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Before we went away on our trip we thoroughly enjoyed reading the various trip reports on Safaritalk, so I made a promise to myself that when we got back from our trip I would “return the favour” and write (or at least try and write) a trip report. So having persuaded J into providing technical support, loading the various photographs etc., here is our first attempt at a trip report.

Trip to Selous and Ruaha - November 2015

The itinerary, arranged by Matt at Imagine Africa worked beautifully.

8 days in the Selous (4 days at Lake Manze Camp and 4 days at Selous Impala Camp)

7 days in Ruaha (4 days at Mdonya Camp and 3 days at Kwihala Camp)

November is supposed to be the rainy season; however the rains were running a bit late and although we occasionally got rained on, most of the time was clear blue sky and very very hot – particularly over mid-day, but this is Africa and it is meant to be hot, and after the first couple of days we really did not notice.

Saturday 7th November

So today we head off to Tanzania, at long last. It has been months in the planning and waiting to get going. Mind you it has also given time for us to figure out how to get our luggage down to the weight limit of 15kg per person. Considering that the photographic gear and binoculars come close to 15kg on their own, this took some careful thought and planning, but in the end we ended up just over 16kg each (one lot of hand luggage each and one soft sided bag carrying all of our clothing, toiletries etc.).

Considering we needed to get round the M25, not the most reliable road in the world, we headed off early to Heathrow. Once we were near to the airport we went off to find a nice meal and relax for a bit, before going to the airport just in time to check in. We had booked a lounge at Heathrow, so we headed straight there and sat in comfortable seats, drinking tea and coffee and nibbling a few snacks (this lounge even offered free 10 minute spa treatments – which I took advantage of whilst waiting, a nice way to relax before getting on the flight).

Having eaten before we got on the flight we basically tried to sleep the flight to Nairobi away, and managed to get a least a bit of sleep before arriving.

 

Sunday 8th November

After a fairly long trip from London to Nairobi, we were a bit concerned as by the time we got off the plane as we were at least half an hour late arriving, and our transit time was a little tight. Despite being in transit you have to clear through various processes and we ended up rushing through the airport, and straight onto the plane to Dar Es Salaam. Looking out of the window of the plane, we could see the plane we had got off sitting next to us on the tarmac, although we had trotted round half the airport. We were at least comforted to see our hold luggage being loaded into our plane (at least it had made it this far with us). The flight from Nairobi flew over Kilimanjaro, and J had checked carefully to ensure that we were sitting on the right hand side of the plane, which gave some truly spectacular views of one of Africa’s iconic spots.

 

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At Dar Es Salaam an agent from Coastal was waiting as we exited the airport. We were swiftly transferred to the waiting room for Coastal. We could not see any place to get refreshments here, but at least we had one of the bottles of water that we had brought over from the flight to Dar Es Salaam. Coastal weighed our hold luggage and tagged it for where it was going, but never weighed the hand luggage.

 

After a short wait we followed our luggage out onto the tarmac and climbed into the small plane that would take us out to Selous. Looking out the windows we watched as the airport disappeared, and we flew over the roof tops of Dar Es Salaam (I wonder why so many of their roofs are painted such a bright blue) before heading out over the bush and on towards the Selous ( Siwandu Airstrip).

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Having landed safely, our transport was waiting and our luggage was swiftly loaded onto the vehicle and off we went. It was a fairly quick journey to Lake Manze Camp to get checked in and to arrive for lunch. Lake Manze Camp is a small tented camp set along the side of Lake Manze and all of the tents face the lake. It has twelve tents which are set out in a long line on either side of the reception / bar/ restaurant area. There is no power in any of the tents, but there is a charging station at the bar, which has plenty of plugs for anything you need to charge. We ended up being quite organised, taking chargers out on game drives so we could get the batteries charging as soon as we returned to the camp, rather than having to walk to and from our tents. The whole camp is an absolute haven for wildlife and there was always something around during the time we were here.

Shaun and Milli greeted us and explained the routine / safety information and then we were shown to our home for the next four nights.

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After lunch we sat on the “veranda” of our tent, listening to Africa, and watching as elephants crashed through the vegetation feeding as they went and impalas crept silently past heading down to the remnants of water that used to be Lake Manze and which at the time was a large dried out plain, with some lethal mud, and a little, very little bit of water.

