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Trip to Selous and Ruaha , Adansonia paranoia !


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Can only add my appreciation to those shots.

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What can I add that hasn't been said? Not much but,


So many stunning shots. Loving your trip along with you, Africawild.

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Those aerials really give us an idea of the changing landscape and when you haven't visited this area, it really helps to envision it. The aerial with the baobabs I especially love.

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Your Selous aerial shots are other-world. I can relate to the Ruaha aerial shots because that's all I saw of it. It seems the river is the place to be in Selous. Looking forward to page 5.

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I can only agree with what's been said, a great report with superb photos. Looking forward to the next instalment.

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Thank you again everybody , i am glad you are enjoying the report , i must confess it is been fun also for me , it is bringing back memories and moments i had enjoyed so much!!!


We landed at Msembe airstrip after a quick stop in Jongomero and then something surreal happened, something I could not believe it was happening in real life and rather was like a dream !!! . I went around the plane and looked at the small luggage compartment just to find out that our 2 bags were not there :blink: !! I knew they were charged because I myself got one inside the compartment !!! So were had they gone ????


I was in shock , not because it was such a big deal but because how could it be possible to loose 2 bags in a domestic flight from Selous to Ruaha !!!! The pilot said that specific compartment was for the bags to Jongomeru !!! and then i told him why nobody asked me were we were flying ??? They just asked if we were flying to Ruaha ??? And of course i knew we were not going to Jongomeru .

Either way, it's just a story with a good ending, because someone from Coastal Aviation ( their fault i guess ) drove to Jongomeru to get the bags and by the time we came back from de afternoon drive they were at our tent :D


Our guide Jimmy from Mwagusi was waiting for us and about 15 minutes later we were in camp .


The location of the camp is great , right on the banks of the Mwagusi river. Not the usual camp look we are use to .It has high thatched roofs over the tents make with natural materials that make them cooler during the hot midday hours , and also make them integrate well in the dry landscape . They are spacious and open to the river with huge and comfortable verandas perfect to relax and enjoy the wildlife that wonders around and come to drink to the small pools in the sandy river.


Before the afternoon drive and after a good fresh meal we went to our tent and i enjoyed a huge troop of baboons that took about one hour to pass in front of our " banda " . They stopped to play , to drink , to fight and even to argue with some warthogs that were around .
























Then when most the troop had passed in front of our tent i noticed this guy who was limping noticeable .




Looking in detail I realized he had a hand fully missing and he only had one of the fingers on the other one !!! In spite of his difficulty to move his condition did not looked bad , so i I thought it must be a very brave individual to been able to go on like that . The MORAL ¡¡Never give up !!



Other smaller visitors










Of course many birds and some bigger visitors visited us in front of our tent , will post some photos when i edit them !


















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Whoa, Paco!! The aerials are sublime.


You and @@africapurohit have jointly launched the ST Baboon Fest as well :D Beautiful, sensitive images.

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This trip was not going to have those incredible sightings we had other trips like cheetahs hunting , lions mating or leopard cubs , but it did have some moments that were very special for us and we will never forget , like the skimmer flock at Nzarekera lake or this one i am about to tell .


Just minutes after leaving camp for our first drive in Ruaha our guide Jimmy scream " stop " . Mwagusi Camp vehicles have driver and guide ( which prove to be very effective during our stay ) so Jimmy was not driving . Casper ( who was driving ) stopped the car immediately and as i started to scan the trees around looking for the lion or the leopard , Jimmy stepped out of the vehicle , he crouched in front of the car to grab this









After ten safaris in Africa this was the first time we got the chance to see a chameleon and it was great . It was amazing how Jimmy could see the small creature walking in a road with the same color and then making stop the vehicle centimeters from him !!

Then he passed to me and i let him walk my arm back and force .

