Exploring the stunning Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve

Forget the screen when you have the serene.

Tune into your instincts and let your channel of thought be captivated with the endless display of wildlife antics showcased right before you.

This is Bush TV after all. It’s something you needn’t to use a remote for as it’s jam packed with live action that one would find hard to be bored with.

Today’s viewing station is broadcast Selous Game Reserve. Located in Tanzania’s South East, Selous Game Reserve is Africa’s oldest and largest game reserve covering 50,000 km2 and large enough to engulf Switzerland and then some. Despite its size, it’s seldom crowded and is one of the least most visited parks with only 8% open to tourists. making it the perfect offbeat safari venture.

Getting paparazzi ready
Getting paparazzi ready

For those who want more of an offbeat safari adventure away from the hordes of tourists visiting Tanzania’s most famous parks (Serengeti and Ngorogogo), a visit to Selous is just as accessible. It can be as easy as fly in, fly out, touching down on its remotely located bush air strip. Forget customs as the only thing that awaits your arrival is a surprisingly well equipped bush toilet, a wooden hut and your local concierge – an open air jeep that you cannot wait to jump into and call game on.

 

 

 

Game on 

Selous Game Reserve attracts large numbers of elephants, block rhinoceroses, cheetahs, giraffes and crocodiles.

Where giraffes had seen like a rarity and worthy of a ‘bingo’ call in other parks, here in Selous it was beautifully littered with them. They were everywhere. Looking into their big, bold eyes and fluttering their eyelashes could tempt any woman to run for their mascara. Their slender, usual physique will also leave you in total awe. They are creatures of sheer beauty, especially when they run, as it looks as through life has suddenly gone into slow-mo.

The first sighting of lions was literally right out of The Lion King script. Cue its romantic, Oscar worthy theme song ‘Can you feel the love tonight’ and a real life Simba and Nala were displaying exactly how felt love. It certainly wasn’t child friendly but made for compelling viewing as it was rare to see them up close let alone being caught in the act!

 

 

 

A little life of luxury

Another winning find in Selous is the luxury camp by its main water-body, Lake Manze. From the terrace of my luxury tent, I had a perfect viewpoint of the lake and its surrounding jungle. From afar, I would be captivated by the procession of giraffes travelling right to left in single-file every so often. Impalas and warthogs also made guest appearances in my viewing vicinity without me needing to step a foot outside my tent space.

You could possibly expect being in a place that is so open to wildlife that there would possibly be a fence of sorts to guard the property. Oh no – replace fences with Masaai warriors on stand by to help protect and save the day if the camp was frequented by a perilous visitor.

Each night after a wholesome three course feed, you are walked back to your tent with a Maasai warrior. One night under the spellbinding blanket of stars, my Maasai warrior, equipped with torch in hand, was walking me back to my tent when within a quick flash, spotted a standing hippo within the campgrounds. Usually, the most common of sightings of hippos are in water as unfortunately, they do not have sweat glands to cope with intense heat. We stood still and fearless, admiring the lone hippo munching away on a small tree despite the fact danger could be imminent as they are the second more dangerous animal to roam the earth after the pesky mosquito. Seeing its sheer size right before me was breath-taking – this was most certainly a hazardous viewing but a diplomatic one.

See: What is it like to visit a Maasai Village

With the Masaai warriors at Lake Manze Camp.
With the Maasai warriors at Lake Manze Camp – protecting me from all land bound hippos

Drive on

Dramatic close ups are a thing out in the wild with an elephant deciding to greet us, coming within a metre of our jeep. Another close call was a hungry lion, trolling the car after a failed kill attempt of its Selous counterparts. To rewind this moment of time, an unsuspecting warthog was carrying on its’ merry ways, navigating the savannah with a lion slowly, paw after paw, trailing its movements. This carried on for moments that seem to be fitting with a drawn out climatic scene.

Will the kill take place? Will the warthog fight back? Will it survive?

Survive it did as the scene was disrupted with the three jeeps gathering to watch this live sequence. Something that was not thrown off was the pride of 10 lions nearby, resting under a tree presuming after a well-fought out morning with their full bellies on display. It was intimidating to bare witness to a pride of them in the scanty shade of scraggy bush, knowing full well if you were to foolishly step out of the jeep metres away, you could be their next meal – a tragedy too dire to comprehend!

Read more about my dangerous encounters with Africa’s wildlife

It also wouldn’t be a real adventure without a mishap. On one game drive, a tyre decided to call it a day and soon enough we were one wheel down. Within the same amount of time of a television commercial break, the flat tyre was swiftly replaced.

 

 

 

Cap it off

The perfect ending to the spectacle of Selous is being caught off guard by the burning sky.

When the sunsets go down in Africa is it truly is something else. When the time comes, the sun is at large, blood-orange and illuminating the sky with dreamy, candy-like colours of soft purple, pink and yellow. A painter would have a field day with their canvas just capturing it all for their next gallery show.

With beautiful sights and epic skies, Selous is certainly action packed and you could be forgiven for wanting a repeat viewing.

Getting there

Charter flight company Coastal Aviation fly from Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar to Selous up to three times daily.

Stay

I stayed at Lake Manze Camp in one of its glamping tents. The best part about my stay here was the ‘peak hour’ views that it offered of a steady stream of giraffes casually walking by.

Here is a VERY unfiltered tour of my tent – sweaty face included #KeepingItReal

 

Verdict

A must see park away, especially for its’ abundant wildlife.

Disclaimer: I travelled as a guest as a part of a super adventurous tour of Tanzania with Essential Destinations and Coastal Aviation.