After our trip to Serengeti in my last blog, we then travelled to the Selous Park for the next part of our trip. This started with the 150km drive back to Mwanza, a flight to Dar es Salaam, minibus to Dar train station (a wreck of a place) and onto the train to Kisaki. This train actually travels twice a week all the way to Kapiri Mposhi, in Zambia, and takes 2 days.
Our trip should have been a 4 hour trip, but mechanical problems added 2 hours to the trip, so we arrived late at night, tired and hungry.
A quick drive to Sable Mountain Lodge, and dinner, and bed was all we could manage.
Due to the remote location, and the bandas are spread out, a guard with gun had to escort us to our banda.
Next morning, we woke with the dawn, and opened the curtain (no door) to the front of our banda, and WOW!
The bath was outside on a high balcony with the most incredible view
After a later start we set off for a game drive in the Selous Park.
We were met by a troop of baboons as we entered the park, and continued to see many animals on our drive.
And lots of birds:
We stopped for lunch by a large lake, and then took a boat trip amongst the hippos and crocodiles.
We were warned about flying fish, and sure enough, one tried 3 times, and eventually leapt into our boat. We saw mother and baby hippos on the banks and lots of crocs.
We then had a quick look at the ‘Bush Rover’ Land Rover Tent, which another couple we met in camp were staying in here overnight. The spiral stairs lead to a bedroom with balcony.
This must be rather exciting, but noisy at night with all of the wildlife.
Fed and watered, we set off driving again, and were lucky enough to meet some kudu, which are normally very shy, plus many more animals and birds.
Eventually, worn out from our ‘African massage’ of a drive, and nearing park closing time, we speedily drove back to camp.
The next morning, as I started getting up, I heard noises above our tent in the banda, and as I went (outside the tent, but under the roof) to the toilet, a bushbaby (galago) ran across the top of the wall!
Sadly, he didn’t stay for a photo shot.
It was another early start, setting back out for a dawn game drive before breakfast.
We saw a lot of zebra, impala and giraffe, and a tree full of black and white colobus monkeys.
Back to camp for breakfast and a lazy morning, then after lunch we set out for a visit to a nearby Masai village, but first we walked down to the tree-house that overlooks the watering hole the camp built, but no wildlife was around. The watering hole takes the water from the camps swimming pool every 3 days, which is drawn fresh from a spring and contains no chemicals.
On route we came across 4 male elephants bathing in a mud hole they had dug right next to the road.
The Masai village was interesting. The chief had 3 wives, the second of which is a teacher in their school, and she has insisted he have a brick built house (with solar panel and satellite dish), but other villagers still live in mud and coconut leaf huts.
They showed us the trees they grow and explained their medicinal uses, and then laid out goods they had made for us to buy. The Masai always wear their traditional clothing and the men are allowed to carry their knives in public – we saw a lot of Masai security guards on our later travel.
We called in at the train station and village where we had arrived, people were waiting for the return train, as they only run twice a week, and it was running several hours late.
On the road back to the camp, we stopped to see some hornbills, when Mbasha noticed a tree full of black and white colobus monkeys, who then leapt from the trees.
The following morning we had a dawn walking safari, again with an armed guard. Nothing was at the watering hole, but we saw warthog, about 20 water buffalo, and other quick sightings. We also saw some bones from an elephant that was poached for its tusks a few years earlier, and footprints from civet cats, hyena and lions, all only a couple of hundred metres from our lodges.
We walked back uphill to join the river that runs below our camp.
Sadly this was the end of our time in Selous, as we prepared to set off for Zanzibar – keep watching for the next installment.
But not before one last bit of excitement. We were sat in the back of the jeep, and I dropped a water bottle. Mbasha started turning around to pick it up, and stopped, so Ian said he would jump down and fetch it, when Mbasha shouted NO!.
There was a black mamba on the side of the road.
A lucky escape, and we carried on to Zanzibar.