (Jan 9th - 13th) 4 nights Selous GR - Lake Manze Camp (Jan 14th - 17th) Now, before I begin my report, a couple of words of warning. Firstly, I am no great wordsmith. I haven't got a way with the English language that so many others do. With me, you will get a fairly basic rundown of the happenings on our trip. Secondly, I am not a great photographer. I took with me my humble point and shoot Canon Powershot with a 20x Optical Zoom. My photos will have many faults with them. But having said that I hope that what you see and read gives you some sort of an idea of the great time we had. So with the preliminaries out of the way, its time to start the report.....
  2. Hi there everyone! Having returned to the UK yesterday from Tanzania, I've decided to stop lurking and undertake my first SafariTalk trip report. I have upcoming trips in the next six months to Benin (Pendjari), Chad (Zakouma) and Senegal (Niokolo-Koba) so I'm hopeful this will be the first of many! A bit about me: I'm a 22 year-old with a long-held passion for wildlife, with this trip around the Southern Circuit my 15th safari (which rather pales in comparison to many of you!). My big passion has been African Wild Dogs for as long as I can remember, but I'm fascinated by anything with fur/feathers/scales! A bit about the trip: I travelled with my childhood best friend, Jack, who had previously ventured only to Tsavo East nine years ago. We travelled overland (two guys in their early 20s don't have a particularly malleable budget!) spending four days in Selous before spending a day travelling to Ruaha, where we spent three days. A further two days would be in Mikumi before the reluctant journey home. We used a Tanzanian safari company for the trip who guided, drove and fed and watered us brilliantly. Now, why the thread title? Well, we would be trying to achieve the impossible in two ways. Firstly, we needed to strike a balance between a beginner's safari for Jack, and what we ironically termed a 'connoisseur's safari' for me. This was a big worry for me in organising the trip - would we be able to find enough game to give Jack a wildlife experience not dissimilar to those offered by the game-rich plains to the North? And would I be able to keep Jack enthused by the time I'd taken my thousandth photo of a White-Browed Coucal? In addition, Jack has long wanted to see wild cheetah, so this was a key goal for us. We chose Selous and Ruaha in no small part because they offered the chance to see dogs and cheetah on the same safari, to keep us both happy! Secondly, I've set myself a rather ambitious target of seeking out dogs, cheetah and lion (perhaps even leopard, who knows) in as many of their range states as possible. Before this trip, I had seen dogs in Kenya and South Africa, with an agonising near miss in Botswana. I had encountered Cheetah in Botswana, SA and Kenya, and lions in Botswana, SA, Kenya and Swaziland. Tanzania offered a chance to build on all of these lists, and also perhaps the opportunity to see some wildlife I had never before encountered - a particular bug bear has been my long-standing inability to see wild serval or caracal, so these were also key targets. You can imagine the look on our guide Mansoor's face when we reeled off all of these demands! I should point out that, despite the above, I would have been content just to be back in the bush after a 14-month absence - anything else would be a wonderful bonus. I'm hoping to crack on with this TR in earnest tomorrow and I hope to have as many SafariTalkers on board as possible to relive what was a wonderful adventure! Tom
  3. Roho ya Selous - Asilia Africa opening in the Selous Game Reserve, August 2017 We are excited to announce that a new camp will be joining the pack this year in a new area for Asilia. Roho ya Selous will open in the heart of the Selous Game Reserve in August. Set on a hill overlooking the water, Roho ya Selous sits close to a key waterway which links Lake Manze to Lake Nzerakera, right in the heart of the core game viewing area. This comfortable and stylish camp will offer game drives, walking safaris, boating and catch and release fishing and is ideally situated for exploring this diverse and beautiful reserve. Fast facts on the camp: 8 stretch canvas tents including 1 family tent. Each tent will have an over-bed ‘’Evening Breeze’’ cooling system for the hotter months. Wifi in camp. Game drives, walking safaris, boating safaris and catch and release fishing with easy access to both Lake Nzerakera and the Rufiji River system. Why go to Selous? Ease of access – less then an hour away from Dar es Salaam. Combines easily with Ruaha National Park for a longer and contrasting safari itinerary. Low density of safari camps, ensuring an exclusive, authentic and great value safari. Wildlife is varied and plentiful; wild dog, lion and leopard as well as over 400 bird species. Variety of safari activities – in addition to game drives guest can enjoy boat safaris, walking safaris and fishing. Natural beauty of a wilderness area larger than Switzerland
