Tanzania: once visited, never forgetten. The people are amongst the friendliest in the world, the beaches deserve to be better known and the wildlife is outstanding. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and an awe inspiring sight. I was lucky to experience the best of both worlds on safari and at the beach in Tanzania, and am sharing with you as part of #ThrowbackThursday. Here’s a little taster or what is to come…
We were lucky to experience all three of the Selous Safari Company’s outstanding safari locations, starting with the incredible Siwandu camp. Our trip had been faultlessly organised by Cazenove+Lloyd, the experts in tailor made luxury travel, who arranged all transfers and comfortable flights with Kenyan Airways. Arriving at Siwandu, we were delighted to spot these two giraffes in the tree tops. We’d never seen them in the wild, it
Siwandu is perfectly situated in the Selous Game Reserve, the largest reserve in Africa and four times bigger than Tanzania’s famous Serengeti. It’s actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its diverse habitat and extensive array of vegetation and wildlife. With over half of Tanzania’s elephant population, 40,000 hippos, 4,000 lions, 2,100 species of plants and 400 varieties of birds, it’s the perfect place for game viewing.
The camp itself is split into two parts, North and South Camp – both are very well appointed, and the “tents” are spread out over the lakeside, giving you a prime viewing spot of the wildlife from your wooden veranda.
I say tent, but these are incredibly comfortable and with secure mosquito netting and a thatched roof to allow for constant airflow. We particularly enjoyed the outdoor shower!
One of the great things about Siwandu is the range of activities on offer – not only can you do the classic game drive, but also a boat cruise and a game walk. Feeling brave, we started with a walk – it’s actually very safe as long as you walk behind your guide and listen carefully to what they say.
The walks take place in the early morning or late afternoon so it’s not too hot. After a long morning excursion, our guide convinced us that we had another hour’s walk, but he was joking as when we rounded the corner this little treat was awaiting! Could there be a better spot to breakfast? The nice thing was that our guide and a couple of other staff from Siwandu joined us for a coffee.
Our boat cruise ended up being a private one as everyone else was doing a game drive, and our guide pointed out all sorts of wildlife, such as these colourful bee-eater birds. They nest in the little holes that you can spot above the branch and they make a lovely chirping sound.
Siwandu is such a great place that I really recommend you visit, but it was time to head on to our next destination, Jongomero. Located in the remote Ruaha National Park, it’s home to 560 species of bird and one of the greatest populations of elephants in any African park.
The camp has a huge living area which wouldn’t look out of place on the cover of an interior design magazine. Guests at Jongomero all eat at the communal table with the staff, and we loved the opportunity of meeting so many people from different countries – Brunei, Australia, France, South Africa – everyone had a great tale to tell about their safari.
This really is the place to come if you want to experience wildlife without lots of other jeeps nearby. The manager was from South Africa and told us that in some reserves there, the animals are almost tame as they are so used to humans. Here, they can be elusive – we didn’t see any of Tanzania’s famous wild dogs on this trip, but when you spot the animals it is very rewarding. These blue wildebeest are a type of antelope that look a bit like buffalo from a distance.
Perhaps one of the most rewarding sightings was of this pride of lions – we rounded a corner in the jeep and just chanced upon them quietly basking in the sun. What sort of person would kill these magnificent creatures purely for “sport”?
After another beautiful sunset, we flew to our next destination, Ras Kutani, an intimate beach-front hideaway.
The open air lounge is the perfect spot to relax after a hard day’s sunbathing…
The highlight of our beach stay for me, though was the turtle hatching – we just happened to be there during turtle hatching season and our camp works with Sea Sense, an NGO that works to preserve endangered marine species. It’s hard to imagine that sea turtles have been nesting on Tanzanian beaches for over 150 million years. They can easily fall prey to birds in their slow crawl to the sea, and we were there to fend off any predators. After 30 years the female hatchlings who make it safely into the water will return to the exact same beach to lay their own eggs.
Have you ever been on safari? What animal would you most like to spot?