The Weird and Wonderful Selous

October 4, 2016

 

 Nick and Lorenzo, Managers at Impala Camp, enjoying the elephants. Photo by Crystal Coetzer

 

 Crystal Coetzer, Assistant Manager at Selous Impala Camp

 

Guests and visitors to the Selous get treated to some very interesting sightings at times! You can never tell what you might encounter on a driving, boat or walking safari here. 

The month kicked off with an exciting solar eclipse and quickly things got bizarre at camp!  Midday, as the light dimmed and the temperature continued to drop, birds started preening and singing as if the day was rolling to a close.  Guests on the boat safari came back and said all the animals that would usually hide in the heat of the day where out and about, like the shy and heat sensitive hippo.

 

 

Moon passing in front of the Sun, Picture by Lorenzo Zanacchi

 

Hippo Wars - Photos by Festo Ntayaye.

 

Due to Impala Camp’s great location on the Rufiji River, hippos are easily seen.  Male hippos are enormous, growing to 2 Tons in weight, and both sexes are equipped with enlarged tusk-like canines and incisors. These peculiar dental adaptations are not at all for feeding as hippos graze on grasses.  Dominant males use their over-grown teeth to vigorously defend their slim waterway territory from intruding bulls.

Hippos are an important keystone species in African waterways but their populations are largely declining, as they are Africa’s most dangerous mammal and attacks are usually fatal. Direct clashes with humans mean hippos largely survive only in protected areas these days. 

Lionesses lazing around - Photo by Michael Ader

 

When you think of the African Bush, you think ‘Lion’ perhaps as they are so wonderfully adapted to be apex predators here. They too get weird sometimes, and show you their true colours, which may be more on the lazy and luxurious side, than we would hope for….

Photo by Michael Ader

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Photo by Kharidi Mtili

 

 This being said, would you do it any other way, if you were the King of the Jungle? 

Guests have come back with lots of sightings of both lions - and more rarely - the shy leopard, mating.

 Photo captured by Robin Haines

 Lions mating, quite a wonderful show - Photo by Kharidi Mtili

 

 Lions on zebra kill - photos by Susan and Derek Wake

 

Our guests have also been fortunate enough to see lions hunting and killing prey this month, from start to finish! 

Male baboon brutally devouring some red meat - Photo by Michael Ader

 

My favourite animal here in the Selous, the Yellow Baboon, is both a fierce hunter/scavenger and a playful soul.

 

 A troop of baboons were caught interacting with a family of banded mongoose.  

 Yellow baboons befriending a troop of banded mongoose - Photos by Paul Molineaux

 

Gerard explained to me why the baboons follow the mongoose around frequently, as there is no information in books or online regarding this.  I was thankful to have many knowledgeable guides around to ask about how nature unveils itself here.  He says that baboons usually prey on small mammals, but respect the mongoose as they provide protection from snakes in thicker bush areas. Mongooses easily kill snakes and snakes are a substantial threat to baboons, and in turn the mongooses are not prey items of the baboon, a real budding friendship I’d say!

 

Rare to see outside of undisturbed and protected areas, the black and white colobus monkeys are easily sighted in the Selous, basking and eating young leaves in forested areas. They are timid monkeys who are not aggressive; while they are territorial they can occupy small home ranges depending on food quality.

 

 Black and White Colobus Monkey (Colobus angolensis) foraging in the Selous woodlands and forested areas
– Photos by Crystal Coetzer

 

During September, Impala Camp was visited for many consecutive days by a small herd of elephants. The matriarch had no tusks, but her off-spring had some good-looking accessories.

We enjoyed their visit in the morning for a few hours, and then they returned just before sunset to forage on our central Jackalberry tree again.  All the dinner tables were set and they carefully navigated the tables that were in their way, with nothing broken. Sweet elephants, you are all welcome to Camp again!

 

 Female matriarch with no tusks; it is said that tuskless elephants are usually more aggressive, we disagree
- Photo taken by Lorenzo Zanacchi

 

Some of the smaller things in the Selous are also surprisingly weird and wonderful too, like the Desert Rose.  Beautiful in colour but deadly in poison. The desert rose has been used for generations by the Tanzanian Hadzabe tribe to coat arrow-tips for hunting purposes.

 The beautiful but deadly Desert Rose (Adenium obesum) - Photo by: Festo Ntayaye

 

Selous offers visitors a unique and surreal environment above the amazing animal sightings and low density of tourists.  Scenery ranging from woodland to patches of savanna and grassland, to rivers with protruding Borassus Palms, create   good opportunities for photographic inspiration.  The rainy season (April-May), when camps are mostly closed, must get quite interesting too, as the river rises 2m or more, filling out the Selous with expanses of life giving water.

 Sundown with Borassus Palms - Photo by Festo Ntayaye.

 Wet season watermark visible on immersed trees - Photo by Micheal Ader

 Sunset Photo by Kharidi Mtili

 Photo by Crystal Coetzer

 

 

GUEST COMMENTS September 2016

 

Sep 9th Neil and Peggy Matthews (USA)

“A great stay and excellent service. Thanks for all the extras. Wonderful stay!”

 

Sep 13th Andreas and Sonja (Switzerland)

“Thanks a lot for a great stay in paradise! Great team, Evans is the best waiter! Tutoanana tena, Maisha marefu, Asante sana, Furaha maisha - See you again!”

 

Sep 15th, Bob Brind-Surch, Organizer of Photographic Safari Tours based in the UK

 “Fantastic as always. Thanks so much for everything”.

 

Sep 17th, Sam and Claire Outram (UK)

“Thank you all for making our first safari experience such a special one. It was such a treat beginning our honeymoon as newlyweds with the team at Impala, we felt very spoilt throughout our stay. We very much hope to come back and will certainly be recommending you to all our friends!! Asante Sana. ”

 

Sep 23rd, John and Teresa Smith (UK)

“Perfect setting, perfect team! A wonderful four nights: informative, relaxing, topped with great service, Thank you.”

 

Sep 24th, Alison and Jerry Herbet (UK)

“You have touched our hearts! Thank you for a wonderful stay – Perfect setting, facilities and wonderful people. Tanzania is a little piece of heaven xx”.

 

Sep 24th, Phillip Briggs and Ariadne van Zandbergen, Africa Series Bradt Guide Authors

“Thanks for a lovely stay. All the staff and guides were wonderful. Great food and lovely setting.”

 

Sep 27th, James and Virginia Allen (Alaska, USA)

“Very special! We had a great time, everyone was excellent!”

 

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Flo Montgomery and David Liebst  |  info@safariadventures.club  I  for Safari check out www.adventure-camps-tanzania.com

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