  4. We are trying to decide on itinerary and tour operator and would welcome any advice and suggestions from more experienced safari travelers. About us: We are three generations travelling together, 8 people, ages 11-68. All 6 adults have been on safari in Kruger and Chobe a few years back. We had some fantastic experiences, especially in Kruger. This time we are considering a new area. We have seen the big five in Kruger, and we have seen large herds in Chobe. We want to get close to the animals. We hope to see a variety of animals, there is no particular animal we feel we need to search for, though it would be great to see wild dogs and cheetah. We are worried that the safari experience could be diminished by lots of vehicles in the same area. And we would prefer to stay in tented camps or lodges that are not too large, and that are situated inside the parks. We don't need luxury, but do appriciate comfort and good food. All of us are used to driving long distances, and have no problems with all day road trips. Our budget for the trip, for the whole group is about $ 30 000, including some days at the beach, excluding international flights. We can travel for 15-21 days, in the period 16th June - 15th August 2018. So.. we have been in contact with a couple of tour operators with offices in Tanzania. One tour operator suggested that the parks in southern Tanzania would suit us well. We have received an itinerary that we find very interesting. But other tour operators seem to feel that this itinerary is not to be recommended, or needs 1-2 days extra. Itinerary (with two 4x4 and drivers/guides for the entire safari part of the trip) Day 1 Arrive and stay in Dar es Salaam Day 2 Drive from Dar to Selous, boat safari in the afternoon Day 3 Game drive in Selous Day 4 Game drive to the North in Selous, then over the Uluguru Mountains to Mikumi, perhaps time for game drive before dinner Day 5 Drive to Udzungwa, walking safari/Sanje Falls Day 6 Drive to Ruaha, pit stop in Iringa Day 7 Game drive Ruaha Day 8 Game drive Ruaha Day 9 Drive to airstrip, walking safari, flight to Zanzibar Day 10-13 Zanzibar east coast Day 13-15 Stone town Day 15 Ferry to Dar, and fly home So, what do you think about the itinerary? Is it doable? Should we change something? The tour operator suggested we leave in June to get a better rate at the camps. Is late June a good time to visit this area? We will be travelling and doing the game drives in the same vehicles. The cars have pop up roofs. In our previous game drives we have had open safari vehicles, and I am a bit worried that this effects the experience. Camps/lodges: Rufiji river camp, Vuma Hills, Hondo Hondo, Ruaha river lodge, anyone who knows these camps? To reduce costs we could choose camps outside of the park borders, but we like that animals also can be seen in and around the camp. About the tour operator, he doesn't always answer when he says he will. I know we have plenty of time to plan our trip, but I find it hard to trust people who don't follow through. A lot of questions and concerns, I hope you can help me.
  5. This took place in November last year, when we were at Siwandu, in the Selous game reserve. In the late morning, we were slowly on our way back to the camp, when we came on it. The road was running through wooded glades, when we spotted on the right, at about 20/25 meters, on the ground, the martial eagle and its prey, a big rock monitor. The capture probably occured not long before we arrived, the lizard was of course still alive. A part of its tail was missing but that was the result of another battle for life, I guess ? The martial eagle was not on familiar ground, and as a consequence, worried. We decided not to go closer, so as not to add more to its stress, manifested by regular squeals and anxious looks in all directions, a similar behavior a cheetah can have when having caught a prey, or a leopard in the same situation when there are no trees or thick bushes around. The problem, for the martial eagle, was not to find a place to go with its prey, there were some suitable trees around, but first to weaken its prey and then to fly away with it. That was perhaps a bit too ambitious, the weight of a full grown rock monitor is about 8 to 9 kilos ? When we arrived on the sighting, I said to Allen, my guide, that I wanted to stay until the end. As we were, my wife and myself, the only guests on the car, it was very easy for him to agree. While we were there, another car arrived. Fortunately they stayed at an acceptable distance and were gone after several minutes. To weaken its prey, the eagle tried to blind it. A quick look at us. I was surprised by this move. First attempt of the eagle to fly away with its prey. It’s a failure, back on the ground Another look to us. New attempt to blind its prey Third look at us One more attempt to blind its prey, in the other eye this time. No look at us anymore, we are now part of the scenery. New attempt of the eagle to fly away with its prey. It’s a failure once again, back on the ground. Now, it’s moving to change its grip on the lizard. The talons are really impressive ! Two more attempts to fly away resulting in two more failures A last attempt to blind the lizard. Obviously, after a succession of failed attempts to take off with its prey, the eagle decided to drag it towards a tree. Finally, it gave up to it and went on the tree where it kept a close eye on the weakened monitor. In normal conditions, the monitor is fast. There, its strength had dramatically declined, it had lost one eye and a small part of its internal organs was out through a hole made by the eagle’s claw (visible on the third picture). After a short moment of wavering, it decided to go in the road’s direction. It was moving like it was in slow motion. The martial eagle tried a last attempt to catch it in flight like fish eagles do with a fish, but it failed, and went on a tree on the other side of the road. When the monitor reached the road, it disappeared behind a tree that was alongside. It did not reappear on the other side. So, we moved to discover that there was a big hole in the trunk, about three meters from the ground. End of the story, that lasted 30 minutes, back to the camp.
