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Trip Report - Selous GR & Zanzibar

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Trip Report - Selous GR & Zanzibar

Hi,

For anyone interested, I've just returned from a trip to Selous Game reserve and Zanzibar - about 5 days in each.

Flew BA, London to Dar, and connected to Coastal flight to Selous (about 40 minutes). Uneventful flight and formalities: had already arranged YF jabs and visa in London.

Stayed 2 nights at Lake Manze Camp and 2 nights in Selous Impala.

Both very comfortable, with efficient, friendly staff. Manzeprobaly had the edge for game and scenery, but the guiding at Impala probably more experienced and knowledgable. Impala also has electricity and a pool - useful for the steamy days.

Manze had a variety of animals just walking through the camp - over first breakfast we saw Eles, followed by buffalo, impala, and baboons. Eles were not the 'resident' couple, but still were almost close enough to look in the eye. At night, we were entertained by bushbabies and genet.

Further afield, the game was fairly sparse - due, I understand, to rains in the north attracting most of the herbivores, and some poaching.

Saw 2 prides of lions, and pack of wild dogs, plus plenty of giraffe, hippo and crocs, and loads of amazing birds on the rivers and lakes.

Took a couple of walks, and encountered lion, eles, warthog,waterbuck, plus a couple of carcasses with attendant vultures. Heard, but didn't see, hyena. Plus all the usual dung, spoor and symbiosis between trees and ants, etc, that you never see from a vehicle.

Despite the odd shower, and green look to the savannah, the hippos seemed very hungry, often out foraging throughout the day. We saw 2 on their backs in the shallow lakes.

As a change from spotting game, we had a great trip to hot springs and a lovely swim there. On the way back, we stopped to see the grave of the famous Frederick Courtney Selous - killed in action, fighting German troops in this remote corner of Africa.

Left Impala by interesting boat trip down Rufiji river. Spot blue monkeys as well as Fish Eagles by the dozen. As ever, Coastal Aviation operated a punctual and slick service. No boarding passes, tickets or delays. On arrival at Dar, the luggage is put on the apron. Pax identify their bags, which are then carried to the appropriate plane for the next leg. I think we were on the ground for 5 minutes before taking off for Zanzibar...

Arrived as huge black cloud was about to dump on the runway. Pilot got down in record time, then shouted at ground crew to get everyone off now and get all the waiting passengers on as he was getting out of there before the storm arrived. He took off in about 3 minutes just as the heavens erupted.

Didn't actually see any formalities at the airport. Walked the bags the 20 yards to the outside, and immediately noticed the wonderful new roof that covers the road. Beyond it,the roads were flooded to about 30cms.

However, an hour later at the south end of the island (Unguja Lodge), there was only sunshine and no rain had been seen there for months.

A few days then followed of spotting dolphins, elephant shrews (now have seen the Little 5!!!), red colobus monkeys, and village tours, as well as studying Jupiter and Venus in the clear skies.

Resumed trying to compare Safari, Tusker, Serengeti, and Kilimanjaro. Difficult!

Last night in Stonetown coincided with Eid al Hajj celebrations in Fordhani Gardens. Looked like fun,and the gardens are an attractive spot.

All too soon, the amplified 4am call to prayers outside our window awoke us in time for the 6.45 flight. Again, Coastal are punctual and drop us at the international terminal rather than the domestic.

Their attempts at saving time and stress were thwarted by the main chekin systems being down and a slow progress was made to the departure lounge, where we took off about 45 minutes late.

Some people catching connecting flights at Heathrow (not from Terminal 5) were already stressing about getting across Heathrow in time. Its probably worth staying the night in London - too many things can go wrong. We landed about 20 minutes late, but still had to wait 15 minutes for a free stand!

Bags were delivered about 2 minutes after we got to Reclaim (well done!) and then we were out in the dreich November night, with a stroppy cab driver who did not appreciate the short trip we asked for.....

Now back in freezing UK. Sorting through endless photos of bare branches where huge numbers of bee-eaters had been sitting just prior to pressing the button....

Oh,and we distributed about 5 footballs, which seemed to go down well with the recipients. Happy memories that will last.

