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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Selous Game Reserve

Following on from Zanzibar, we took a light aircraft down to the Selous Game reserve in Southern Tanzania. The Selous is one of the largest reserves in all of Africa, although the northern section is the only part open to safari traffic. While the Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater in the North draw the largest crowds,  the Selous has a magic of its own. Wild and untamed, with areas that you can visit and not see another soul and with two large rivers snaking through. Safari experiences here tend to be both land and water based.

I found some of the game quite skittish and timid,  I suspect due to historical hunting further south. But at the same time, it felt wild and the scenery beautiful and very varied. Further North around Lake Manze the game is more concentrated (as well as the people), and we finally found our lions, who were more than happy to sprawl in the sun and be photographed. On the way back we had to wait for a herd of buffalo 300 strong to pass, hoofing up great clouds of dust. It was like something out of the wild west

I stayed at two wonderfully luxurious Serena properties,  Selous Luxury Camp and Mivomo River Lodge. Selous Luxury Camp falls in the category of what i like to call Pretend camping. This is popular in Africa - basically all mod cons, in this case down to rolltop baths and chandeliers and a hint of Out of Africa colonial charm - but with canvas walls for atmosphere. I did hear a very vocal hippo through my own set of canvasses.  Mivomo river lodge is perched dramatically on the river banks - alltogether less of a bush camp experience, huge suites with aircon, private terraces with plunge pools and outdoor showers overlooking the river.  Whilst enjoying a gourmet lunch we saw 30 or so elephants come down to drink on a distant shore.

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