  6. Before we went away on our trip we thoroughly enjoyed reading the various trip reports on Safaritalk, so I made a promise to myself that when we got back from our trip I would “return the favour” and write (or at least try and write) a trip report. So having persuaded J into providing technical support, loading the various photographs etc., here is our first attempt at a trip report. Trip to Selous and Ruaha - November 2015 The itinerary, arranged by Matt at Imagine Africa worked beautifully. 8 days in the Selous (4 days at Lake Manze Camp and 4 days at Selous Impala Camp) 7 days in Ruaha (4 days at Mdonya Camp and 3 days at Kwihala Camp) November is supposed to be the rainy season; however the rains were running a bit late and although we occasionally got rained on, most of the time was clear blue sky and very very hot – particularly over mid-day, but this is Africa and it is meant to be hot, and after the first couple of days we really did not notice. Saturday 7th November So today we head off to Tanzania, at long last. It has been months in the planning and waiting to get going. Mind you it has also given time for us to figure out how to get our luggage down to the weight limit of 15kg per person. Considering that the photographic gear and binoculars come close to 15kg on their own, this took some careful thought and planning, but in the end we ended up just over 16kg each (one lot of hand luggage each and one soft sided bag carrying all of our clothing, toiletries etc.). Considering we needed to get round the M25, not the most reliable road in the world, we headed off early to Heathrow. Once we were near to the airport we went off to find a nice meal and relax for a bit, before going to the airport just in time to check in. We had booked a lounge at Heathrow, so we headed straight there and sat in comfortable seats, drinking tea and coffee and nibbling a few snacks (this lounge even offered free 10 minute spa treatments – which I took advantage of whilst waiting, a nice way to relax before getting on the flight). Having eaten before we got on the flight we basically tried to sleep the flight to Nairobi away, and managed to get a least a bit of sleep before arriving. Sunday 8th November After a fairly long trip from London to Nairobi, we were a bit concerned as by the time we got off the plane as we were at least half an hour late arriving, and our transit time was a little tight. Despite being in transit you have to clear through various processes and we ended up rushing through the airport, and straight onto the plane to Dar Es Salaam. Looking out of the window of the plane, we could see the plane we had got off sitting next to us on the tarmac, although we had trotted round half the airport. We were at least comforted to see our hold luggage being loaded into our plane (at least it had made it this far with us). The flight from Nairobi flew over Kilimanjaro, and J had checked carefully to ensure that we were sitting on the right hand side of the plane, which gave some truly spectacular views of one of Africa’s iconic spots. At Dar Es Salaam an agent from Coastal was waiting as we exited the airport. We were swiftly transferred to the waiting room for Coastal. We could not see any place to get refreshments here, but at least we had one of the bottles of water that we had brought over from the flight to Dar Es Salaam. Coastal weighed our hold luggage and tagged it for where it was going, but never weighed the hand luggage. After a short wait we followed our luggage out onto the tarmac and climbed into the small plane that would take us out to Selous. Looking out the windows we watched as the airport disappeared, and we flew over the roof tops of Dar Es Salaam (I wonder why so many of their roofs are painted such a bright blue) before heading out over the bush and on towards the Selous ( Siwandu Airstrip). Having landed safely, our transport was waiting and our luggage was swiftly loaded onto the vehicle and off we went. It was a fairly quick journey to Lake Manze Camp to get checked in and to arrive for lunch. Lake Manze Camp is a small tented camp set along the side of Lake Manze and all of the tents face the lake. It has twelve tents which are set out in a long line on either side of the reception / bar/ restaurant area. There is no power in any of the tents, but there is a charging station at the bar, which has plenty of plugs for anything you need to charge. We ended up being quite organised, taking chargers out on game drives so we could get the batteries charging as soon as we returned to the camp, rather than having to walk to and from our tents. The whole camp is an absolute haven for wildlife and there was always something around during the time we were here. Shaun and Milli greeted us and explained the routine / safety information and