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Lakes, Baobabs, Falls and Islands - Green Season in Southern Tanzania


michael-ibk

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Treepol

Beautiful Kingfisher photos, and the ele sequence is good fun. It took me a while to work out the photo of the raised foot and toe-nails.

 

 

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The world has changed. But two months everything was still good - it was "before". Corona was just some obscure thing happening on the other side of the world, and we did not think twice about going o

I have talked about the risk of rain. Well - it´s the rainy season. And this has been an extreme rainy season so far with an unprecedented amount of precipitation. Flash floods caused major damage to

So off we where about 1600 in the afternoon, our last drive in the Selous. The roads were still incredibly tricky to maneuvre, and I can only admire our skilled driver Abuu - what a tought job this gu

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Excellent start to your adventure @michael-ibk your photos show the beauty of Selous really well.

 

Where did you have your Wild Dog sighting, was it towards the Beho Beho region?

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Atdahl

Wow @michael-ibk, you had me hooked with your great intro but I'm reading every post because of the great photos.  Can't wait to see what comes next.

 

Alan

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Caracal
11 hours ago, michael-ibk said:

We saw a fair number of Wildebeest but unlike their brethren in the Serengeti/Mara ecosystem they are not very relaxed and tend to run off.

 

That comment was ringing bells with me and on checking I see I wrote an entry on 29 July 2000 saying wildebeest were "shy & difficult to get close to."

That was a memorable day of my only trip to Selous as that afternoon we saw dogs denning.

Thoroughly enjoying following this TR.

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Safaridude

@michael-ibk, @inyathi

 

With respect to the zebras in the Selous...

 

As discussed, Crawshay's zebra (E.q. crawshaii) can be distinguished by the narrow stripes that are set close to each other, as opposed to Grant's zebra (E.q. boehmi) (Kingdon considers Grant's zebra as a subset of Boehm's zebra... I know, taxonomy is sometimes needlessly complicated.), which has broad stripes that are set well apart from each other.  Apparently, it is much more than just a matter of morphological triviality, as there are significant differences in dentition between the two subspecies.

 

In Kingdon's African Mammals, he, perhaps out of convenience, draws a line at the Rufiji River (with Grant's zebra to the north of it and Crawshay's zebra to the south).  This brings another level of complication, because the Selous is divided by the Rufiji (the "tourist" section belonging to the north of the Rufiji).  So, if you go straight by Kingdon's book, the zebras in the photographic tourism sector of the Selous would be Grant's.

 

In reality, (again, I think Kingdon used the Rufiji River as the demarcation line only for the sake of convenience) the Udzungwa Mountain range, which lies between Ruaha and Selous, is probably the most significant geographical barrier that separated certain terrestrial mammal species in the past (as an example, it divided sable antelope into two subspecies).  Some zebras who may have gone around the mountain range may have formed hybrid populations (as Kingdon acknowledges).  There are so many examples of such hybridizations (for example, there is a substantial reticulated/Maasai giraffe hybrid population in Tsavo East) that "subspeciation" can often never be decisive.

 

All of my zebra photos from Ruaha suggest that they are more Grant's than Crawshay's (I say this because the stripes are wide, though set slightly closer to each other than pure Grant's).  And all of my zebra photos from Selous, as well as yours in this TR, suggest that they are very much Crawshay's.

 

I suggest an extended expedition (maybe a couple of years in order to get sufficient samples) to southern Tanzania to study their dentition.  :lol:

 

Edited by Safaridude
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kilopascal

😏 Ahem. Missing this report with morning coffee!  But I do hope everything is okay and that you are just editing those beautiful photos. 

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michael-ibk

Many thanks everybody - especially to @Safaridude for enlightening us about the Zebra subspecies. I will try very hard to get a better look at the teeth next time, promise. ;)

 

On 4/20/2020 at 3:04 AM, mopsy said:

Where did you have your Wild Dog sighting, was it towards the Beho Beho region?

 

No, the other way - this was again quite close to Mtemere in the East, somewhere between Impala Camp and the airstrip.