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Having rested and organised ourselves, at 4.00pm we headed to the lounge and we went for a boat trip. Because of the lack of water in Lake Manze the boats had been moved to the nearby Lake Nzerakera which still had plenty of water. The weather was beautiful when we set out, but virtually as soon as we were out in the middle of the lake it started to rain, and then it started to rain more, and then it started to pour. On a boat there is nowhere to go to get out of the rain. So we just crouched over the cameras trying to ensure that they did not get too damp. The animals did not seem to mind – particularly the hippo’s and the crocodiles (not really that surprising I suppose) but some of the baboons looked a bit depressed in the rain.

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Anyway, after about half an hour the rain moved away leaving some wonderful light and particularly a lovely rainbow over the lake. The nice light meant we got some good shots of hippo, a small herd of buffalo, crocodiles and a small variety of birds. There were some lovely scenic shots of the sun going down, as we returned back to the shore, a little soggy but still happy. It was a lovely relaxing way to start our trip.

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Tonight we slept like logs – catching up on the missed sleep, but even so we were aware of the whoop, whoop of the hyenas which were clearly travelling through the camp. As first light began to come up, we woke to the noise of the bush, and to the vervet monkeys leaping onto the tent roof and seemingly sliding down it before leaping to the ground to start their morning excursions.

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~ @@Jaycees2012

 

Thank you so much for favoring us with such a nice trip report.

I like the style of your trip report, both the commentary and the images.

The aerial photographs are stunners — exactly as I like best!

Your image of Mt. Kilimanjaro from the air is terrific! It provides a clear perspective that I've never seen.

I've never seen Dar es Salaam, so greatly enjoyed your image.

I like the tent at Lake Manze, which was well-decorated by the staff.

Several great hippo shots as well as a nice sunset crocodiles image.

Your trip report is a welcome gift on a chilly morning!

Tom K.

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Great trip report and photos so far - looking forward to more.

You obviously had the same time flight as us when we went in late September.

We would also have had a great photo of Kilimanjaro on the flight in the clear morning sky , except we sat on the wrong side of the plane and the drinks trolley was blocking us in just as we flew past the mountain.

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Excellent start with really beautiful pics. Love the rainbow shot of course, and the Soggy Baboon with the Goose in the background is a super shot. Camp looks perfect! Really looking forward to this one. :-)

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@@Jaycees2012

 

As long as you were able to keep your gear dry… it looks like you had an opportunity for some unique shots in the rain.

 

Would love to hear your impression of Lake Manze vs. Impala. I was at the latter in September (almost went with Manze).

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Thanks for sharing your report- a great start and pictures. Your very first photograph of the summit of Killimanjaro shows the reality of the fast approaching end of the eternal snows- the glaciers look shrunk and tiny even compared to pictures from as recently as 2014.

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@@Tom Kellie

 

Thank you for your comments - we are hoping to get some more of the report for Lake Manze up this evening, and then the final bit of Manze and maybe a bit of Selous Impala by the end of next week. We are still sorting through the photos after that, but as it seems to be being well received we will keep going.

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@@Julian

 

Hi Julian - yes i read your post about being trapped on the wrong side of the plane when passing Kilimanjaro. It must have been incredibly frustrating. I suspect J would have been climbing over the back of the seats, or the drinks trolley. I was really glad we were on the right side of the plane because it was really spectacular.

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@@Safaridude

 

Hmm Lake Maze v Selous Impala

 

We have talked about this, and have pretty much agreed that we don't have a favourite - sorry!

 

Lake Manze - loved the location - there was always wildlife in the camp. Virtually the whole time we were there, there were elephants munching in the vegetation, every lunch time you could sit and watch the impala creeping down to get water, there were monkeys in the trees throughout the camp, hyenas visited almost nightly and sometimes were not far away during the day. There were giraffe who wandered down occasionally. This plus the normal small birds, including a rather nice barbet who visited on a regular basis.

 

We loved the meals all together - one table where everyone ate - much more friendly and nice to discuss with everyone else what you saw today. The staff were all really nice and willing to assist with whatever you needed, and we really liked the guide and driver that were assigned to us (we were lucky here and got a vehicle to ourselves).

 

The food was good and wholesome and there was plenty of it. The charging station had plenty of outlets, which meant there were no issues with electronic equipment. The tents and the beds were really comfortable, thank goodness for the fans though. We never had any problems with hot water.

