2 June 2014 - 12 June 2014 > 11 days
Travel report of our second safari. This time we visited the southern part of Tanzania.
Flight from Amsterdam to Dar Es Salaam
This year we're off to the South of Tanzania. We are going over land again, starting at Selous Game Reserve. Then a day-trek to the Sanje Waterfalls at Udzungwa Mountains, 3 days Ruaha and a short visit to Mikumi National Park on our way to the airport.
First thing we notice is that the Julius Nyerere airport near Dar es Salaam is much bigger than Kilimanjaro Airport. After we filled in the paperwork and paid for the visa and have our fingerprints taken, we are off to meet our driver-guide Rajab.
We stay at the Sapphire hotel and head up to the roof terrace to get a drink. The bar is closed, probably because just started again yesterday after the rainy season. We take in the sounds and smells of Africa and go to sleep, looking forward to our South-circuit safari.
Drive to Selous River Camp (in Selous Game Reserve) and in the afternoon a boot ride.
Today we drive to Selous Game Reserve. It's only 230 km but the last 100 km are rough road so it takes 6 hours to get there. We like driving over land on our safaris as there is plenty to see. You get a glimpse not only of the game reserves but also of how people in Tanzania live.
Early afternoon we check in at Selous River Camp. It's a very lovely camp with an excellent view of the Rifiji river at sunset.
At 16:00 we head out for our boat ride on the Rifiji River. It's very different from a game drive but just as great. We get close to large groups of Hippo, a very big Crocodile and some smaller ones. And we see lots of birds. In hindsight, this is when our love for birds started for real.
After a while we head back to the starting point and enjoy the amazing sunset. It's very tranquil and there is a huge sense of relaxation, to just enjoy the moment and think of nothing else.
Full day game drive through Selous Game Reserve
Today we go looking for African wild dogs. They are an endangered species and Selous is one of their strongholds in Tanzania. We do not find the dogs but see lots of other animals and birds. There are some swampy areas in Selous where you find lots of waterbirds. We saw Sacred Ibis, Open-billed Stork, Egyptian Goose, Cattle Egret and Hooded Vultures.
We saw Greater Kudu, beautiful antelope, especially the males. And lots of pretty Waterbuck and Impala.
The day ends with another beautiful sunset at the campfire of Selous River Camp and a delicious diner.
Walking safari and in the afternoon drive to Sable Mountain Lodge en visit school and hospital.
Today we get up real early for a walking safari. It's outside the reserve so chances of running into lion and other big game are small. Nevertheless we do have an armed ranger with us as elephants and buffalo do roam this area once in a while.
The guide showed us a lot of small creatures like Safari ants. Don't underestimate these ants, when they bite you they don't let go and you have to kill them to get them off you. And their bite hurts.
We found a huge termite mound. We thought the termites lived in the mound but the mound actually serves as a ventilation system for the underground nest.
After the walk we head to Sable Mountain Lodge on the other side of Selous Game reserve. We have a busy day as a visit to a local school and hospital are planned in Kisaki Village.
Seeing the state of the school and the hospital. We brought footballs and spring ropes and lots of pens and crayons for the school. And solar-powered lighting for the hospital. At home this seemed like a great idea, inspired by Pack for a Purpose. Now we were not so sure. We should have bought the stuff locally or give money to let them buy what they need locally.
And then ... car trouble! The manager of the lodge accompanied us to the school and called for one of the lodge cars to pick us up. After the visit to the hospital, when it was already dark, we got a flat tire. We didn't have the right equipment to change the tire so the manager called someone in the village to bring some tools. We waited in the dark and it gets really dark in the countryside of Africa. No street lamps, no light from villages, just the light from our phones. And the eerie cry of bushbabies.
Diner tasted so delicious after such an eventful day!
Travelday to Udzungwa Mountains.
Overnight the safari-company brought a new car because there was no quick repair for the first car. After watching the sun rise and a lovely breakfast, we head out for a day of travel to Udzungwa Mountains.
There is a lot of rough road and we're surprised at the traffic rules. Apparently cars have priority over people and bikes. Bicycles loaded with sugar cane drive, and sometimes almost fall, to the side of the road so the car can drive through without reducing speed.
Late afternoon we arrive at Udzungwa Forest Lodge, also known as Hondo Hondo. We were supposed to visit another school here, but the holiday already started so we leave the suitcases with foot balls, pens and crayons at the lodge.
In the evening we had a terrific meal, tempura vegetables and we decide to take the chef home with us!
Hike to Sanje Falls, in the afternoon staying in the garden at Hondo Hondo.
Today we are going to hike to the Sanje Falls. First we walk to the viewpoint halfway to have a spectacular view of the falls. At the top of the falls you can see the flat rock, that's where we are headed next.
On our way up we saw the Iringa Red Colobus, an endemic monkey. Our guide told us a lot of information about the plants and trees. When you crush the leaves of one specific tree, it turns red and can be used as lipstick.