At that point I felt guilty for a second as i thought about the suitability of interacting with a wild creature, something that has been discussed frequently in this forum. But another second later a felt that we were not harming ,hurting or damaging the animal in any way so i relaxed and enjoyed !!!




After taking a few more pictures and video Jimmy took it and put it back across the road , in the place he said it was going to .








Amazing how it changed from a very light color while on the hand to a darker one when he was on the branch , ¡¡¡ what a creature !!!!




And then my Adansonia " paranoia " began !!!


Giraffe and Baobab ( Adansonia Digitata , i like the name )






We started driving the Mwagusi river and stopped to look at a group of impalas







While Jimmy was talking i noticed they were looking at the other side of the river and soon i could see why...






We crossed to the other side and found the lioness soon








We noticed a giraffe drinking very close and went to take a look . After the drink the giraffe started to approach the lioness , at one point they were within few meters and then the giraffe saw the enemy .

I could take some close shots of the head because the giraffe was so concentrated in the lioness that ignored us completely ,then started to ran .

We knew nothing was going to happen but it was fun to see the interaction . Jimmy said Ruaha lions are very good giraffe hunters but it takes at least 4 adult lioness to take down an adult giraffe.









Then the lioness started to move heading towards the river









When another vehicle arrived we left her and continue up the river . The light started to get warm an these impalas looked good under that light







Then we saw several elephant herds coming and going around the river with the last light of the day






We saw a male lion in the distance, a black dot seen under the palm tree on the right , in the last picture






More herds coming to drink and ... sunset !!!







Last moments of our first day in Ruaha !!








After our first drive I was sure we were going to love this place !!!






























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Whoa, Paco!! The aerials are sublime.


You and @@africapurohit have jointly launched the ST Baboon Fest as well :D Beautiful, sensitive images.

Thank you . Yes ,baboon festival !!! I thought the same when I saw Africapurohit last post !

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I think we've all had that nightmare about losing our luggage, glad you had it returned so promptly. I also love the baboon photos, lots of character.

The stand out for me is the chameleon, what a beautiful marking of skin. Amazing how the guides can spot these little creatures.


I also love baobab trees and asked Squack to show me some young trees in Meru. It took some looking for but he eventually found one quite spindly young one and one of about 30 or 40 years old where you could almost tell that it was a baobab. I think they are incredibly interesting trees.

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Wow. Stunning photography!

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Stunning shots from the air

I really like the baboon shots - the young ones playing - and your other small visitors!

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Beautiful photos @@africawild, thanks for sharing. The waters between Selous and Ruaha were certainly a bright green, and very eye-catching. I had always imagined that Iringa was a very small settlement but from your photo it looks to be a sizeable centre. Great baboon and warthog action photos, oh and the dwarf elephants and giraffe in the aerial shots lend an interesting perspective to the size of the area you were flying over.


Looking forward to more Ruaha adventures.

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I think we've all had that nightmare about losing our luggage, glad you had it returned so promptly. I also love the baboon photos, lots of character.

The stand out for me is the chameleon, what a beautiful marking of skin. Amazing how the guides can spot these little creatures.


I also love baobab trees and asked Squack to show me some young trees in Meru. It took some looking for but he eventually found one quite spindly young one and one of about 30 or 40 years old where you could almost tell that it was a baobab. I think they are incredibly interesting trees.


Funny, the Belgian couple with whom we shared the vehicle in Selous asked the guide every morning and every evening to try and find a young baobab, apparently they were unable to find one during there stay in Katavi and Ruaha.

I was sure our guide in Selous was not going to be able to find a young , small baobab tree ever , so i asked him every day to find the oldest and biggest in the Reserve ! ;)

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Our first full day in Ruaha started with baobab obsession again



Baobab and eagle






Baobab and elephant






Baobab and buffalos








Baobab flowers








Baobab forest






Baobab and clouds






Then a shy lesser kudu







And more baobabs with company










This little guy looked for his father´s protection








And this one runs for the protection of the herd






A Lizard with missing tail






Impalas having fun











After a few hours driving we reached the Ruaha river and found lots on animals drinking










In the afternoon Jimmy wanted to locate a well know leopard that fave some sausage tree but we only found this , i don´t know how he did it !!







