Two nights at Sand River Selous is really not enough. What a fantastic place. This absolutely stunning camp is located right on the banks of the flowing Rufiji River. I made my way to the Selous where I was met halfway by Godfrey who would be my guide for the next 48hours. I met Godfrey by the gravestone of the gentleman who the Selous is names after – Captain Frederick Courteney Selous was a British explorer, officer of the 25thRoyal Fusiliers and naturalist, who was shot by a German snipper on January 4th in 1917. He never knew one of the largest reserves in Africa was named after him.
Having climbed over the top of a hill you begin the descent down the other side and the first thing you see on your approach is the stunning view of the winding Rufiji River. The only other place I can safely say is as beautiful would be the Lower Zambezi and this is on par. Another warm welcome from the team at Sand River Selous awaited me as I arrived. My bags were taken to my suite which was one of the first rooms dotting the banks of the river, closest to the main area. Walking through the main entrance you are enveloped by a very warm and cosy atmosphere with a large open living room on the left with deliciously squishy sofas with a bar closed at very close proximity. To the right is the dining room. Further around to the left, hidden out of sight is the pool wrapped around the base of an enormous baobab tree. The best part of everything within this area are the views. You really have to see it to believe it.
Supper was delicious. I joined the delightful camp manager Michelle along with two guests from America. We were sat on one of the lower decks overlooking the river, with just candlelight, glow worms or fireflies surrounding us. The nights here are very peaceful. With the sound of honking hippo rippling replies along the riverbank and the flowing waters of the river lulling one to sleep.
The following morning my wakeup call came at about 6, with a pot of earl grey tea. I changed and made sure I had my camera, binocular, water and a coat ready and waiting for my river adventure with Godfrey. We set off in the cool morning light (the pontoon is located in the main area, just below the deck we had supper on the previous night) Malechite kingfishers flashing their orange and electric blue feathers – for a little bird, they can really stand out! Pairs of pied kingfishers darting quick as a flash into the shores of the river, crocodile and large pods of hippos welcomed us as we meandered our way down towards Stigler’s gorge. It was one of the most serene and wonderful mornings I have had since I’ve been here. Just to be out on the water surrounded by wildlife and their wild noises was truly magic.
Returning for a relaxed lunch of lasagne and delicious fresh salads with a huge choice of dressings, I then prepared myself for a spot of walking at around 4pm where I would meet Godfrey again.
The walk never transpired, mainly because something much more exciting happened. About 30 minutes outside of camp, on the way to where I would be fly camping that evening, there was a pack of wild dog. One of the rarest mammal’s throughout Africa. Three cubs who were quite nervous along with three adult females. We watched them play for ages once the pups had gained their confidence. They rolled and cajoled each other as your own dogs would do at home, chirruping and squeaking to one another until they finally disappeared into the thicker bush. When you wait and don’t rush the wildlife, you can really appreciate the sights and sounds that evolve in front of you. The majesty of such magnificent and beautiful animals. This is literally heaven for me.
Reluctantly, we left the wild dogs to it and made the short distance to my new home for the night. Fly camping, under the stars next door to the Rufiji River. Godfrey kept me company around the campfire and over supper. He was utterly fascinating about his guiding experience and the stories he recounted. Personally, I could stay up all night listening to people like this.
And so, to bed. You would think that spending the night under a canopy of stars, with stranger noises going on about you would keep me up all night. I slept like a log. I knew I was perfectly safe, if I needed help there were people literally next door I could call for and the bed was very cosy. They set up the fly camp with two tents, one square canopy which is essentially a solid mosquito net, alongside ones ‘changing room’ (a normal 2 person camping tent) and this would also be used for sleeping if the weather was inclement. With a warm bucket shower behind as well as a loo, you had everything you needed right there – the sense of adventure was also very exciting too.
The following morning, I sadly departed Sand River Selous and made our way back to the Beho Beho hills (meaning sugar in the local dialect). Godfrey suggested we stop at the ‘Hotsprings’ on route as this is a must for anyone visiting this area of the Selous. These pools, hidden of the beaten track are perfect for a spot to picnic in and have a deliciously warm dip in. Heated from natural warm underwater springs, it is literally like stepping into a bath that is the perfect temperature.
To finish off my wonderful time at Sand River Selous, we saw two huge male lions. The wildlife viewing and scenery around this wonderful camp are absolutely incredible, and as previously said, two nights was definitely not long enough! The staff are impeccable, very friendly and very good at what they do. The guiding is fantastic and the knowledge they have is incredible. The accommodation, although very open to the elements underneath their thatched roofs and mosquito nets, it is all very comfortable and very clean. I would happily spend my last couple of days on earth in a place like this.
If you would like to find out more information about the wonders of Sand River Selous, then please do not hesitate to give us a call.