 

404208375_TR1134_Selous.JPG.ec86815027d5ad23d9103a3afe8d284c.JPG

 

2144084825_TR1141_Selous.JPG.825cefc6d757a9c09893f91e5dc956bd.JPG

 

The next day it was still raining a bit. After battling through the muddy tracks the day before we had little desire to go back on the road so opted for the boat again. At first it was quite overcast but the rain stopped and we had a couple of nice birds.

 

1591024204_TR1133_Selous_BlackCrake_(Schwarzkielralle).JPG.5ead3af2109b9f2b3d37a1b9c78a4487.JPG

 

Black Crake

 

996461014_TR1165_Selous_Red-NeckedFalcon_(Rotkopffalke).JPG.d2fd9932c3e5ef4390a7c6042907ecdd.JPG

 

Red-Necked Falcon. They breed in the palm trees.

 

285737156_TR1157_Selous.JPG.5bd495816331c34876ae57380443e69d.JPG

 

1814485200_1193_Selous_White-CrownedLapwing_(Weischeitelkiebitz)-4.jpg.3cb5729390ede1cda37c709272fa4bd3.jpg

 

White-Crowned Lapwing

 

273172166_TR1182_Selous_MalachiteKingfisher_(Haubenzwergfischer)_MalachiteKingfisher_(Haubenzwergfischer).JPG.ac3c5c79d01df43184dcbe9602a74d48.JPG

 

Another Malachite

 

1569319832_TR1339_Selous.JPG.5e521ce0d19b65044cca16835b945a2a.JPG

 

Later on it cleared up a bit - at least we had a bit of blue skies.

 

706234179_TR1233_Selous_StriatedHeron_(Mangrovereiher).JPG.95fed539a2e61e973072c613f6277120.JPG

 

Striated Heron

 

151162358_1244_Selous_GreatEgret_(Silberreiher)-2.jpg.33f45c2bdbfd6260c76077638642100d.jpg

 

Great Egret

 

763476705_TR1341_Selous.JPG.f33da00505e1e4dfa001e8ce7735d7a5.JPG

 

1119144951_1306_Selous_AfricanJacana_(Blaustirn-Blatthhnchen)-3.jpg.833df84cc212b10fa9b05ff236e15e8b.jpg

 

We actually had to work to find a Jacana - supercommon in many wetland areas but here they were quite scarce.

 

TR IMG_3457.JPG

 

42197398_TR1335_Selous_WesternOsprey_(Fischadler).JPG.7f6099d381f21f693c338c6ca89e6534.JPG

 

1642041947_TR1336_Selous_WesternOsprey_(Fischadler).JPG.2d53e2085ec0ecb799e0de2ebbac96f8.JPG

 

Western Osprey - a very cool bird to see.

 

If you´ve always wondered how a Bee-Eater´s tongue looks like here´s your answer:

 

1106866554_TR1263_Selous_White-FrontedBee-Eater_(Weistirnspint).JPG.aa82a378df349dfa166a0f79ece14017.JPG

 

281423675_TRIMG_3479.JPG.84b94b0eba4e8a0d1b7b27b3b1f39912.JPG

 

1929162867_TRIMG_3486.JPG.ab0aed77ce532e5954f6ee4f3ffdc2c5.JPG

 

790770_TRIMG_3494.JPG.93816fa00f60a2f3800793e5f6cf2eb0.JPG

 

Pretty much at the farthest point from camp there was a huge Openbill colony, far spread out over the gallery palm trees. I did a rough count and estimated about 700!

 

72746325_TR1272_Selous_AfricanOpenbill_(Mohrenklaffschnabel).JPG.ab7fdb7106338d8402c16bc0a968afea.JPG

 

669556595_TR1282_Selous_AfricanOpenbill_(Mohrenklaffschnabel).JPG.b93ad172c0d497f8763b59190ef63bbc.JPG

 

TR 1288_Selous_African Openbill_(Mohrenklaffschnabel).JPG

 

138610362_TR1287_Selous_AfricanOpenbill_(Mohrenklaffschnabel).JPG.bcb56d88514edc76f2f3193d2f8c2c7f.JPG

 

Talk about a cool pose. B)

 

TR 1338_Selous.JPG

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gatoratlarge

What a great discovery to open up SafariTalk and find this waiting for me!  The colors are just astonishing!  I've only been in Africa during one green season---sure looks like a beautiful and uncrowded way to see it!  I look forward to more!  The beeeater's tongue is a first for me :D

 

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TonyQ

Great to see the dogs, sad about the limping.

