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Tanzania Selous & Ruaha 2016


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Tanzania June/July 2016

Day 1: Fly Manchester to Dubai

Day 2: Fly Dubai to Dar and onwards to Selous game reserve Siwandu camp

Day 3/4/5: Siwandu camp

Day 6: Fly to Ruaha Jongomero camp

 Day 7/8/9: Jongomero

Day 10: Fly to Dar then on to Dubai

Day 11: Fly Dubai to Manchester


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DAY 3 Siwandu 1

We walk to lodge for breakfast an observe snake tracks seen across path.

After breakfast we go out on a game drive.  Our guide is Apollo with trainee guide Dulla and just the two of us.  We stop for elevenses with hot drink and biscuits they have set out on a table.  We see a Hammerkop for 1st time on this trip,








We return from our morning drive at 12noon with time to clean up ready for lunch at 1pm.  We have time to rest up before our next drive at 4 pm










After this afternoons drive we are joined by a couple on their first trip to Africa.  We have sightings of elephants, hippopotamus, buffalo, zebra, hyena, giraffe, warthog, crocodiles, but no cats at all.

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Day 4 Siwandu 2  

We are lucky; we see a hyena den with the female lying on top asleep and seemingly not bothered about us in the jeep 20ft away.  We are told there are 2 cubs in den but sadly they did not come out while we were there.  




On this drive we also see Bat Eared foxes, Jackal, Giraffe, Impala, Hippo, Crocs etc.


We arrive back at camp and immediately taken to the North camp to see an elephant that has been sleeping there, now it was tearing down palm trees.  Siwandu is split into a north camp & a south camp each with its own central lodge but on our stay the North camp was unused.

The afternoon is a boat cruise on the lake with close up sightings of hippos and crocs. The elephant by the camp is seen again from our boat, it seems to be trying to push down a 40ft tree.  There is a hippopotamus nearby with a tiny baby.  




As we pull into the beach for our sundowners we witness two crocs fighting over a terrapin one of them has caught.  Unfortunately on our arrival they retreat back into the water and the dead terrapin is left, I wonder if they will return.  

t fish eagle.JPG

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Day 5 Siwandu 3

Exercise today – we have a walking safari!

Tea arrives at our tent at 6.30am, and then we are off walking at 7am. We have two other guests with us and our guides, Apollo and Dulla – Dulla armed with an old Lee Enfield rifle.  

There is such a different perspective of everything from ground level – especially the height of the giraffe!    We see Impala and Kudu; lots of birds.  We track leopard and check out animal scats. An interesting spot is a track where a big snake has gone by. 





Acacia Paradise Whydah



Long Tailed Fiscal Shrike



Crested Barbet Easy to see where the name comes from 


The first part of our trek is on opening ground with a few bushes and then we head into woodland. Eventually we cross a track and see the lake shore

We leave early for our afternoon game drive to go further into the bush and hopefully see lions for the 1st time this holiday; and for the other guests the first time ever.

Apollo & Dulla try very hard to find them but none seen.  The National Park is closed to traffic at 6pm so we need to be back at camp by that time; but with such a long drive our return will be much later.  Our guide drives without lights, so the Park Rangers will not see us and we get back to camp around 7pm.

Apollo & Dulla are excellent guides and drivers and they tried their upmost to help see us all the wildlife the park had to offer.  

Dinner tonight is on the lake shore with only 4 of us in camp.




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More memories @NSY(although it was called Selous Safari camp back in 2009!). I'm very surprised that there were so few folk in camp and that lions were so elusive - many more of both back then

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It was 6 years ago so not sure how things will be now. We had a lot more sightings in Ruaha. but Selous was still a great place to visit.


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we were in Selous in 2019 and saw plenty of lions

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Day 6 Changeover Siwandu to Jongomero

Today we leave camp at 10.30 am for the short drive to the airstrip.  Our flight today is to Jongomero in Ruaha. 


As we start to gain speed to take off the pilot has to abort as an impala crosses the dirt runway, we skid slightly, slow down and then turn around to take off in the opposite direction.  The pilot is amazingly cool! 

At Jongomero there is a short drive to camp and then we check into another great tent with an indoor shower this time.


1pm and we are walking back along the 500yard path by 6 tents for lunch on the river bank.  Another 2 course lunch, the menu is very similar to Siwandu.


Off on game drive at 4pm with Lambert a trainee guide and Chris, the camp manager.  After half an hour there is a radio call to say that another couple who have just arrived are going to be driven out to join us. They are two Australians.








Von Der Decken's Hornbill 


Back a 6pm for a shower and change for dinner at 8pm. Dinner is taken in an indoor restaurant. It’s a lot colder here at 3000ft, I see why the shower is inside!

Edited by NSY
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Day 7 1st full at Jongomero

Wake up to find the tent freezing cold but with two duvets and blankets we are nice and toasty in bed.  We get dressed quickly and the cup of hot tea delivered at 6.30am is very welcome indeed!

