Selous in February

Southern Tanzania

Mar 13 2012 Written by:Rob Barbour

Spending 3 days in the Selous Game Reserve in Southern Tanzania is always a pleasure but no more so than in February after the short “mango ripening” rains have stopped and before the towering Cumulo Nimbus clouds that signify the coming of the torrential thunderstorms of the long rains.  The rivers and lakes have ample water and the short green grass and foliage of the  predominantly miombo/ acacia/ terminalia wood land supports an abundance of birdlife and mammals. It was a particular pleasure to stay at arguably one of  East Africa’s best lodges, Beho Beho, with some clients from Muscat in Oman who had never traveled to Africa before.

The Selous is one of the largest protected areas in Africa and has a primeval feel – the lifeblood of the northern part of the Reserve being the mighty Rufiji River and its network of flood channels, sand rivers and lakes.  Beho Beho is tucked up in the north west corner of the park and has a wide range to terrain to explore and at this time of year we were lucky enough to see only one other vehicle on our travels.

The wide range of activities kept us all busy and active.  Afternoon walks – guided by Ian, Walter and Onesmo were always interesting and informative.  Walks lasted no  more than 3 hours and took us passed hippo pools and calmly browsing bull elephant.  The calm and professional attention of the guides insured that my first time to Africa travelers were always comfortable.  Inevitably we would end up at some scenic spot to watch the sun going down over a landscape that can be captivating at any time of day.

A bush breakfast in the shores of Lake Tagalala followed by boat safari across the lake was one of the highlights.  Lake Tagalala is incredibly rich in fish and supports perhaps the highest concentration of Nile Crocodile than any body of water, as well a huge variety of birdlife, not to mention several pods of hippo. The day was capped off by soaking in the hot springs that bubble out of the hills before returning to camp for a late lunch and a swim in the refreshing Beho Beho pool. I don’t think we ate a meal in the same place for the whole time we were there and the food at Beho Beho is as good as I have had on any safari.  Of course we saw a vast array of wildlife including lion, elephant, vast herds of Cape Buffalo, Maasai Giraffe and Nyasa Wilderbeest.  Our search for wild dog (which had been sited recently)  was unsuccessful however just the process of the search was enjoyable enough as we were constantly closely escorted by large flights of colourful Northern Carmine Bee Eaters that would use the movement of the vehicle to flush out tasty grasshoppers which were caught in flight.

I was delighted that even this short journey to the Selous allowed some first time visitors to develop a deep appreciation and passion for Africa and to feel moved enough to express a strong desire to return soon. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.