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Trip Report 11 days Selous + Ruaha

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Just got back from 11 days safari in Selous and Ruaha! Had a wonderful and amazing time again, I can keep doing this for ever!

Will do a trip report, but let me first start with some summaries and conclusions ;)

The itinerary was very simple:
5 nights in Selous -> Lake Manze Tented Camp
5 nights in Ruaha -> Mdonya Old River Camp

Flying with coastal from Dar to Selous, Ruaha and back to Dar (via Selous) was very convenient and nice.

Highlights:
Hearing hyena call almost every night (I just loooove that sound), seeing the wild dogs in Selous, seeing leopard in Ruaha, sunset on the lake with Fish Eagle making their beautiful calls, elephants very close in both camps, seeing hyena walk by the camp while sitting next to the campfire, watching the elephant dig and drink in Ruaha

Comparison:
I enjoyed both Selous and Ruaha very much, but overall I think I liked Ruaha better. This was mainly due to the camp and the weather, so not a fair judgement on the park itself I would say ;)
I like Mdonya better than Lake Manze because it was a bit more basic and had a bit more 'wild' feel to it. They didn't do drinks around the campfire in Lake Manze, but in the lounge instead. This felt a bit more like a real 'bar' almost with people scattered more around than when you are sitting around a campfire.
Also Mdonya felt more part of the whole environment and it seemed to have more 'real' wildlife in the camp.

As for the weather; there was cloudy skies almost the whole time during my stay in Selous, which was nice for the temperature, but not for the lighting (for photography). I was lucky on the last day on the lake though and got some nice evening light pictures there ;)

I will talk more about the differences later on in the details ;)

Going solo:
This was my first time to go alone on safari and I must say I enjoyed this very much.
The interaction with other people is just so easy and I would spent some more time with a few people and share game drives etc.
In Lake Manze I did quite some gamedrives on my own, which I think was great to have full flexibility, but also a bit boring and lonely during the hours that you hardly see game at all.
In Mdonya it was even more easy being solo, as they didn't have a big lounge area with separate seats, but just sat around the campfire and eat on one long table.

My main interest was photography.
My gear:
Nikon D7000 and Nikon D70s
Nikon MB-D11 Battery Grip (on the D7000)
Nikkor 80-200 F2.8, NIkkor 24-85 F2.8-F4
Sigma 10-20 F4-F5.6 and a Soligor 2x extender
Monopod: Manfroto 334B automatic
7x 8GB + 2x 4GB SD memory cards

I was shooting in RAW with a backup in JPG to the 2nd memory card. I then imported those JPG's every day on my iPad so I would have that as a backup.

I used my Nikon D7000 with the Soligor converter and the Nikkor 80-200F2.8 for about 90% of the shots. I had the D70s with the 24-85 on it so I wouldn't have to change lenses in the car.
Being on my own had the advantage that I would have a complete seat to my own, even if I'd share the vehicle with another couple. This flexibility in moving around to get the best shot was really great to have.
The monopod was absolutely fabulous! Being able to extend or change the length by just pressing the handle was so quick, absolutely great!

Ended up with around 2200 photo's, which I brought down to 85 (for now :P) you can see here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nikao/sets/72157627739973912/show/

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