then we were shown to our home for the next four nights. After lunch we sat on the “veranda” of our tent, listening to Africa, and watching as elephants crashed through the vegetation feeding as they went and impalas crept silently past heading down to the remnants of water that used to be Lake Manze and which at the time was a large dried out plain, with some lethal mud, and a little, very little bit of water. Having rested and organised ourselves, at 4.00pm we headed to the lounge and we went for a boat trip. Because of the lack of water in Lake Manze the boats had been moved to the nearby Lake Nzerakera which still had plenty of water. The weather was beautiful when we set out, but virtually as soon as we were out in the middle of the lake it started to rain, and then it started to rain more, and then it started to pour. On a boat there is nowhere to go to get out of the rain. So we just crouched over the cameras trying to ensure that they did not get too damp. The animals did not seem to mind – particularly the hippo’s and the crocodiles (not really that surprising I suppose) but some of the baboons looked a bit depressed in the rain. Anyway, after about half an hour the rain moved away leaving some wonderful light and particularly a lovely rainbow over the lake. The nice light meant we got some good shots of hippo, a small herd of buffalo, crocodiles and a small variety of birds. There were some lovely scenic shots of the sun going down, as we returned back to the shore, a little soggy but still happy. It was a lovely relaxing way to start our trip. Tonight we slept like logs – catching up on the missed sleep, but even so we were aware of the whoop, whoop of the hyenas which were clearly travelling through the camp. As first light began to come up, we woke to the noise of the bush, and to the vervet monkeys leaping onto the tent roof and seemingly sliding down it before leaping to the ground to start their morning excursions.
  7. love the ending: "we need a latter-day Marshall Plan that integrates the true costs of park management into the economic priorities of international development agencies. Lions are too valuable to take for granted."
  8. Tanzania's shame Tanzania turns a blind eye to poaching as elephant populations tumble
  9. The northern safari circuit in Tanzania is soooo yesterday… (Well, in fact, it was February for me. Ha!) The hot, tsetse-ridden southern interior is where it’s happenin’. Only glimpsed on a previous “drive-by”, the vast area to me still represents mystery and possibilities. Craig Doria is not soooo yesterday. This is my sixth safari with Craig, and despite his greying beard, he never gets old. Even for those who, like Craig, specialize in safaris in Tanzania, the southern circuit is seldom visited, and it constitutes a refreshing change of pace. A sense of adventure is palpable as we review our itinerary in the sultry night air of Dar. It reads… 3 nights Selous Impala Camp, 4 nights Kwihala Camp (Ruaha), 3 nights Katavi Wildlife Camp, 5 nights Lukwati Game Reserve. Selous Game Reserve No, it’s not like the ’90s female tennis player Monica. It’s more like the answer (in non-plural form) to the question – what does a peddler of toilets do for a living? Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way… It’s a strange thing that a protected area be named after a professional hunter, and a stranger thing that it was once a battleground between the Brits and the Germans during World War I. (“A strange place to fight a war”, quips Rolf Baldus in Wild Heart of Africa, a recent, comprehensive book about the Selous Game Reserve.) And what other major park or reserve in Africa has designated areas for both trophy hunting (allowed south of the Rufiji River) and photographic safaris (north of the Rufiji) under the same protected area name? In fact, strange – and wonderful – would become the recurring theme of my first foray into the Selous. Or as Craig would put it, everything is a bit different here – and awesome. “Low-lying”. “Hot”. “Humid”. These bandied-about descriptions of the Selous conjure up green floodplains and palm trees. So, it is to my surprise that the drive from the Mtemere airstrip to Selous Impala Camp first skirts drab, bone-dry scrubland. Until we near one of the oxbow lakes formed by the Rufiji River or the River itself, we shall remain in the bone-dry, though the two characteristic trees of this part of the Selous, Terminalia spinosa and Acacia zanzibarica, quell the drab half way into the drive. The former, with its stiff, layered branches and brilliant green leaves, is reminiscent of a Christmas tree. The latter, with light branches blanketed in long, white thorns, evoke a White Christmas. “No place I know in Africa looks like this,” to Craig declare I. Zebras amidst T. spinosa and A. zanzibarica