Selous - anyone been recently

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Mar 10th, 2004, 03:51 PM
  #1
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Selous - anyone been recently

Planning to visit Southern parks this July. Have been told better to stay in southern parks at this time of year to avoid lots of vehicles watching game. Has anyone been here recently/stayed at Sand Rivers in Selous...also Mwagusi camp in Ruaha - anyone stayed here? Is the tsetse fly a problem in these areas?
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Mar 11th, 2004, 02:35 AM
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We stayed at Sand Rivers in Selous for four nights in September 2002. At that time of the year, we had no problem with the tsetse. Of course, September is the peak of the dry season there. I can't comment on Mwagusi as we never saw it. Selous is huge so seeing other camps/lodges is virtually impossible. I can honestly say that while we were on game drives, we never saw another vehicle or other people, except, of course, at dinner, which is a "communal" event at Sand Rivers. All the guests sit at a large dining table and it makes for lively conversation at night. I will say that Sand Rivers fully met all our expectations as far as the actual chalets (shabby chic interior design), location and all other aspects. If I can help answer other questions, give a shout.
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Mar 11th, 2004, 02:11 PM
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Thanks so much for response. Howgood was the food/staff at Sand Rivers. Would 6 nights there be too much. I understand they have boat and walking safaris - did you do these. Still worried about actual quantity of game and how easy it is to see. I know it is a very different experience to Northern Parks - but is it just as good in its own way? Sorry...you said to ask questions...and I got carried away! Grateful for any further info on this are.
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Mar 11th, 2004, 02:59 PM
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Was in Ruaha last July and stayed at Ruaha River Lodge run by the Fox family. I can highly recommend this - the location was stunning and the camp staff really great- it was like staying with friends. No problem with TseTse in this location however we did meet some people on the flight back who had stayed at Mwagusi and had a bad time with flies.

The wildlife is not as prolific as the northern parks, but still plenty to see including Leopard and bat-eared fox which was a highlight. Another plus was going out on full day game drives and on some days not seeing a single other vehicle, on other days maybe just one. The remoteness was fabulous and the scenery in the Ruaha absolutely spectacular.

We stayed 5 nights at the River Lodge & didn't want to leave. I can highly recommend the Fox camps - if you're travelling from Dar then they have a couple of tented camps at Mikumi which is a good stopping off point. Also they run the new safari train from Dar to Mikumi via Selous. Haven't been on it but it looks a fun way to travel instead of the internal flight.

And for something different they also have a farm in the highlands - great fishing, walking and horse-riding. It's a nice break in the middle of a safari holiday.

Website link is

http://www.tanzaniasafaris.info/Ruaha/accomodation.htm

I promise I'm nothing to do with this company - it's just that it's the best holiday we've ever had and the rest of Africa now has a lot to live up to!

Ruth

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Mar 11th, 2004, 03:45 PM
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eilidh: The staff at Sand Rivers was fantastic, and the food was quite good. Selous is indeed very different from the northern circuit parks/reserves. You will have to work to see the animals, but there are plenty there. Even in the dry season, Selous certainly has more scrub than the open plains of the Serengeti or elsewhere. But the Sand Rivers guides are spectacular at seeing things that we simply could or did not. They spend eight months at a time in the reserve, so they know it like the back of their hands. We saw elephants, giraffe, buffalo, lions (including three cubs left alone while the rest of pride were out hunting), etc. My husband broke his foot in a motorcycle accident just a few months before our trip, so we did not do much walking. But afternoon and morning hikes are offered with the camp manager, Alex. Alex is armed on these ventures. We did take advantage of the boat trips in the Rufiji (hippos and crocs galore!) and had a bush breakfast with our guide and armed park ranger, during which we did end up tracking lion spoors near Lake Tagalala. Fantastic! There are some hot springs (and when they say "hot" they are not kidding) that are nice to visit. While I adore the Mara, Crater, etc. I must say that Selous provides truly a unique safari experience. Just so you know, the chalets at Sand Rivers are completely open on one side. No screens, no glass. There is a ceiling fan directly above the bed, yet underneath the mosquito netting. RuthieC is correct in that another option for you is Ruaha. I am dying to get to that area! The flight from Dar to Selous was about 90 mins.If you have any other questions, ask away! I don't mind!
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Mar 15th, 2004, 03:13 PM
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Thanks for all this info - really makes a difference 'speaking' to someone who has been there. I feel there is a fine balance between being very close to the game, through fly camping,walking with armed guide and boating safaris....and being a little too close. My husband fears he 'will be eaten' on this holiday!! - did you ever feel insecure in the accommodation or outside the lodge...is it fairly high above the ground. Keep hearing stories about hippos being 6 feet from someones pillow! - exciting yes but a little scary too?....what do you think?
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Mar 15th, 2004, 05:04 PM
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eilidh: We never felt frightened by or uncomfortably close to wildlife at Sand Rivers. The chalets are actually built up on the river-inlet side, so no hippos can get too close to your sleeping quarters. While one side of the chalet is completely open, the only thing to get inside - on occasion - was a bat and it was strictly interested in the few bugs flying near the overhead light. Your entrance to the chalet - the front if you will - is at ground level. The chalets themselves are sturdily built, out of stone, etc. The wood door has a lock on it. I can't imagine anything getting in through that way. Sand Rivers is NOT surrounded by any kind of fence so it is possible for wildlife to get inside the compound. However, the only time you would probably even think of this is at night. Just so you know, you are escorted by camp staff back to your chalet following dinner, so you are not alone. We had the chalet furthest from the lounge/bar/dining area and it was less than a five-minute walk. There are chalets closer which you could probably request. As for being close to wildlife on game drives, boat rides, etc. it was nothing that would frighten you. Because it is so remote, the animals in Selous are not accustomed to humans. The only time I felt a little "nervous" was on the river, when a couple of hippo heads popped up about thirty feet from our boat. The guides at Sand Rivers are probably the best we had anywhere. They can read the animals unlike anything I had seen elsewhere, they know the reserve like the back of their hands and client safety is tantamount. It truly is a unique experience and one of the reasons we decided to visit. Just as an aside, the closest we were to wildlife was in the Mara when one night we were awakened by a noise. Poked our heads outside of the tent to discover a glorious hippo happily munching on grass no more than 10 feet from our tent! Now that was close!
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