Lots more beautiful birds an excellent photos. You trip through the rain sounds scary/exciting!

The boat trip would be quite relaxing after that.

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michael-ibk

704001941_TRIMG_3312.JPG.f92a9e7034d203910becde9fa907119a.JPG

 

Time to talk a bit about camp. We chose Lake Manze Camp, one of the cheaper options in the Selous. We both liked it a lot - it´s a good old rusty camp with a proper wilderness feel and without any overblown luxury amenities. That suited us fine - a matter of personal taste of course but personally I prefer a slightly rugged atmosphere. The tents were comfortable and well-kept and food very good to excellent. The managing couple Shaun and Millie are doing a great job there, they are a constant presence, always interacting with guests at all meals and always trying to be helpful. Top marks for them - unfortunately we didn´t take photos of them because of our rushed departure. Being kicked out, remember?

 

1890678569_TRIMG_3362.JPG.837a1043867fc110afb7ab7fd429f053.JPG

 

2123855151_TRIMG_3511.JPG.8a495c2b9c916c10d4b2ff1b3f651fc8.JPG

 

1629262997_TRIMG_3514.JPG.89b9ab20ae6fb1528606c788a1ebbe5a.JPG

 

081_IMG_4556.jpg.31d821eede4a65dac3815d985d1f8819.jpg

 

Meet Milipede Fred, our constant companion throughout this trip. If creeping crawlies bother you the rainy season might be problematic - they are out and around a lot.

 

A big reason for choosing Lake Manze (and its sister camp Old Mdonya in Ruaha) was the option to do private vehicles. We´ve gone private so often (or shared with like-minded friends) that the thought of sharing vehicles with first-timers was not too appealing - and they would have kicked me out of the car anyway after the tenth Cisticola. B)

 

We were told we could decided on the spot and pay with Credit Card or Paylink. And it was quite reasonable - USD 120,-- per day per vehicle or boat (not per person). We had somehow hoped that camp would not be too busy in this rainy season but were surprised - camp was fully booked! Which was actually good fun - we decided to pay for private all our stay through, and there was a nice mix of guests, many different countries, safari veterans, first-timers. We shared many fun meals and drinks. We clicked especially well with a Dutch couple who´d accompany us to Ruaha as well.

 

745881653_TRIMG_3368.JPG.f4d6e2a03a431bf9a58b2c8b478ae893.JPG

 

2134824922_TRIMG_20200204_152211.JPG.ef514c752ad20771dac10daf42e478b1.JPG

 

So what was that about being kicked out? Well, Lake Manze Camp, as the name implies, is a camp at a lake. Problem was it was gradually being more and more IN the lake.

 

1777955861_TRIMG_20200204_152305.JPG.446a078d6bbf34ff867ff91b7b901732.JPG

 

1551523812_TRIMG_20200204_152203.JPG.4e6a9883499e19ee5b278760569d59f7.JPG

 

And Shaund and Millie worried that our tent could well be submerged during or after the coming night. The waters of the heavy rains from the day before would surely arrive!

 

2074653900_TRIMG_3365.JPG.f29b61f9b029f236cc5285f2769d8ec4.JPG

 

The path to our tent on day 2.

 

173906246_TRIMG_3523.JPG.2fb975d2d5a596721826f28dfe3ee470.JPG

 

One day later. We could only sneak in by crawling under the poles anymore.