At the top we had a well deserved break. The trail is well maintained but it's a bit slippery here and there and sometimes a bit steep. The view from the top is amazing, especially with the sound of the water falling.
Going down we had to make a choice, walk down to the base or go back to the car. As my knees were hurting a bit I was leaning towards going back, but fortunately the guide said it was wordt it to walk a little further and we could take as much time as we wanted.
I'm glad we did as the bottom of the falls is well worth a visit too.
The afternoon we spent at Hondo Hondo, making good use if their garden drinking wine and taking pictures of birds and butterflies.
Travelday to Ruaha National Park (with game drive entering the park)
Today we travel to Ruaha National Park. It's a long drive but to us it is well worth it. The villages and the people in Tanzania are very colorful and there is a lot to see.
Driving the bumpy road is called a free african massage and truth is, you can fall asleep real easy, especially on the long never-ending road to the park itself.
After an en-route game drive we checked in at Ruaha River Lodge. The lodge is built around natural kopjes next to a bend in the great Ruaha river. It's a superb spot for a sundowner. You can see hippo in the river and sometimes elephant, waterbuck and giraffe.
The chalet was a bit luxurious for our taste but the view from the veranda makes up for that, truly spectacular! I could stay here forever.
Full day game drive in Ruaha National Park
It's still dark outside when we get a wake-up call with coffee. Sunrise is very different from Holland. Here one minute it's dark en the next minute it's light.
After coffee we head up to the dining area on the Kopje for breakfast. We are welcomed by lots of Rock Hyraxes. We noticed them yesterday and they are beyond cute. And very photogenic.
Today we have a full-day game drive scheduled. Ad we leave camp we see a Serval crossing the road. We were too slow with our camera so you can just see a glimpse of it in the picture.
Ruaha is a beautiful park, with lots of Boabab trees and kopjes. We encounter two young male giraffes. They are necking or neck wrestling, to test who is the strongest.
We drive around slowly and fully enjoy being here. We see lots of birds and mammals but it's the scenery that makes Ruaha so special. There are no other cars around and we only hear the noises of nature.
After lunch in the bush we drive around some more. When we cross a bridge there is a large elephant down the river. It's not looking happy, making threatening sounds and flapping his ears. Two people are walking towards us to get a better look at the elephant. Our guide gives them a firm warning and asks if they have a death wish. There were lions just around the corner but they don't seem to understand the danger.
After diner at the lodge, a Common Genet visits the dining area to eat some of the leftovers. We tried to take pictures but it's pretty dark so they are very grainy.
A morning (and afternoon) game drive in Ruaha National park
Today we have another full day in Ruaha. It feels very relaxed to stay longer in the same place. On our morning game drive we finally get good pictures of Dikdik, one of our favorite mammals!
Again the scenery is beautiful. Hills dotted with Boabab and elephant, the Great Ruaha River where we see lots of bird like the Lilac-breasted Roller, Grey-crowned Crane, Go-away bird, bee-eaters and a Fish-Eagle.
Today we have lunch at the lodge and time to relax and wander around the camp. The view from the bar area is perfect. The river, the animals and birds that come to drink, the mountains and the Hyraxes of course!
This afternoon we have another game drive, looking for leopard, which we do not find. There are lots around but they are very elusive so difficult to find. The search in itself is exiting, and sometimes you are rewarded with finding the animal and other times your not.
Travelday to Angalia Tented Camp (just outside Mikumi National Park).
Today it's time to leave Ruaha National Park. We have another long day on the road to Mikumi. There is lots to see and we doze off from time to time.
In the evening we arrive at Angalia Tented Camp. It's just outside the National Park. It's too late to visit the park so we relax a bit at the camp.
At diner our guide gave us a bottle of wine. He was supposed to give us the bottle for the boat ride on the first day but forgot. Of course we thanked him but secretly were happy that we already ordered a bottle of wine because his wine was very sweet.
Although we were the only guest that evening at Angalia, a campfire was set up for us. We enjoyed the last of our wine and our last evening in Tanzania with the Masai guide of the camp and were kind of sad that we had to go home. Time really flies when you're on safari.
Morning game drive in Mikumi and in the afternoon to Dar es Salaam for our flight home.
Today's schedule is an early morning drive in Mikumi National Park and after that back to Dar es Salaam for our night flight back to The Netherlands.
Although a short morning drive doesn't do Mikumi justice, it was a beautiful game drive. We saw a family of Southern Ground Hornbills, elephant, warthog, a large herd of giraffes, a couple of black-backed Jackal and a beautiful red bird.
On our way to Dar we stopped several times so our guide could buy large bags of charcoal, tomatoes and other stuff. With a stopover at his place where we were welcomed with fresh fruits and roasted chicken we headed for the airport and said our goodbyes.
But not for long we promised ourselves. This second safari proved to be as good as the first one and wouldn't be our last.