T. spinosa Greater kudu bull and young Impala Camp is set overlooking a lovely stretch of the Rufiji River. A sprawling mess structure and a separate bar both afford one the opportunity to view hippos and crocs. All the basic bush comforts and luxuries are provided – no less and no more (well, there is at the bar the badass Italian coffee machine brought in by Fausto, the camp manager). Dennis, a 12-year veteran of the Selous, is our excellent local guide with a baritone voice that leaves no doubt as to who is in charge. A dry season safari in the Selous basically consists of game drives around the oxbow lakes of the Rufiji and powerboat rides on them. From Mtemere going roughly northwest, the lakes go, in order… Mzizima, Siwandu, Nzerakera and Manze, with Tagalala some distance west of this cluster. Impala Camp lies between Mzizima and Siwandu, just where T. spinosa and A. zanzibarica begin to add liveliness to the landscape, and it has easy access to Lake Siwandu by boat. Dennis (foreground) Breakfast on the Rufiji So compelling is the boat ride from Impala Camp, I, ordinarily not much of a boat-safari dude, would end up enjoying it twice. The boat station is on the Rufiji proper and is steps away from the bar. The Rufiji, freely flowing and teeming with fish, fish-eating birds, hippos and crocodiles, is possibly the healthiest looking river I have seen in Africa. The number of crocodiles is truly astounding, triggering the sophomoric question of how much money would have to be dangled to entice one to swim across the approximately 75-meter-wide river. Craig: “it would probably be okay crossing just one time, don’t you think?” I negotiate Craig down to an embarrassingly low amount (don’t worry, you Doria children – it’s just hypothetical) until – tick-tock, tick-tock – a monster reptile with chilling green eyes swims by us. After a few minutes on the Rufiji, a slight right turn of the boat gets you onto the tranquil waters of Lake Siwandu. Hippo pods seem more numerous here. Waterbucks and buffalos graze out on the small peninsulas full of sunning crocodiles. A group of zebras emerges from the thickets to water. White-fronted bee-eaters, in smaller numbers than the carmine bee-eaters of the Luangwa Valley but no less brilliant and showy, have formed a nesting colony on the riverbank and do their industrious bee-eater thing. The sun sets behind a seemingly manicured row of borassus palms. Yes, it’s all a cliché, and it’s real. Lake Siwandu Buffalo from the boat Hello Fresh blood stains Tick-tock, tick-tock White-fronted bee-eater A drowned leadwood A row of borassus On terra firma, we scour the fringes of Siwandu, Nzerakera and Manze and the dry plains (now looking a bit like Tarangire, by the way) just north of those lakes for predator activity early morning, and then watch the magical “nine o’ clock magnet” phenomenon while enjoying a picnic breakfast. It is as if someone flips the switch on at nine, and the lakes hypnotize the animals and tow them in. One can, over a cup of coffee from a good vantage point, watch pretty much all the plains game species pass by on their way for a drink. The Selous offers up all the familiar plains game, but each species is a bit different (strange?) from the norm. Impalas here, though classified as East African impala, are small and dull-colored and more similar to the Southern impala. The zebras betray narrow stripes, suggesting they bleed into the Crawshay’s category. The giraffes are categorized as Maasai but with less pronounced blotchy patterns typical of the type. (By the way, the giraffe purportedly does not occur south of the Rufiji in the Selous.) The hartebeests are of the Lichtenstein’s variety, slightly out of their elements in this dry, non-miombo part of the Selous. The greater kudus look the same here as anywhere else in Tanzania but appear to be on a different calendar. Most everywhere in Africa where they are found, including other parts of Tanzania, greater kudu bulls mix and mate with females at the end of the rains in May/June and then occur almost exclusively in bachelor groups later in the year. Every magnificent kudu bull encountered here would still be seen with his girlfriends. A typical late morning scene Lichtenstein's hartebeest Greater kudu bull
  10. Back from a great safari... I encountered more lions on this one than any other safari in my life. Ruaha, in particular, was crawling with them. Elephants have, understandably, become skittish and nocturnal at Selous, but Ruaha and Katavi had good numbers of them. This was my first time to Selous, and it was a pleasant surprise. The birdlife on the Rufiji and the lakes is incredible. Tree-climbing lions, tame leopards and roan at Katavi. And I was privileged to have visited a newly-gazetted Lukwati Game Reserve, a huge, pristine miombo woodland.