 

 

Selous Impala - oh gosh we loved the river, as you will see when we get to the Selous Impala section of the trip report we had some fantastic sightings on the river journeys, and it also nice to see it from your room. The rooms themselves are slightly higher specification, although personally I found the bed a bit firm. Because the rooms are up on platforms it may be more comfortable for those who are nervous of camping in Africa. The single electric point in the tent made charging electrical kit easier, but not enough to make a difference, and I kind of missed the candlelight. The meals here are usually at separate tables for each room - not so good for sole travellers I would have thought, but the food is on another level - really very good (even if we found there too much of it). The staff here worked really hard, with even the waiting staff being much more forthcoming, and our guide Gerrard was simply exceptional - with a level of knowledge and skill that we have not come across before.

 

The two camps actually make a great joint trip, because the terrain and vegetation are actually quite different - with the area around Manze being much more open, and the terrain around Selous Impala being much more wooded, so that we saw animals in the Selous Impala area that we did not see in Manze and vice versa.

 

Chris

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Monday 9th November

 

This was our first full day on safari – so up before 6.00am, grabbing a cup of tea/coffee and a biscuit (the little doughnut like biscuits coated in icing sugar were absolutely delicious). Then we met our guide Joseph and driver Kamkumba, for the next four days, and we set out on our morning drive.

Morning drive; we started out driving round Lake Manze and seeing some of the normal game you expect including wildebeest, buffalo, zebras, greater kudus, baboons and impala, however it wasn’t long before we came across the first set of lions in Selous.

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These three female lions (we would see them again on several occasions whilst we were in Selous) were settled under a large tree. There was no male with them and we were told they effectively shared two males with another small pride. Later that morning we would find one of the males, who had found himself a hiding spot in the middle of a small group of palm trees (how Joseph spotted him I have no idea).

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The hippos around Lake Manze no longer looked like hippos and we nicknamed them “mud monsters” – they were simply so caked in mud that they dripped thick glutinous mud wherever they went and splodged through the mud as they moved.

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It was a bit early in the season for the southern carmine bee-eaters, but we did find these northern carmine bee-eaters, who were, “doing what they say on the label” and eating bees. Luckily they kept returning to the same spot so the vehicle could be positioned for good photos.

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After breakfast out in the bush we found the second male and part of the other small pride. The male was sitting with an older female, we were told she is lower in the pride hierarchy, and therefore had to eat last. It appeared he was waiting for her to finish the remains of a buffalo calf which the rest of the pride had already finished with. Once she had finished the two of them headed off to find the rest of the pride and we went with them. At one point we stopped ahead of where they were walking and they calmly carried on coming so close to the vehicle it would have been possible to reach out and touch them (not that we did of course).

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We have been to Africa on a number of occasions and love all the wildlife and are not squeamish about it. If you go to Africa you have to accept that predators eat prey – even the cute stuff (and on this trip we would certainly see plenty of prey being eaten) but this is probably one of the hardest and most amazing things we have ever seen:

We have heard before of mother lions catching live prey and handing it over to their youngsters so that they can learn about hunting but you don’t expect to see this actually happen. One of the adult lions in this pride, the mother or grandmother had caught a young zebra foal, and handed it over to the three juvenile cubs, alive. The cubs were clueless. They clearly knew that it was food, but they had no idea how to kill it. The zebra foal did everything it could do – it struggled to escape, kicking out with its hooves, rearing up – even managing to get to its feet on occasion before one or other of the cubs would clumsily bat it back down. At least once the zebra turned and bit one of the paws holding it down much to the shock of the cubs. We sat watching and hoping that the cubs would finally figure out how to kill the poor little thing, especially as one of the cubs effectively started eating without waiting for it to die, so that by the time we had to leave, its back end was bloody and raw and it was clear it would never get away. We did not go back after, but other guests confirmed that only the skeleton remained by the time they saw the lions.

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Just before we left the cubs and the zebra, the older lioness and lion turned up, and greeted the mother of the cubs who had been sitting away from the cubs but still close enough to keep a vague eye on them.

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On the way back to camp we stopped briefly where we had previously seen the older lioness and lion finishing the buffalo. There were a huge number of vultures gathered around the tree, fighting over some of the remaining scraps. However one white-backed vulture had managed to grab the calf head and was clearly pretty determined to hang on to it.

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After lunch we sat and watched the world go by – some little birds in the trees around and the impala’s creeping through the bush.

