Ruaha and Selous were two very different kinds of experiences and made an ideal contrast to each other. Both were thoroughly enjoyable in different ways and provided many lasting memories.
A truly wonderful experience!
Holiday Safari Diary
Our transfers to and from the Southern Sun were prompt and efficient, and explanations were given regarding both the journey and the hotel.( Courier and driver Winnie and Peter).
A good choice of accommodation after a long flight. Room was clean and comfortable enabling us to have a good night’s sleep, and we felt suitably refreshed for the start of our safari the next day. Breakfast was excellent with plenty of choice, and the staff were courteous at all times. Hotel gardens were well kept and we managed to spend a short time looking at the birds at the front of the hotel.
Ruaha River Lodge
The Banda (nº14) was in an excellent location near to the new riverside dining area. (Having only been open for 1 week) Room was clean and comfortable. The balcony enabled us to experience the most amazing sunrises with the sun rising in the ‘V’ of the two mountains opposite. (Wow!) Mosquito nets and insect repellent were provided.
Meals were very good with plenty of choice (even when the elephants knocked down the wall and stole the breakfast fruit one night). The early morning complimentary tea and coffee delivered to the banda was a bonus. Service by the staff was excellent and Management (Karen and Meta) took a keen interest by finding time to speak to everyone each mealtime. The food provided when we had early starts or a full day out was also very good.
We asked if it was possible to experience a ‘sundowner’ (this had not been done before). Management went for a trial run down by the ‘hippo’ pool one evening and arranged for us to experience this the following evening. They also provided us with a complimentary bottle of ‘bubbly’ and nibbles.
Each evening a camp fire was lit by the river, allowing for pre-dinner drinks and Karen was always there to greet everyone and was able to tell some interesting stories .
Rufiji River Lodge
The Banda (Family 3) was well situated and very private. It was in an ideal location and not far from either the dining or reception areas. The plunge pool was a great addition which meant we did not need to use the main pool. The room was spacious and clean. A turndown service was provided each night when the mosquito nets were closed and the insect repellent sprayed whilst we were having evening meal.
Quality of food can only be described as excellent, and this also includes food taken with us for early and full days safaris – almost too much of it! The waiters were very friendly, and efficient and were always willing to converse. (The more you conversed with them the happier they seemed to be. One even sang a song in Swahili to us! Angela (the manager) was pleased to see this and later told us that two of them had only been working there about a month.
Each evening before dinner were able to sit round a camp fire for pre-dinner drinks and had the opportunity to speak to other guests.
This Lodge is in an ideal location to watch the sun set across the river.
With having the VIP safari, our guide was completely flexible regarding timings and was always prompt. We experienced an early morning, an all day, a morning/evening split safari and a sundowner.. The animals were plentiful and not nervous of vehicles. We saw every kind of wildlife we had hoped for including 3 leopards, 3 cheetahs and numerous lions, including 2 cubs. We also saw some young male lions which had taken down a young elephant. Elephants, giraffes and hippos were always around and we also came across a huge herd of buffalo which stampeded across the road in front of us with dust flying everywhere.
Wildlife around the camp was exciting with elephants passing by our banda one night, a hippo running through camp one morning and lots of other animals coming to the river during the day.
Again, the VIP safari gave us complete flexibility and the guide was very helpful. Animals were more difficult to find here, and a lot more nervous of vehicles.
We saw a lot of lions , giraffes, hippos, crocodiles and antelopes. We only saw one herd of 5 elephants close up , but what an experience. One of them did a mock charge towards the vehicle 3 times which was good to watch although a little frightening. We found a hyena with a pup peeping out of the tree trunk (the first time the guide had seen the pup although he suspected there would be either one of two).
Bird life was prolific with some amazing sightings of the colours of some of the birds. The boat safari provided a variation to the land safaris and was very relaxing. We almost had an extra passenger in the boat when a huge crocodile leaped off the banking into the river. We watched the ‘White-Fronted Bee-Eaters’ getting ready for roosting on the river bank which was very interesting. The sunset was great from river level.
His command of English and knowledge were excellent and he knew just where to go to provide the best chance of seeing the animals. Whenever we went out, he stopped every couple of hours for drinks/comfort breaks and always at a scenic place or picnic site. His experience was invaluable and he provided a first class service
Selous (Guide Hassani and driver Saverine)
The guide’s knowledge was excellent, (he had been trained by Josephat and said that he still contacts him if there is something he does not know) particularly his ability to identify the many species of bird. He regularly produced a book to show us what we had just seen. His communication skills and command of English were very good. The driver was very skilled, and with the ability to go off road in Selous, he drove in places which almost seemed impossible. The only minor point he could have improved on was – sometimes he tried to get a bit too near the animals and by the time the vehicle had stopped the opportunity to get a photograph had passed.