 

Our tent was one of those closest to water´s edge. So we were ultimately asked to leave in the afternoon. We´d be transferred to a different camp for the last night. Obviously we were not too thrilled about this but understood - they could not order the waters to stay back. Poor Shaun and Millie had their hands full anyway - they asked some other guests (from a group) who had all single tents to share for a night because three tents were already ununusable and a new group was already on its way to camp through the mud. Quite a heated discussion followed, not sure what the result was. We did not put up an argument ourselves - we had to go to the airstrip anyway next morning, and the replacement camp was in its vicinity. All that had to be done was one additional packing. Not too bad, and well, that replacement camp would hopefully be acceptable. Best thing - because of all this we did not have to pay for pv at all! Not something we asked for, when I wanted to settle the bill we were told it was fine. :D

 

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michael-ibk

Almost forgot  - camp birding and wildlife:

 

287901267_TR395_Selous_Speckle-ThroatedWoodpecker_(Reichenowspecht).JPG.0dffe52fa9b11984f14732777a4f1022.JPG

 

Speckle-Throated Woodpecker

 

335624864_TR374_Selous_NileMonitor_(Nilwaran).JPG.0467cf97ca5d57c01dc4f9439c0eb9ee.JPG

 

A baby Nile Monitor

 

250417620_TR419_Selous_White-BrowedSparrow-Weaver_(Mahaliweber).JPG.d600d039da53606d0d29c0e360dd18b0.JPG

 

White-Browed Sparrow-Weaver. These birds ruled the Selous, every tree seemed to host a colony.

 

928010114_TR458_Selous.JPG.205cc835f88ea282d0424937118f9aa7.JPG

 

Our tent view.

 

1486115768_TR414_Selous_StripedBushSquirrel_(GestreiftesBuschhrnchen).JPG.afd875ae33c5f250e1b809a6739e9378.JPG

 

Striped Bush Squirrel

 

426460722_TR434_Selous_AfricanGoldenWeaver_(Goldweber).JPG.5b9e9139e844b32d6d5842ef644beb57.JPG

 

1827387380_TR447_Selous_AfricanGoldenWeaver_(Goldweber).JPG.dddade1f3543505810daef7b2745444e.JPG

 

1576807923_TR448_Selous_AfricanGoldenWeaver_(Goldweber).JPG.9f3eb24bd6af7300c4625a82d4e5641b.JPG

 

African Golden Weaver taking a bath.

 

And my birding highlight - the pretty rare Böhm´s Bee-Eater:

 

1605530769_407_Selous_BhmsBee-Eater_(Bhmspint)-3a.jpg.daf499ebb382f3bca27ff74075f38d1c.jpg

 

 

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BRACQUENE

@michael-ibk

 

Fabulous photos from the Woodpecker to the icing on the 🧁 the Böhm’s Bee-Eater!

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@michael-ibk We also stayed at Lake Manze, and liked it very much. Shaun and Milli sure do a good job there.

I got the impression that the Selous is more and more popular among people that want to combine a beach holiday in Zanzibar with one or a few days safari. 

Like  you  I was struck by the sight of those yellow jeeps that cross the Selous (their sign said “Beach Safari” if I recall well). And finding toilet paper behind bushes and a few empty plastic bottles made me feel worried about what will become of this part of the beautiful Selous.

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michael-ibk

So off we where about 1600 in the afternoon, our last drive in the Selous. The roads were still incredibly tricky to maneuvre, and I can only admire our skilled driver Abuu - what a tought job this guy had, and he made it look easy. I haven´t talked much about our guide. Which is because we were not exactly thrilled about his work. I don´t wish to be harsh but I could not describe his efforts other than "adequate", nothing more. His heart was obviously not really in it. That said, he was kind and a nice guy, I enjoyed chatting with him during breakfast or our shared lunch.

 

245464311_TR1377_Selous_EllipsenWaterbuck_(Ellipsen-Wasserbock).JPG.8e08751575e19204e35ff66060c60a83.JPG

 

Waterbuck - quite a rare sight actually. My memory should really not be trusted but I don´t think we had more than this short sighting.

 

1211184994_TR1357_Selous_Yellow-BilledOxpecker_(Gelbschnabelmadenhacker).JPG.2d37d32701c1d1a163bb0bb4fd9ef67f.JPG

 

Yellow-Billed Oxpeckers not oxpecking for a change.