At 4.00pm we headed out for the afternoon game drive. Impalas are everywhere in the Selous, and they bound away from the vehicle with an effortless grace. However these two females were busy ensuring that they remained as spick and span as ever, grooming those bits for each other than even a flexible impala neck and long tongue cannot reach. They each took turns to groom the other impala’s nape and back of head.

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A pair of giraffes were considering mating but whilst he was raring to go, she clearly was not as much of an exhibitionist and demanded that they disappear into heavy cover for some privacy. The juvenile giraffe with them wandered around looking confused about what was going on.

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One of the birds we had hoped to see was the black heron (sometimes known as the black egret) or as the guides called it the “night and day bird”. This bird uses its wings to create an umbrella of shade, into which it ducks its head to allow it to see into the water. This behaviour was beautifully presented by the bird we found today.

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Other things seen on the afternoon drive included more giraffe, hippos, crocodiles and some vervet monkeys, and finally heading back to camp there was a lovely African sunset.

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Lake Manze use solar power to heat the hot water for the showers, and to power the fans (these are on a timer and run for about an hour before turning off – although you can turn them back on, which was just enough time to deal with the heat that remained and still let you hear the sounds of the night once they turned off). At night there are two storm lanterns, one at the front of the tent, and one in the bathroom area, which stay lit all night. Other than that you have candles in the tent which gives a lovely atmospheric appearance.

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One of the most wonderful things about camping in Africa is the sounds overnight. So tonight I wake in the middle of the night for a few minutes, and I lie there listening. I can hear the frogs and the cicadas humming and droning, and over that the whoop of the hyenas calling from each end of the camp. I can hear the occasional roar of a lion a long way off. I can also hear the sound of the elephants eating just a few meters away, and from the sounds I can imagine clearly the elephant reaching its trunk up and wrenching off one of the branches from the palm like trees (craaacckk / crash) and then a moment before it starts eating (crunch / crunch). I lie there listening imagining the scene when there comes the normal crack / crash of a branch and then suddenly a high pitched shriek and silence. In my mind I see the elephant’s trunk grasp a branch upon which a monkey is sleeping – and is suddenly rudely awakened as the trunk tears it away. For a couple of seconds there is silence and then a guilty eyed elephant continues with its midnight snack whilst the monkey moves grouchily off to find a higher branch to sleep on. And I, with a smile on my face fall back to sleep to the sounds of Africa (and J’s soft snoring).

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A muddier croc I have not seen. Mud monster is a perfect description.

 

How cool you got the black egret making an umbrella of its wings. It is even shown in that position in the Newman bird guide.

 

Your bee eater and lion cub kill shots are equally impressive. I can only hope it was a quick death for them both, but I would suspect the bee's suffering was less. "If you go to Africa you have to accept that predators eat prey – even the cute stuff" so true. One creature's cute is another's sustenance.

 

Lovely rainbow too.

 

Your framed, named photo format is highly appealing!

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Some excellent behavioural images. Enjoying the wit and humour in your photo captions too.

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Great batch of photos, and really like your writing style. The Hippo monster looks fearsome indeed. Watching that scene with the Zebra foal must have been painful but you captured a fascinating scene expertly. Super Bee-Eater photos!

Edited by michael-ibk
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If you felt compelled to "return the favor" with a great report, you have already succeeded - and you must just be getting started!

Loved the mud monsters and the bee-eater shots.

The cubs with the zebra foal make for a dramatic series which I'm sure was difficult to watch, but you have put it into perspective and done it justice.

Looking forward to more.

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Absolutely superb narration and photos. I love Selous, been there twice, camping at the shores of Lake Manze and Lake Tagalaga. Looking forward to the rest.

 

Cheers.

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Beautiful pictures!

 

Lion cubs with a zebra foal is just a heartbreaking scene.

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Tuesday 10th November

 

This morning – down at coffee/tea the bar manager asked if I was frightened of spiders. I looked a bit wary but acknowledged I was not frightened of them. At which point he produced a pint beer glass which contained a very substantial and very hairy looking spider – a baboon spider, which had been hiding in the bar area when he had been cleaning it out. It was fascinating and I called J to have a look (sorry no photo – not awake enough). Having drunk our tea/coffee we then headed out on our morning drive (today we were joined by Elliott – a trainee guide).