  11. We came from Jongomero in the Ruaha. When we landed at Siwandu airstrip, the sky was overcast and from the plane, we could see that it was raining in some places. Last month, we stayed 5 nights at Siwandu, that belongs to the owner of Jongomero. I had been there already in October 2010 (also 5 nights), it was then called Selous Safari Camp, and twice in 1997, when it was called Mbuyuni. It was, in those times, located elsewhere, closer to the Rufiji river. The Rufiji river and crocodile in 1997 It had to be rebuilt several times because of damages done by natural elements, like thunderbolt or flood. In 1997, there were, of course, less lodges in the reserve. The camp is now located on the lake Nzerakera, where the concentration of game is the highest one. This dead tree is, around the lake, the most photographed one. 2010, the level of water was higher 2014 Siwandu is a place that I am particularly fond of. It has a fantastic location and the light, especially in the afternoon, is gorgeous. The lake gives you many opportunities to see animals, not only birds, crocs or hippos, from a boat or a pontoon. The camp is divided in 2 separate entities with their own restaurant, bar and kitchen. I had a very good guide, Allen. I was surprised by the fact that he did not use binoculars. He said that, for him, it was not necessary. Indeed, I quickly realized that he has eyes like a hawk. The tents have an octogonal shape with the bathroom and the out of doors shower, en-suite, on one side. We had tent n° 7, for me, the one with the best view on the lake. View from the tent Concerning wildlife, first of all, sorry Hari, no cheetahs at all. Lions in 2010 were often seen. In 2014, only 2 sightings, a total of 6 lions. The Selous is the place where I saw wild dogs for the first time, in 1997. In 2010, I saw two of them not far from the lake and a pack, far away in the direction of Beho Beho. This year, one car from the camp, that went out for a full day, saw a pack near the Sand Rivers lodge, an area that they are attached to. The problem is that, in this part of the reserve, there is not much more to see. I deliberately decided not to go there, when so many other species can be seen on and around the lakes. This year, I saw 3 leopards, 4 years ago, I only caught the glimpse of one. In fact, I saw it, in the dark, during one of my most thrilling african nights. Around midnight, I was awokened by the alarm call of the impalas. I opened the zip and in the beam of my flashlight, I saw, what I expected to see, a leopard, but it was a surprise to see it with a baby impala in its mouth. It disappeared in the bushes, accompanied by the wails of the mother. One hour later, I was again awokened, but this time by the racket made by a pack of hyenas, close to the kitchen. And it’s not finished, about one more hour later, I was, violently, dragged from my sleep by the roaring of a big male lion that had decided to begin its concert at the entrance of my tent. There were more elephants this year, but strangely, not seen on game drives, but from the boat and every night in the camp. There were no sightings at all of zebras this year, but a lot of hyenas in and out the camp. Concerning the birds, less malachite kingfishers this year, because, I think, of the lower water level. There were no black-headed herons this year, but well hundreds of great white and pink-backed pelicans attracted by the fishes trapped in the remaining pools of dry lake Manze. This year, I also noticed the great number of bee-eaters, in quantities and in species’ varieties.
  12. In a few days, I am off to Tanzania, guided by Craig Doria again, to sample all the different tsetse fly bites the various parks and reserves have to offer (Selous (Selous Impala Camp), Ruaha (Kwihala Camp), Katavi (Katavi Wildlife Camp) and an off-the-beaten path place near Lake Rukwa). Indeed, I will be swatting away at those little buggers, but there will be plenty of other things to look at, I am sure. Will report back.