We found some lions instead , eleven of them but doing what they best do. One of the lioness was using an eco pillow .











Elephants in the Mwagusi river






While heading back to camp i played with shutter speeds from the vehicle and found this " ghost " baobab to end our day





























Edited by africawild
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The Ghost Baobab … beautiful.

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Ok, I will just come out and say it: Your aerial shots are amongst the best I have ever seen. The rest are not too shabby either :rolleyes: .


Congratulations on your magnificent photos, Paco.

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How nice to wake up to this view first thing in the morning , while having a cup of coffee !!!






And then this view right out of camp !!!






We were driving up the Mwagusi river again this morning and we came upon this 2 bat ear foxes warming up with the first sun rays










A male lion and a lioness were in the river bed He was chasing her but she was not in the mood i guess !!! Well he was not that good looking and also he was so full of flies , maybe that was the reason !!!!















Soon they laid down so we decided to left them alone and try find something else . We then saw a vehicle looking towards these two baobab trees but we could not see anything .




Let´s see if you can spot something !!!























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I'm guessing a leopard as that's how we found them back in Sept. BUT more important your photos are so amazing; they are truly taking me back to my own Ruaha (with my iphone :)) ~~ and the baobabs...I had never seen so many!! Moli found me one after days of looking that was youngish; came about to my knee and was spindly and not very attractive; they sure do go from ugly ducklings to swans. Takes awhile :)


And Buffalo; herds of them everywhere...certainly lions in wait!


Even though I did not think Ruaha as ornately pretty as some concessions & reserves I had been in, I certainly formed an attachment to it. Possibly because it did give the feeling of true wildness and a connection I had never really felt anywhere else. Walking it did not give me the amt. of game and photos as you've captured, but I felt like I belonged there. Probably because I walked every inch of it around our camps!


Then again, I feel like I belong anywhere in Africa; quite happily!

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@@africawild what magnificent pix you have of the baobab trees! they are so beautiful.


you wouldn't need words to tell us about your trip, your awesome pictures convey just as much. love all the nursery pictures, the skimmers and the aerial shots. oh well, love all of the pix.

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Superb photography. High quality and so professional looking!
Enjoying this trip report greatly. :)

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Thanks again .







As Graceland guessed there was a leopard in one of the baobab








A young female very well know by the guides , she is very calm around vehicles and roams the same area almost always












While watching the leopard the driver writes all the sights we had so far , it is a rule in Mwagusi






Another vehicle arrives ( during our time with the leopard there were 3 vehicles at most ) so we decide to go on driving to find a good breakfast spot but first find a nice elephant family










And minutes later .... another female leopard but quite shy , after some calling ( maybe cubs ? ) she goes back to thick cover . At first we think is a male because of the big head but we can see is a female when she turns and heads to the bushes








Finally we find a great spot for breakfast at the Mwagusi river , with lots of animals coming to drink























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We spent the rest of the morning with a herd of buffalos and then go back to camp .


In the afternoon , after some birding from our tent we decided we wanted to go to the Kilimatonge hills , a good place for leopards , klipspringers and black eagles but just minutes after leaving camp and while looking at a male bushbuck we see two male dik dik about to start a fight .... and sure they do


Birding from our tent








And the fight !!!
















After a great time with them , we headed to the hills .


We see a lonely hippo in a small pool of the almost dry Mdonya river , then a small family of kudus but no leopards or klipspringers , just some black eagles flying very high .


The landscape around the rocky hills is very nice and we enjoy the drive overall

















The sunset today is not very spectacular but there is a very nice moon to end the day









Edited by africawild
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I've never seen a dik dik fight, how wonderful.

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