We had barely got out of the camp before we found a hyena (presumably one of those that had been whooping overnight). It had found a comfortable spot in a pool created by the overflow from one of the water pipes, and was not keen to move.

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We headed down towards the dried out lake and turned round a bush to find a very small elephant all on its own. It stared at us in shock, and then panicked, trumpeted and ran (too quick to photograph). A minute later, a larger, but still juvenile elephant came crashing out of the bush – glared at us, trumpeted and then charged off after the very small elephant. We all looked at each other and then burst out laughing.

After that we continued to the lake. We have never seen so many fish eagles in one place as we did in the Selous. Every time we were anywhere near a lake there seemed to be not just a single pair, but two, three or often even more pairs of fish eagles around as well as a number of juveniles. On this morning one of the pairs was sharing their lookout post with a large male baboon. Why he was up there we had no idea as there was nothing for him to eat.

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A decent sized herd of buffalo had come down to the lake to try and get a drink. Getting a drink at this time is a really dangerous trip. Because the lake had dried up so much, the buffalo had to make their way across the dried out lake bed, unfortunately some of it had effectively turned into quick mud, which would seize hold of unwary animals and refuse to release them – meaning that they either drowned in mud having sunk too deep, died of sheer exhaustion, or were found trapped by predators who welcomed the relatively easy meal. These buffalos though had been down to the lake and had successfully made it back (looking at their legs in the photos you can see how deep the mud was that they had to get through). Now they wondered what we were, and they lifted their heads scenting the air to make sure we weren’t planning to make a meal of them.

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Further round the lake we spotted a large herd of antelope – but they looked a bit big! We looked a bit harder and they were eland. Not just the one or two that you sometimes see, not even a dozen or so, but a really big herd of eland. On a rough count we reckoned more than eighty eland, all ages, all sizes and both sexes. Because they are so flighty we approached carefully, stopping at a distance, and they reasonably calmly continued their journey up from the lake bed before swiftly disappearing into the bush with barely a sound.

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We saw a lovely golden-tailed woodpecker and a very pretty little bee-eater. There were also more hippos down on the lake and an old female kudu stared at us from the top of her mound. A warthog was far too busy eating elephant dung to run away from us, and another hyena was too comfortable to move when we spotted it, only managing to move its eyes and head to make sure we remained in sight, until we moved away.

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Once again Joseph chose a lovely spot for breakfast, and we sat down to a substantial breakfast in the middle of the bush surrounded by Africa. The bush breakfasts were always substantial – Lake Manze’s consisted of fruit juice, sausage and bacon, boiled eggs, fruit, bread and tea or coffee. J particularly liked the mango jam that was on offer. It was set out on a fold-out table with camp chairs for each of us.

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After breakfast it was relatively quiet with just the usual creatures, but we did see more buffalo and some nice warthog. We also saw a lovely northern fiscal (although I still think of it as a fiscal shrike).

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Back at the camp the elephants were waiting to greet us. Lake Manze Camp has a “resident” elephant called Lagos, but whilst Lagos never appeared whilst we were there, he had obviously arranged for stand-ins, and it was rare for there not to be elephants somewhere around the camp, and for the nights we were there, close to our tent.

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After lunch and a bit of bird photography around the camp we headed out for our afternoon game drive. Other than the usual suspects we found some baboons, a striped kingfisher and little egret.

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Looking across Lake Nzerakera we could see a huge group of very large crocodiles. Clearly no small crocodiles were allowed at this party. We could see huge crocodiles lunging into the air, twisting and thrashing, with water flying up as they moved. Looking through the binoculars we could see that the crocodiles had surrounded a dead hippo. Joseph said that they would not have killed it but were just taking advantage of the hippo’s death. A crocodile would latch onto a piece of the hippo and would twist the flesh off, using its body weight to tear the meat from the carcass. Nearby the rest of the pod of hippos watched warily, but did not seem afraid – although it was noticeable that the larger hippos were facing the direction of the crocodiles with the smaller ones tucked behind.

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At the end of the afternoon we found the small pride with the two male lions, this was the pride we had previously seen with the zebra foal. The light was fading rapidly and they were clearly waking up and getting ready to go looking for some food. The sound of one of the lionesses scraping her claws through the bark of the tree making sure that they were nice and sharp is something that successfully intimidated us watching tourists and maybe even the guides as we suffered an RTA. With only two vehicles, both from Lake Manze our vehicle managed to back into the other one, whilst trying to get round another tree. The lions watched curiously, so it was probably not a good place to get out and exchange insurance details. No damage caused and finally we had to leave the lions so we could make it back to camp by the dusk curfew.