  13. This is the title of an article of Nat Geo of the interview with Minister Nyalandu. I will quote large parts of the interview, which is available on the link below:
  14. Itinerary Ruaha- Kwihala Camp 7 nights Selous- Selous Impala Camp 4 nights Zanzibar- Unguja Lodge 3 nights, Dhow Palace 1 night This was my third visit each to Selous and Ruaha. So far Ruaha has been my favourite, as I’ve felt Ruaha has better and more diverse game viewing and some stunning scenery, plus very pleasantly low vehicle numbers. I visited Kwihala last year in June for 8 nights and loved it- as far as I’m concerned they’re doing everything right- focussing on the safari and the guiding but with a comfortable but not over the top luxurious camp which is small (6 tents) and has a great atmosphere, all at quite a reasonable price. I’ve struggled to find a camp I really like in Selous so this time decided to try Selous Impala which I’d heard good things about but have been put off before by their private dining policy. However, on this trip I was travelling with 2 friends so I thought this would be less of an issue. Although I haven’t felt Selous overall has as good game viewing as Ruaha, it does offer a contrasting environment, the chance to do river activities (especially good for birding)and some animals you can’t see in Ruaha or have a better chance of seeing in Selous (particularly wild dogs). So these were all the reasons for the 7-4 split in favour of Ruaha. Warning- this trip report contains Fatuous Naming of Big Cats from the outset.........
  15. We are absolutely delighted to announce that Selous River Camp has won the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the FOURTH YEAR RUNNING!!! We are extremely proud of this achievement, and would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all of the guests who took the time to review us on TripAdvisor. This from TripAdvisor: “The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Establishments awarded the Certificate of Excellence are located all over the world and represent the upper echelon of businesses listed on the website. "
  16. merops bullockoides photographed at a White Fronted Bee Eater colony on Rufiji River, Selous.
  17. In August I visited Selous Game Reserve for a few days. I saw a good number of lions, males and females of different prides, in interesting situations (five lionesses eating a cape buffalo, two couples mating). All male lions have blonde and small mane. Is this colour and the small size of the mane a characteristic of lions in this area of Tanzania? Or simply I saw sub adults... In this documentary about Selous male lions have always small mane: Thanks to all, Angelo
  18. Had a magical trip with Thomson Safari in East Africa! Getting ready to go back in February. Thought I would share with you guys some of the highlights. Amazing service, great guides and best of all they have their own permanent tents in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro! I highly advice traveling with them!
  19. We are planning a southern tanzania safari for November 2014. I'm pretty far along in the planning process and basically have an itinerary down but I am still wondering about a few things. Some background: spouse and I are pretty serious birders so birding is a key aspect of any trip we do--although of course mammals too! I'm a serious photographer (not pro) but do travel with SLRs and a big lens This will be our 2nd Tanzania trip; last February we did the Northern Circuit (usual Arusha NP, Manyara, Tarangire, Ndutu, Serengeti, Ngorongoro. We've also safaried in South Africa twice (Kruger and West Coast/Kgalagadi.) 16 days is really our max Mammal goal: wild dogs in Selous or Ruaha Bird goal: Carmine Bee-eater (and a myriad of others, but that's a most-wanted) Here is the itinerary we've worked out and we've gotten a price we can afford from a T.O.: arrival 1: DAR: Harbor View Hotel Day 2: Morgoro: Arc Hotel Birding Uluguru Mountains in Afternoon Day 3: morning in Uluguru; head to Mikumi, game viewing en route. Overnight Stanley Kopje Day 4: game viewing in Mikumi, overnight Stanley Kopje Day 5: Mikuki-->Selous overnight Lake Manze Days 6, 7 Lake Manze Days 8, 9 Selous Impala Days 10 Depart for Udzungwa Overnight Udzungwa Forest Camp (Hondo Hondo) Day 11 birding Udzungwa. Kilombero Flood Plains. Overnight Udzungwa Forest Camp Day 12 early morning birding/hike then depart for Iringa. Overnight Neema Crafts Guest House Day 13, Iringa --> Ruaha overnight Kwihala. Driver will depart back for DAR Day 14, 15, 16 Kwihala: all activities with their guides (will get private vehicle) Day 17 11:45 am flight back to DAR So here's my questions: 1. Does this seem like a workable itinerary? I know there are some long driving days but there is always birding and game en route. 2. Timing: we want to take advantage of low season rates, and leverage our Thanksgiving holiday (Nov. 27/28)--hence November. But we could go anytime from mid Nov through the end, or the last week of Nov through first week of Dec, or even leave towards the end of the month and into mid-ish Dec. I know the short rains come in Nov and it will get progressively hotter (also know you can't predict when they will come!) But generally speaking, which time period makes most sense? Also given that we will be birding and I really hope to get Carmine Bee-eater--not sure exactly when they arrive but somewhere I think I read November. any thoughts appreciated.
