From our camp in the northern side of Selous Game Reserve we passed a number of lakes, or what would have usually been lakes anyway. We’d come to the reserve in the middle of the dry season and although the ‘lakes’ may have been lacking in actual water they still attracted a host of wildlife to their location.
A large herd of elephants passed across what would have been the deepest point while hippos nearby made the most of any small puddle of remaining water they could find. We even came head on with three very large, powerful looking buffaloes emerging from between the trees at the non-existent waters edge.
These sighting were all just a warm up for where we were heading next. We’d been looking forward to second half of our time in the game reserve since we booked it a few weeks before, two nights in Selous Mbega Camp right on the edge of the Rufiji River.
As we were guided into the campsite it immediately became clear we had made a very good choice. The site was made up of small pathways leading between the trees and just as described, right on the waters edge. Our raised up room was a decent size and instantly became my favourite accommodation of the trip. Not only did it look cool as hell but was surrounded by trees and completely private but what really made it the best? we over looked the river and had a clear view of hippos bobbing up and down on the rivers surface. Forget being stuck in a car all day looking for wildlife, hear it was outside our bedroom door.
Waking up here is one of my favourite memories of our time in Tanzania, the river was stunning but the wildlife on our doorstep was unreal. We had monkeys feeding in the trees above our hut (often on the roof) and 2ft+ long nile monitor lizards walking past our door and this was before we even got on a boat which was meant to be the main attraction of this part of the reserve.
Before that though we joined a walking safari in the surrounding bush. This was a nice chance to get out on foot and actually do some exercise after a few days in the back of a 4×4. Our guide was great and very knowledgeable about the smaller creepy crawlies that also call this part of the world home. Despite the main interest of course being the big five and other larger animals it was interesting to learn the part of the smaller creatures amongst the trees and how they too fight to survive.
A sunset boat safari turned out to be more for the bird watchers than the ‘I want to see a croc snapping at the boat’ crowd but we did get to see a young crocodile sitting by the waters edge as we looked around frantically trying to spot mum but unfortunately she was nowhere to be seen.
As we thought our time on the water was coming to an end we carried on back past the camp and was treated to the end of the sunset on the water surrounded by hippos. The hippos or the sunset alone would have been a fitting enough end to our time but together they made it just perfect.
Selous Game Reserve proved to be a very relaxing safari experience compared to the northern circuit and well worth a visit in it’s own right. The other parks are obviously very famous for a reason but if you find yourself in Tanzania for a longer period of time it’s well worth considering the journey south to Selous. Even just a couple of nights relaxing at the riverside camp is more than worth the effort to get there.
Have you been to Selous Game Reserve or on a boat safari that we should know about?