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Furaha in Ruaha (and Selous) Aug/Sept 2013


stokeygirl
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Sorry, just a correction- not Cookson's wildebeest but Nyasa. They look very like Cookson's, and I asked our guide if they were- he said yes. I looked it up when I got home as I thought it was odd and they're not they're Nyasa. But I wrote this report while out there and forgot to correct it.

 

Thank goodness @Paulo is on the ball.

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Birding wasn't just for the boat trips- here are some birds from the drives- lizard buzzard, black winged stilt, spoonbill.

 

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We visited a hyena den a couple of times and just managed to see a puppy coming out.

 

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Fantastic bird sightings - really active and untroubled by your presence.

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We had one leopard sighting, at a distance on a tree. It jumped down and we attempted to follow but lost it.

 

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@pault I have to say, I think the birding was the highlight of Selous. Some more to come.

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More birds- black winged stilt, little egret, African skimmer and painted snipe.

 

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A white crowned plover’s nest with one chick hatched and fluffy, another still wet in the nest and 2 unhatched eggs.

 

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Love the birds, just beautiful.

 

And of course I always get a flutter when I see a leopard in a tree, esp. if he/she decides to jump down! Must be the Leo in me.

i think you had a fantastic safari - they hyena pup was adorable. :)

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We had a couple of lion sightings, one fairly unexciting of 5 males sleeping. We watched them from a distance for a while as they seemed to be interested in some passing zebras, but the zebras were well aware of them and never came within striking distance. After the zebra had moved off we went in, but word had got out and there was quite a crowd of 6 or 7 vehicles. This was more vehicles than we'd ever seen in Ruaha, although still hardly in the Masai Mara league.

 

The second sighting was on our last full morning. Our guide spotted a lion, which turned out to be one of 4 lionesses sitting under a couple of trees. Again they seemed to be showing interest in nearby zebra and impala so we kept our distance and at one point they got up and looked like they might hunt. This time by coincidence, as the zebra hadn’t seen them, their potential prey was not quite on the right trajectory and they lay down again. We were going to leave them to have breakfast without approaching closely as they still might have been hunting, but another vehicle had arrived and ploughed on over to them so we went over for a quick look.

 

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After our breakfast close by near Lake Manze, we went to the lake shore to watch birds. We then found the lions approaching right through the spot we had just been enjoying our breakfast. Likely they’d been waiting for us to pack up and leave.

 

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They were moving purposefully and looked skinny, but first went down to the lake shore to watch some birds.

 

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They then skirted the lake shore and seemed to be stalking some impala, but then they all headed for the same spot and seemed interested in something on the ground. We’d seen some vultures in a tree and at that stage thought perhaps they were returning to a kill, although that didn’t figure as they were looking too lean to have left a kill.

 

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The next series of photos I feel needs a Rolf Harris voiceover- "can you tell what it is yet" (apologies- reference only for British people of a certain age..........)

 

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At that stage a large croc reared its head and a set of impala horns became visible. We moved in closer, and could see about 4 crocs with the dead impala. It now looked like it was their kill- probably the impala had got stuck in the mud. But the lions were hungry, and the bravest moved in and grabbed the impala. A brief tug of war ensued before the lion escaped victorious. With the crocs looking on the lions settled down to enjoy their ill gotten gains.

 

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Overall thoughts on Selous and Ruaha-

 

This trip confirmed my previous view that Ruaha is the better park for big game viewing. However, Selous is a very different environment and has some interesting game you might not see in Ruaha, and it does have some stunning birding, particularly on the water activities. So the two parks make a great contrasting combination. On the whole though, I think our 7-4 split was definitely the right choice. On the other hand, had we been lucky with the dogs I might be singing a different tune.

 

I did ask when’s the best time to see dogs and was told that green season in Selous is probably better. It seems the dogs are less keen these days to den in the main game viewing area, and if they do they don’t stay for long. The consensus seemed to be that the dogs that denned near Impala had moved due to too much disturbance.

 

On my last trip to Selous in Aug 2010, I did see dogs, but that year the dogs had denned and the puppies were killed by a python so at that point they were no longer denning as such.

 

I’m not going to write about Zanzibar, but Unguja Lodge was very nice. I did some scuba diving, saw a huge elephant shrew in the grounds, and had a relaxing time writing this report.

 

The End

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africapurohit

@@stokeygirl fantastic birds photos and I love the crocodile-lion interaction. To capture that interaction on land is rare and should be one of the highlights of the whole trip :)

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Dear Stokeygirl.

 

I can't wait to go to Ruaha next year. I love your photos. I'll be spending 5 days at Kwihala camp and five days walking with Moli.

 

 

Best regards.

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@@stokeygirl fantastic birds photos and I love the crocodile-lion interaction. To capture that interaction on land is rare and should be one of the highlights of the whole trip :)

 

It was- the build up to it was also fun, just trying to figure out what was going on- were the lions hunting? Looking for their kill?

 

But there were some highlights that weren't so easy to capture in a photograph. There was one spot in Ruaha, by the river where we were stopped just under some trees, and just looking around we could see elephants, giraffe, zebra, kudu, impala, banded mongoose, baboons. All just in one place. It was lovely.

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Thanks Stokeygirl

 

Only 3 weeks for our trip to Selous and Ruaha so It was very nice to go through your report and excellent photos !!!

 

Paco

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kittykat23uk

Great report! How was the diving? Did you get a pic of the elephant shrew?

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