Luxury Safari in Tanzania: Selous Safari Camp, Tanzania
Accommodations are in the style of “Bush Luxury” all are located lakeside for the best opportunities of wildlife spotting. The canvas tents surrounded by thatched huts are octagonal in shape to maximise airflow, the hot air is drawn to the top of the tents welcome relief as Air Conditioning is absent here. The tent is furnished with multi ethnic pieces, a nod to the demographic make up of Tanzania, Zanzibar chests nestle alongside Makonde carvings. Each suite has its own double bathroom with Indian Copper sinks and the most lovely outdoor shower.
The whole set up comes across as environmentally low impact, fitting in perfectly with its surroundings rather than blighting the landscape. All water is sourced from the local lake and heated with solar panels, so a hot shower is no problem. There is no wi-fi or TV and electricity is on only twice a day for a few hours, here you can totally disconnect, perfect for us as we went there for the first leg of our honeymoon trip.
I had always wanted to go on Safari and Mr. M. obliged by booking Selous as part of our Tanzanian/Kenyan honeymoon trip. The suites at Selous are fabulous, but all that separates you and the 5 tonne wildlife is a canvas tent with a zipper. As you jolt awake many times a night to the sound of a herd of something huge crashing about just outside the tent, it can be disconcerting. Also, it can keep you awake in abject terror as Mr. M and I experienced several times. The camp provides you with a whistle to blow should you feel that a Lion attack on your tent is imminent. If you do blow the whistle all the camp Masai Warriors will descend on your tent to fight off off whatever is attacking you, so its not a decisions to be taken lightly. If a family of impala happen to be scrabbling around a bush, you won't be needing the Masai Warriors. We spent a good hour one night under the covers debating whether or not to blow the hell out of the whistle. In the end we didint and it turned out it was a hippo chewing on a tree near our tent…
The food at Selous is absolutely excellent and plentiful. The dining rooms are open air so that you can watch th baboons lope along and listen to Hippos bellowing. The chef manages to concoct a 'please everyone' menu with a bit of a local twist that satisfies and sates every lunch and dinner time. There is no menu choice, you simply eat what you are served, and it never disappoints. The wine offering is a quite brilliant selection of South African choices. South Afica has a long and controversial history of wine making, due to various political and cultural issues in the past few decades their exports to the west have declined to a trickle. So, It was is a real pleasure sampling some of the Capes finest.
As you can imagine, activities at Selous revolve around Game Spotting. There are 2 drives a day, one at 7AM, which we skipped….and the other at 3.30pm. A boat safari is offered too around the lake to get up close to crocodiles and Wallowing hippo, we also skipped this. Here are a list of animals that we saw up super close in Selous: Impala, Zebra, Leopard, Wild Dog, Crocodile, Hippo, Elephant, Water Buck, Impala,Giraffe, Wart hog, Baboon and Spider Monkey and a whole Pride of Lions, we were no more than 10 feet from. I have heard that some of the safari camps are so crowded that scores of buses and jeeps descend on a single leopard spotting, not so at Selous. We consistently had sightings all to ourselves, with our knowledgable guides giving us the animal's back stories and key facts.
Fly Camping, literally camping in the fly, is an option too at Selous. We took this one up and headed out from Selous to the middle of the bush, at which point we jumped off our jeep accompanied by a guide brandishing an elephant gun and a genuine Masai Warrior, and we went on a walking Safari. Our guide taught us more about the savannah in a 2 hour walk than I have learned in ten years of watching the Nat Geo Channel. He explained that spotting the Big Five on a jeep safari is the done thing, whilst spotting the small stuff is what a walking safari is for. Occasionally we stooped so he could point out bush whose poison will make you go blind, or stopped to watch a dragon fly larvae poison other insects and suck out their insides…..Eventually we walked to a camping site near a lake, lit a big old fire and ate dinner served by a butler….right in middle of the savannah.
Selous benefits from several elements which make it a cut above the rest, first of all the camp itself is bigger than Denmark, it has its own water supply in the form of a river running through it. This means animals are out and about at all times of the day, they don't just show up occasionally to go to the water hole. There are not a lot of camps in Selous ensuring you won't have hoards of mini buses in a convoy looking to spot things. The accomodations and food are well thought through and your stay will feel luxurious throughout.
It all very Out of Africa or Call of the wild and no doubt everyone who comes here fancies themselves as a potential conservationist. Watch out for the monkeys though… They'll steal your breakfast.
The Verdict: A fantastic safari experience, one for those who want to avoid the crowds
For Who: Lovers of Nature
The Damage: Not Cheap