 

418293639_TR1393_Selous_Bateleur_(Gaukler).JPG.f097948c6d09d26b947374ad1e61c339.JPG

 

Juvenile Bateleur

 

737479650_TR1399_Selous_SpottedFlycatcher_(Grauschnpper).JPG.7d8f4d177ec8f3c390262f843138456e.JPG

 

Spotted Flycatcher, a common palearctic migrant. Any day now they should return here to Austria.

 

1887312619_TR1404_Selous_SenegalLapwing_(Trauerkiebitz).JPG.ac3c3f6077f429279dde54c96a7e902c.JPG

 

Senegal Lapwing

 

949935627_TRIMG_20200204_174452.JPG.cf142056e2f356d8d4706cbb1eb7507c.JPG

 

We manged to get back to the main road - but then our car broke down. Try as he might, Abuu could not get it running again. Well, little wonder, these safari cars are incredibly sturdy, but after all that exposure to mud and water something has to go I guess.

 

The guys tried to find a solution and fortunately could reach a car from our replacement camp, and they agreed to come and get us. Whew. Not too bad waiting, the light came out and it was a nice evening.

 

376468414_TRIMG_20200204_175538.JPG.014bd8488b819056a869f2a18bb99c23.JPG

 

It was already close to 1900 when they finally arrived, and we still had many km to go. Just as we were leaving the main road our new guide stopped - some Kudu were snorting. They were nervous. Why were they nervous? We looked to a bush at the bottom of a tree. This seemed to be the centre of their attention. And - BHAM! - all of a sudden a Leopard jumped out, onto the road and disappeared into the vegetation. Happened too fast to get a decent picture.

 

605595509_TR1417_Selous_Leopard_(Leopard).JPG.5547134f5375af11d49e019458d13adc.JPG

 

But still great to see a Leopard - as mentioned before they are not really posers in the Selous generally.

 

The sun had set, and we should really get a move on, our guide said. But then he had to stop again.

 

1763512753_TR1427_Selous_SpottedHyena_(Tpfelhyne).JPG.6e94ecf66414778bcd483630db5325cd.JPG

 

1651215923_TR1420_Selous_SpottedHyena_(Tpfelhyne).JPG.4b48044cb6a950cac44a5d78b336205e.JPG

 

Hyena on the road! Light was gone, it was already getting pretty dark but still had to take a picture.

 

And there, a bit farther back, were those the Dogs?

 

1429_Selous.jpg.6622fc5aaa1afbec946e18532b24422a.jpg

 

Yes, absolutely! They did not react to us, a tree seemed to have their undivided attention. (Well, apart from the lazy bugger who could not be bothered. At all.) What was up there?

 

1431_Selous.jpg.9b06e9902d40d96e4fee40bba4010582.jpg

 

BAM! Again! The Dogs had treed a Leopard but the poor cat could not keep its cool anylonger with the Dogs jumping up and down trying to get his tail. Or something like that. :D

 

The Leopard jumped up a different tree. We edged closer and could see it him in the middle of the branches but again he was too nervous and ran again - like Wild Dogs were chasing him. Which they were.

 

2035081145_TR1435_Selous.JPG.897e76aba1ceaba9dd230edd55e83c72.JPG

 

What a way to end our last drive! And we´d have seen nothing of this had we not agreed to the transfer!

 

Edited by michael-ibk
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Woow, what a great end to the last day in the Selous

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Fabulous end to the day @michael-ibk your willingness to move camps was rewarded handsomely.

 

Fascinating to see the water levels of Lake Manze, really rams home just how much water must have fallen in the Selous.

 

Out of interest, with all that water around, did Shaun feel the need to put on any footwear? In the 4 nights we stayed there not once was he seen wearing any form of shoes at all!

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Zubbie15

Obviously a great end to the day, what a lucky turn of events. 

 

Out of curiosity, was there any discussion about the change of a major part of the park from a game reserve to a national park? 