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Unfortunately a herd of elephants decided that they had right of way. This lovely group of some twenty elephants settled across the road, contentedly munching the vegetation, and creating an elephant road block – one of the best reasons for a traffic jam I can think of in any case. Once they finally moved on we drove as quickly as possible, but arrived back just a little tardy, to say the least.

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That evening a small genet came out of the bush whilst we were having dinner. On the way back to the tent our Masai guide pointed out a hyena sitting about twenty meters back in the bush, possibly the one we had seen first thing in the morning back in its favourite place. Overnight we could hear hyena whooping (not really surprising), and could hear the lions roaring. The elephants were crashing through the bush around the tent feeding all night but we slept like logs.

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Wednesday 11th November

 

Today we set out a little later as we were taking an all-day drive. We actually had breakfast in camp, which gave us a chance to see this morning’s understudy for Lagos and the crested barbet that hangs around the bar area at Lake Manze Camp, before heading out at just about 8.00am. Just outside the camp we saw some of the lesser striped swallows.

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We briefly visited the lake (mud) and saw more mud monsters (hippos), a maribou stork catching catfish in the ever disappearing water, and wildebeest picking their way through the mud to get a drink. Across the other side of the lake a small herd of elephant, along with their cattke egret guards were heading off into the distance. There were also some nice birds including blue-cheeked bee-eaters and a hammerkop.

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Now we headed away from Lake Manze, and we found our trio of female lions. They were hiding under some small shrubs, back from the road. Although they already had clearly full bellies they also had their next meal lined up, having caught a small buffalo calf (we suspect we had seen this calf the day before – when it had not been looking very well). Having caught it they had dragged it into as much shade as they could find, but had not yet started eating it.

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We had been told that the trip would probably be a bit quiet, and this proved to be the case. We did see some nice birds including white-throated bee-eater, lilac breasted roller and a crowned plover. We very briefly saw a bushbuck but it ran off before we could get a shot of it.

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The Selous Game Reserve is named after Londoner, Frederick Selous who lived here in the late 1800 early 1900’s. He was a hunter and explorer, as you would expect of the era. Selous (who was a Captain in the British Army) was killed in the Selous in the First World War by a German sniper. He chose to be buried in the place he had fallen in love with, and is buried out in the middle of this wonderful area. With today being remembrance day in the UK (and Tanzania having the somewhat dubious honour of being the country where the last shot of the First World War was fired) J had taken along a small cross with a poppy, which we left on Selous’ grave, in remembrance of all those who have died in Africa’s wars. From talking to others who visited the grave after us, it stayed there for at least a couple of weeks and made for some interesting discussions with their guides.

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After the grave site we continued to explore this new area of Selous. A little bee-eater sat beautifully in the sunshine, just above a spot where we could look down on the dry river bed of the Rufiji River. We watched as a small herd of elephants dug through the sand to get to the water below (you can see that one elephant is totally missing its tail – presumably lost a long time ago as it is healed over). One of the small elephants virtually had to climb into the hole before it could reach the water. You can see these holes all along the dried out river, and once the elephants have finished their drink many other animals make use of them.

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We headed on to Lake Tagalala where we saw some of the smallest warthogs we have ever seen. This family and their tiny little baby warthogs, had been down to the lake to get water and were now eager to get back to somewhere safer before something decided on a warthog lunch.

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At the lake we had our own lunch and had a look around the lake. We saw a variety of birds including pink backed pelicans, a spur-winged lapwing and her well camouflaged eggs, Kittlitz’s plover and a ring necked dove. There were also two male eland (interesting to note the really distinct colour difference of the older eland).

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J took some lovely panoramic shots of the view of the lake.

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Other animals in the woodland behind the lake including giraffe, and a really big herd of buffalo. We estimated the herd at some 500 animals although they were spread out among the trees, so it was difficult to see all of them.

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As it was a really hot day we popped in to visit the hot springs at Maji Moto. We had been told that the water was a bit scummy by other tourists and whilst some of the stream leading away was a bit icky, the actual pool seemed clear enough to us. It was lovely and refreshing to take a quick dip. Joseph and Elliott sat on the edge of the pool dangling their legs in the water, fascinated by the small waterproof camera that we took into the pool with us.