  20. If you want to see the astounding variety of Africa's birdlife there are few better countries than Tanzania. Our "Birding in Tanzania" brings together 3 of the best parks for birds. Great camps, great guides, great value
  21. 1) Name of property: Rufiji River Camp, Selous, Tanzania 2) Website address if known: 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known) Jan 2013, shoulder season September 2010, shoulder season 4) Length of stay: 3 nts 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? 2010 - The camp was completely rebuilt in 2010/2011 and so I wanted to see how it looked. 2013 – escorted a group there 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Direct, all efficiently handled 7) How many times have you been on Safari? Ah, it is too many. Approx 4 times a year since 1980 8) To which countries? Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Egypt, Oman, Yemen, India 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? Elepphant bedroom Camp, Samburu Mara Ngenche Camp, Maasai Mara 10) Was the property fenced? no 11) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? All tents are erected on cliff overlooking Rufiji river. Great views of the river, almost always hippos in water and antelope coming down to drink 12) How comfortable was the bed - were suitable amounts of blankets/duvets/pillows provided? No complaints, everything was comfortable and the plumbing worked well The rooms are huge with 2 double beds. 13) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Food was good but perhaps a bit uninspired. Foxes Safaris (who own this and other camps) have their own system for meals and menus which is a wee bit dated. Considering the heat the meals were too heavy, and who wants soups as a starter when it is 35 degrees? 14) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Breakfast was a mixture of self service (toast, cereals etc) and cooked stuff to order. Lunch was a set lunch and dinner had a choice of main course. 15) Can you choose where you eat, ie privately or with other guests, guides? Single tables or communal dining? We ate as a group in the dining room, but they seemed to be pretty flexible and would let couples or smaller groups put their tables where they wished. 16) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? Didn't use one 17) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. We had our own vehicles. The camp did have game drive vehicles 18) How many guests per row? Up to 3 19) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? It was our safari so they were as long as we wanted them to be 20) Are game drive times flexible: ie, if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, ie not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? Yes 21) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Selous has abundant wildlife but it is also a vast park so animals can be very spread out. Most of our time was spent by the river or one of the lakes. Birdlife is amazing. 22) How was the standard of guiding? On both visits I took a river boat trip. One was excellent, one was poor. 23) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? Yes, had very poor guide on one of our river trips. Reported it to management who pretty much fobbed it off. Wrote to Foxes who wrote back with platitudes but no received no indication of any action being taken. 24) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: n/a 25) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? They were OK, not as sharp as those in many other camps. 26) Trip report link: 27) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: Location by the river is great. The camp is also close to the airstrip so transfers are short. But it is located right at one corner of the park so game drives involve a lot of driving back and forth on the same stretch of road. 28) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. Rufiji River Camp, viewed from the river Rufiji River Camp, Guest tent
  22. Does anyone know what happened to the Lukula camp in Selous which was supposed to reopen in 2013? Old article from GPC seemed to take a very positive approach to the future of the area and the camp a while ago.
  23. The standard bush market value of ivory is US dollars 300 per kilo. READ MORE: We surely need to think of new sustainable ways to help villages surrounding these national parks and reserves:
  24. Some photos of the rare sighting of a Selous Mongoose family - taken during a night game drive in the Kwara area, Botswana, 2006.
  25. My first safari is coming up and I thought I'd tell you all my itinerary. We'll be going with my family (my parents, my girlfriend, my sister and her husband), a total group of 6. It'll be the first safari for 4 of us and the second one for my parents. The basic itinerary looks like this: - Flying in from Amsterdam to Dar es Salaam with 4 of our group - Spending the night in Dar es Salaam, hotel: Southern Sun - On to Sand Rivers in Selous for three nights - One night in Arusha, Onsea house, to meet up with the last two of the group - Three nights in Swala Camp in Tarangire - Two nights in the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge - Three nights in Dunia Camp, Serengeti - Another day at the Onsea house in Arusha - Back home Of course I am looking forward to the whole trip. I'll try to post a trip report with lots of pictures when we return. Taking pictures will be one of the main objectives for two of us.

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