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janzin

Wow, great sighting of leopard and dogs...that really was fortuitous that you had to change camps! Hopefully the new camp was drier :)

 

Also, fabulous Bohm's Bee-eater, that is one I'd love to see!

 

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Soukous
13 hours ago, michael-ibk said:

there was a huge Openbill colony, far spread out over the gallery palm trees. I did a rough count and estimated about 700!

 

For what it is worth, I remember there being a huge colony of Openbill's there in 2013. I can't say if they have been there every year in between, but it is possible.

 

BTW, Loving your TR. It makes me wish I had started my interest in birding many years sooner. :(

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Soukous
12 hours ago, michael-ibk said:

a good old rusty camp

 

'rustic' I think :rolleyes:

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Soukous
12 hours ago, michael-ibk said:

Our tent was one of those closest to water´s edge. So we were ultimately asked to leave in the afternoon.

 

You tease! I was expecting, nay hoping for, some story about you being bad boys and being escorted off the premises by security. 

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kilopascal

Loved the black crake photo

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madaboutcheetah

Superb, Michael ........ Thanks for taking us to the Selous along with you!!!  So many outstanding images, the birds are simply OUTSTANDING.  You had some great Wild dog sightings, Michael ...... I'd love to get to Selous one day! 

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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xelas

Next time birding together you will have to tell me the secret behind those shinning eyes, @michael-ibk! Outstanding!!

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michael-ibk

Thanks so much, @gatoratlarge, @TonyQ, @BRACQUENE, @Biko, @mopsy, @Zubbie15, @janzin, @Soukous, @madaboutcheetah and @xelas - much too kind!

 

23 hours ago, gatoratlarge said:

I've only been in Africa during one green season---sure looks like a beautiful and uncrowded way to see it! 

 

That´s a surprise to me Joe - I think especially for people who appreciate everything and also the small things (like you as I know) Green Season is perfect.

 

22 hours ago, TonyQ said:

You trip through the rain sounds scary/exciting!

 

It was both indeed - had we gotten stuck we would have had to stay the night out there, and I can think of more fun things to do. But all´s well that ends well.

 

22 hours ago, Biko said:

I got the impression that the Selous is more and more popular among people that want to combine a beach holiday in Zanzibar with one or a few days safari. 

 

Indeed - we met many other guests who were just on such a combo (or with Mafia Island). And it´s true, it´s only a short flight to the Selous from DAR, so the logistics really favour a trip like that.

 

22 hours ago, Biko said:

And finding toilet paper behind bushes and a few empty plastic bottles made me feel worried about what will become of this part of the beautiful Selous.

 

Thankfully we did not see any of that - the difficult conditions meant that few people from outside were in the park. And to my surprise we rarely cars from other camps. Northern Selous is quite full with camps but it did not feel that way.

 

20 hours ago, mopsy said:

Out of interest, with all that water around, did Shaun feel the need to put on any footwear?

 

One should never trust my memory  - so I asked much more reliable @AndMic. And apparently no, no shoes ever imprisoned his soles. :)

 

18 hours ago, Zubbie15 said:

Out of curiosity, was there any discussion about the change of a major part of the park from a game reserve to a national park? 

 

We did talk a bit about that  - but the effects of the dam were the far hotter topic. And in the end the "national park" label means nothing - it depends on funding and what will happen away from the tourist areas.

 

9 hours ago, Soukous said:

'rustic' I think 

 

Oh no, rusty was exactly the word I was going for, absolutely - you should see, uhm, the rusty tent poles. :P

 

9 hours ago, Soukous said:

You tease! I was expecting, nay hoping for, some story about you being bad boys and being escorted off the premises by security. 

 

Well, I´m afraid I´ve grown out of my bad boy phase - unfortunately I´m way too conformist these days. B)

 

3 hours ago, madaboutcheetah said:

I'd love to get to Selous one day! 

 

I´m sure you would enjoy it Hari - but admittedly a tricky place for you given the lack of Cheetah.

 

3 hours ago, xelas said:

Next time birding together you will have to tell me the secret behind those shinning eyes

 

Well, I´m just the kind of guy birds like to give the eye, Alex.  ;)

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