Our game drive starts at 8 am – slightly later here - as the animals take longer to wake and immerge due to the temperature.  Driver /guide is Allan who is a brilliant guide and drives the Nissan Patrol anywhere; across sand river bed/ down steep slopes/ sometimes almost on its side.  It’s an exciting drive and we see lots of animals and birds


Walking back to our tent after the drive we see a very wide snake track on the path.

At 4pm it’s the afternoon game drive with our Australian companions. We see a young buffalo, although sadly he has a broken leg, his mother stays faithfully by his side.  A little while after this we drive through a massive herd of buffalo, maybe 400 strong; this is probably the herd the mother and baby should be with.


One single male lion is seen about 20ft away.  Allan tells us naturalists are developing a theory of two different sub species of lion; standard one and one with a longer body as the one we have just seen called a Buffalo Lion due to its favourite prey.  We return around 6.15 pm and see Lesser Bush Babies coming out of a tree by the camp offices as it goes dark.








Elephants in dry river bed in front of camp

ele tree.JPG

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Very cool intro shot.  You have more snakes in your first two posts than many people see on a whole safari.


Interesting about the lion subspecies.  The wounded young buffalo may be feeding that new subspecies.

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Yes we have done well for snake sightings recently. 2 Fer-de-lance in Costa Rica . 2 Black Mamba in Botswana & 2 Puff Adders again in Botswana.




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Day 8 2nd at Jongomero  

As we walk to the lodge this morning we see fresh pugmarks prints and drag marks across the path only 50ft from our tent. Confirmed later to be leopard tracks and the guides find half an impala stashed in a tree nearby.  

This morning it is a long drive to Little Serengeti.  We visit a hot spring and then stop on what was once a runway.   Alan sets up table and chairs for our breakfast.  Far too much food but we manage to eat – it’s too good to leave!   Not a lot of animals on this route but different terrain. We continue to Little Serengeti, an open plain with long grassland but the only creature we see is a single Ostrich.

We have an afternoon game drive at the usual 4pm: Our guide spots something in the distance and then manoeuvres the Nissan Patrol very close to a single male buffalo lion.  We now see the difference in body length to the other lions we have seen.  This afternoon we are also fortunate to spot giraffe, hippo, crocs and impala.

Day 9 3rd at Jongomero

Morning game drive starting at 7.30 am today as it is a long drive to try and find lions. We drive for 2 hours; the only sign of lions are their beautiful big paw tracks.   We stop for elevenses by the river. After leaving there, Alan tells us about a guide who was in the same area; he was checking out the surrounding bush was safe for his clients to get out and as he did so, suddenly a leopard appeared and jumped at him; fortunately he has a stick with him (a large stick!) and pushes it off, he escapes with just scratch marks on his shoulders from the leopard’s paws!  The guide was still working at Jongomero but only going on occasional drives, the years were catching up with him.

We then turn back along the track seeing 5 Greater Kudu running across just in front of us.  It was fantastic to see them so close.  Further along we meet a couple in an old 4wd estate that has suspension problems and limping back other way; on talking to them they tell us there are lions just half a mile past our turnaround point.   Alan loses no time and quickly turns the Nissan around.  Amazingly they are still there, 6 lions!  We get up very near to them and take lots and lots of photos!  The lions are in relaxed mode and are happy to pose.











Still on our very productive morning drive and I spot a much rarer Lesser Kudo amongst the impala, which earns me praise from Alan!


Lesser Kudu 





Greater Kudu 





A big Male Greater Kudu 


On our drive back to the lodge a Puff Adder goes across the track in front of us. Alan gets out and says - come and take a photo – Yes, well after you Alan….  Almost back and we see a Martial Eagle that has just taken a Dik-Dik, incredible.




A bit slow with the photo 

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Day 10 Jongomero/dar/Dubai

Our last day and we are offered an early morning game drive 7am-9am, this seemed too good a chance to miss. We drive along by the river but the time passes far too quickly and we have to head back for breakfast, a tidy up and a final pack.



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Day 11 Manchester

Fly Dubai to Manchester




Salous:  We didn’t see an abundance of animals but the river and lakes were well worth seeing.

The Lodge is well-spaced and by the lakeshore.

Ruaha:  Amazing place.  Beautiful scenery, great riverside drives and woodland tracks.  Animal sightings were excellent; lion, big herds of buffalo, lots of impala and also elephants in the woodland

Lodge by dry river bed: great room/food good/ guide/driver excellent

Flights to camps worked well.

Would recommend Ruaha 100%


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  • 2 weeks later...

@NSYThank you for sharing your experiences in the Selous and Ruaha. I like the colour of your photos, beautiful light mostly. Ruaha was particularly interesting as we plan to visit Ruaha (Kwihala camp) this November. We will be staying 5 nights and after that go to the Masai Mara (Porini Lion camp). I hope everything goes as planned by then:rolleyes:.






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1 hour ago, Athene said:

we plan to visit Ruaha (Kwihala camp) this November. We will be staying 5 nights and after that go to the Masai Mara (Porini Lion camp).

November seems a long way off and I am sure we are all hoping that the global situation will have improved by then. Let's hope your travel plans are fulfilled.

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