Selous Game Reserve safari
Selous Game Reserve proved to be the perfect spot for our first safari experience. Our game drives out into the reserve were truly the highlight of our holiday so thought they deserved their own post. I’ve already written about our scenic flight into the reserve and about the amazing luxury tent we stayed in at the Serena Selous Camp in my review.
Our first full day game drive gave me chance to put my new Olympus Pen and 75-300mm lens to the test and instead of me writing endlessly in this post I thought it would be best to let the photos do the majority of the talking as it’s the first time I am genuinely proud of some of the shots I have taken.
The Selous is one of the largest Game reserves in Africa and is home to almost all of the top 5, due to poaching Rhino are notoriously hard to spot and even our guide Sayedi who had been working in the reserve for over 5 years had never seen one. We were quite content with seeing everything else and felt so lucky and privelledged to have such an amazing experience. I also loved the fact that the reserve didn’t feel overcrowded or that we had had to share our game drives with other people, somehow we managed to be on a private safari each day. The beauty of the Selous is that the landscape and terrain is very varied unlike the Serengeti so the game is slightly harder to spot but we were very lucky with what we did see; hundreds of hippo, crocodile, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, impala and water buffalo. Plenty of baboons, warthogs and kudu, four different lion prides including one with a kill.
By our second day we were desperate to see our favourite, elephants and became a bit upset that we hadn’t seen any yet especially after hearing stories from other guests about the herd of elephant they had encountered earlier that day. Our patience was to be rewarded and barely 20 minutes from the camp on our second full day we were treated to a rather spectacular sight of a young mother elephant and her baby just 1 car lengths distance from our truck.
Sayedi did his beast to find us some more elephants over the next two days but it wasn’t until our final drive to the airstrip that we saw a larger herd, they were too far away to take decent pictures but beautiful just to enjoy and watch and reminded us of the plight these beautiful animals face because of the price of ivory. Selous Game Reserve has lost almost 80% of it’s elephant population due to poaching and measure are being ramped up to ensure the protection of the elephants in the Selous. The Unesco World Heritage site is now on the list of those in danger in order to ensure a decline in poaching in the area, during our game drives it was heartening to see several ranger trucks out every day covering every square inch of the reserve to protect the animals but a stark reminder of the real danger both they and the animals face in order to stop the poachers.
One of the most unusual things about being in the Selous is the opportunity for different safari experiences such as; visits to the hot springs, boat and walking safaris. We were very excited about the prospect of a boat safari, especially after Sayedi casually mentioned a leopard had been spotted by the river just a day earlier. With our expectations high we started the boat safari at sister property Selous Rufji River Camp, it was of course amazing to be so close to hippos and crocs but nothing could have prepared us for the sheer numbers we would see in the Rufji River. They were everywhere, hundreds of them and probably many more that could see us but were remaining hidden from our view underwater.
We didn’t see a leopard in the end but felt content knowing that we had already seen some of the most amazing animals in their natural habitat and amongst the backdrop of the stunning Tanzanin landscape. I am already imagining our next safari and where we will go as I wouldn’t want to spoil the memories we have made in the Selous already but would love to experience another African safari in the future.
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