After the hot springs we headed back towards camp. We saw ground hornbill, giraffe, a group of five buffalo (dagga boys), all big old males who were not in the least wary of us. Coming back into Lake Manze Camp we saw four hyenas all very near the camp.

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There was another fabulous African sunset tonight. The genet made a very short visit at dinner time, but after that it was a quick bit of packing to make sure we were ready to move tomorrow, and an early night.

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Beautiful photographs and really well chosen - almost there with you on the game drives waiting for things to happen.

 

Great sightings too - more here than in almost any Selous report I have read over the years, and you're far from done yet.

 

And yes... those lapwing eggs are cool. The lapwings must have been going nuts at you though?

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A muddier croc I have not seen. Mud monster is a perfect description.

 

How cool you got the black egret making an umbrella of its wings. It is even shown in that position in the Newman bird guide.

 

Your bee eater and lion cub kill shots are equally impressive. I can only hope it was a quick death for them both, but I would suspect the bee's suffering was less. "If you go to Africa you have to accept that predators eat prey – even the cute stuff" so true. One creature's cute is another's sustenance.

 

Lovely rainbow too.

 

Your framed, named photo format is highly appealing!

 

Thanks for your comment - even the guides seemed to like our mud monster description!

 

I think it was probably fairly quick for the bees. The bee-eaters would shoot up into the sky and grab an insect before swooping back to the branch. They would then bash them against the brach sharply - making a noise like a woodpecker, before tossing them in the air and swallowing. I wasn't sure if the bashing was to knock wings and hard bits off or to kill or stun the bees. But the whole catch / bash / swallow only took a minute or two. The same can't be said for the zebra foal, who unfortunately suffered for far longer than it was comfortable to watch.

 

Chris

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Beautiful photographs and really well chosen - almost there with you on the game drives waiting for things to happen.

 

Great sightings too - more here than in almost any Selous report I have read over the years, and you're far from done yet.

 

And yes... those lapwing eggs are cool. The lapwings must have been going nuts at you though?

 

Glad you are enjoying the report - I think we did well in the Selous, and we would go back there like a shot.

 

The lapwing eggs hmmm - well that was a really a lucky shot. We were heading towards the lake, as we had driven up, a lapwing had trotted away from the vehicle (nothing unusual) and so we started watching hippos on the other side of the vehicle. After a couple of minutes we noticed the lapwing coming back, when she realised we had seen her she trotted away - but then she came back again. We guessed that she must have a nest close to where we were, so we leaned out, and after a bit of careful scanning identified the extremely well camouflaged eggs. We took a couple of quick shots and then carefully moved the vehicle away. Although she was hovering around, she never seemed to get over excited and certainly was not making any noise. As soon we moved away she moved back to the area where the eggs were and sat down (presumably on the eggs, but I can't swear to that because as soon we were more that a dozen meters away we could no longer pick the eggs out from the terrain).

 

Chris

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A muddier croc I have not seen. Mud monster is a perfect description.

 

How cool you got the black egret making an umbrella of its wings. It is even shown in that position in the Newman bird guide.

 

Your bee eater and lion cub kill shots are equally impressive. I can only hope it was a quick death for them both, but I would suspect the bee's suffering was less. "If you go to Africa you have to accept that predators eat prey – even the cute stuff" so true. One creature's cute is another's sustenance.

 

Lovely rainbow too.

 

Your framed, named photo format is highly appealing!

 

Thanks for your comment - even the guides seemed to like our mud monster description!

 

I think it was probably fairly quick for the bees. The bee-eaters would shoot up into the sky and grab an insect before swooping back to the branch. They would then bash them against the brach sharply - making a noise like a woodpecker, before tossing them in the air and swallowing. I wasn't sure if the bashing was to knock wings and hard bits off or to kill or stun the bees. But the whole catch / bash / swallow only took a minute or two. The same can't be said for the zebra foal, who unfortunately suffered for far longer than it was comfortable to watch. Perhaps shock set in. I hope so. A guy who was either trampled by elephants or attacked by a tiger (I forget which) survived and said the ordeal was not painful, more terribly disorienting.

 

Chris

 

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This is a wonderful report so far. Just beautiful photography. I especially love the shot of the two fish eagles in the tree with the baboon.

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