Mentioned in this post
Selous Game Reserve
Selous Game Reserve
Lindi Region, Tanzania
Zanzibar Island
Zanzibar Island
Zanzibar Archipelago, Tanzania
Dar Es Salaam Intl Airport
Dar Es Salaam Intl...
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Unguja Lodge
Unguja Lodge
282 Reviews
Zanzibar Island, Tanzania
Kilimanjaro National Park
Kilimanjaro National Park
Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania
melbourne
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1. Re: Trip Report - Selous GR & Zanzibar

nice report

Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: Trip Report - Selous GR & Zanzibar

Well you sneaked that one past us Peter. Thanks for the report. Three weeks and counting for me. Going the other way round. KLM-Ruaha-Selous (5 nights in Manze so will say hi to your friendly Ellies.) then ZNZ where I am hoping to spot Whale-sharks.

FWIW I rate Kilimanjaro tops and Tusker last but I am always open to another tasting. So very dificult.

thanks.

Mentioned in this post
Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park
Iringa Region, Tanzania
Selous Game Reserve
Selous Game Reserve
Lindi Region, Tanzania
Kilimanjaro National Park
Kilimanjaro National Park
Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania
Stanley, Falkland...
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3. Re: Trip Report - Selous GR & Zanzibar

Yes - my favourite was 'Kili-time'. I think Tusker is Kenyan, brewed under licence.

By the way - Lake Manze has a facebook page if you want some of the latest info/sightings.

We had been looking forward to seeing the leopard and her her cubs, featured on the camps web-site,but were informed that the mother had been seen with a large wound, presumbly from a lion, about 3 weeks ago, and then no sign of her or cubs since then. Bummer. C'est la vie.

Tanzania
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4. Re: Trip Report - Selous GR & Zanzibar

nice trip, the elephant shrews are gorgeous, we see them in the plantation a lot, one of the few creature the dogs don't chase, no idea why.

Mfuwe, you'll have more chance of seeing whalesharks off Mafia, they are now being sighted daily, and 'should' be around until March.

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Mafia Island
Mafia Island
Pwani Region, Tanzania
Isle of Man, United...
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5. Re: Trip Report - Selous GR & Zanzibar

thanks titch.

I might just get there then. I am in Selous early Jan so could swing a right hand down before ZNZ.

Brisbane, Australia
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6. Re: Trip Report - Selous GR & Zanzibar

nicely written report.

I'll go the Serengeti any time over the others.

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Tanzania
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7. Re: Trip Report - Selous GR & Zanzibar

mfuwe, come and have a cold kili if you do make it to Mafia!

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Mafia Island
Mafia Island
Pwani Region, Tanzania
london
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for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
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8. Re: Trip Report - Selous GR & Zanzibar

Thanks for the report Peter. Looks like I will also be going to Lake Manze next August, with Mdonya (Ruaha) first. My parents are joining me from the UK and they'll be staying on in Selous to visit Impala Camp as well.

You mentioned that you got your visa in advance. Last time I arrived in Dar I managed to get a visa fairly quickly, although I was one of the first off the plane. My folks have got 90 mins between landing and our flight to Ruaha- do you reckon it's worth them getting the visa in advance?

I'm not a fan of Tusker either- it's a bit too gassy. I seem to remember enjoying the Safari last time.

Mentioned in this post
Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park
Iringa Region, Tanzania
Dar Es Salaam Intl Airport
Dar Es Salaam Intl...
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Stanley, Falkland...
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9. Re: Trip Report - Selous GR & Zanzibar

Hi,

(and thanks for the positive feedback). Stokeygirl - Visa: I got it in London as I had time, and I preferred to have one less thing to think about. On a previous trip, I got it on arrival.

As I think Karl G says elsewhere, there's no great difference in the time to get through to baggage collection. You either queue at the Immigration desks, or queue to get a visa. Both queues seem to move at about the same speed, and most people were through in about 10-15 minutes.

Are you folks using Coastal for the flight? At least they will have a pleasant lounge to wait in - good coffee and a great little bookshop. Only slight drawback as I recall were the toilets, which aren't the flushing kind.

Feel free to let me know if you would like more detail on Manze/Impala. Impala should have a rebuilt lounge area by then, as the current setting is already looking dangerous where the river bank has undercut. It could be a bit off-putting at lunch to look straight down 20 feet into the mouth of the house hippo....

london
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for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
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10. Re: Trip Report - Selous GR & Zanzibar

We'll all be flying Coastal- I'll be in Dar a few days before so will meet them at the airport.

Where did you see the wild dogs? I had more than my fair share of dog sightings this year in Botswana but my folks are desperate to see them. I believe there has been a pack denning around Impala camp this year.