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October 2013

Selous Safari camp

Posts Tagged ‘ Selous Safari camp

A Hughes USA 2013

Hi Ed,Thank you so much for the note. We has an AMAZING time on our trip, truly an unforgettable experience and we were thrilled with the whole itinerary. Jongomero is a really special place and Kim, our guide, and Brian, the new manager, were absolutely fantastic. Brian had lots of personalized touches throughout our stay, from notes to small parting gifts, and he and the whole staff really took care of us.

Siwandu was a different kind of experience altogether and our butler Alphonse was absolutely wonderful. We had a fabulous guide, Mohammed, who we were lucky enough to have to ourselves. It made the experience really personal and we were really able to take our time with the drives – we even saw a lion kill a wildebeest, what a sight!! Plus we loved the campfire drinks, and the bbq night – spectacular. The managers were also wonderful and very friendly.
Ras Kutani was its own experience, truly romantic and so relaxing. I loved that we walked barefoot the entire time, didn’t realize the whole lodge was on sand, wonderful surprise. We both had wonderful experiences with the staff, specifically David, Kali (one of the staff, super friendly and taught us how to play bao!), and Alice the masseuse. We had some mosquito issues with our netting while we were there, but David was kind enough to move us on our last night and we were put in one of the hilltop suites, again SPECTACULAR. It was the perfect way to end our honeymoon.Thank you for all of your help coordinating Ed. It was an unbelievable experience and everything was flawless from the transfers with coastal, to the lodges.

Please let me know if you need anything else!
A Hughes USA

E. Fleming and J. Ledyard, UK (2012)

Dear Africa Odyssey,

[I have lost my email Contacts so if this can be passed on to the man who planned our trip, we’d very much appreciate it.]

This is a belated note of thanks for our trip to Selous Safari Camp in Tanzania last July 21-25. You may recall, my husband was very excited about the trip, but I was quite nervous. I want to thank you for your prompt and reassuring replies to my questions. As a result, I embarked on the trip with enthusiasm, which made the trip an exciting adventure, not a fearful one!

Ironically, thing I feared most, the ride in the prop plane, was beautiful — not a single bump, just a feeling of serenity, surrounded by blue sky, looking down at the African landscape. We were greeted so graciously and cordially by Emil and staff with cool drinks, escorted to our exquisite rooms to freshen up and meet up for a boat ride, where our adventure began–and didn’t end until we left.

We saw every animal we had hoped to see, and many more. Giraffes, elephants, hippos, zebras, wildebeest, lions and cubs a few feet from our Jeep, chimpanzees with babies riding on their parent’s backs, even a large turtle walking along by itself. All agreed the high point was a sighting of Wild Dogs. Our driver was determined that we would see these rare animals. He did, and we saw them —and their cubs— migrate from one area to another. We never expected to see them, and treasure the video and photos we were able to get.

My favorite experience, was the day I took a nap while everyone went on the boat one more time. When I woke up, I sat at the antique desk on the veranda where I wrote postcards with a giraffe a few yard away, elegantly nibbling leaves . As if on cue, the man who took care of us, appeared with a tray of tea and freshly baked apple cakes. He was so gracious. As I enjoyed these delicacies, a baby elephant ambled slowly across our land. What a memorable afternoon.

I could go on and on. Altho I approached this trip with ‘fear and trembling,’ I would love to return. It goes without saying my husband, John Ledyard, was utterly thrilled with this trip: the quality of every detail, the experience itself, and becoming acquainted with Emil and all the lovely people at Selous, including the Maasai warriors.

With much appreciation and joy,
Elaine Fleming and John Ledyard

S. Broeker, 2012 (UK)

Hi Ed,

Thanks for your mail. The trip was absolutely marvellous.

Ras Nungwi
Ras Nungwi on Sanzibar was the perfect place to start our honey moon. Great service and a fantastic atmosphere. The food is great and the scenery is stunning. Also not too expensive.
We strongly recommend this place to everyone!

Selous Safari (private camp)
I don’t believe it gets any better than this. At Selou you get your own buttler and maid. The food is amazing. The staff is extremely friendly without being too on you. As honeyooners they gave us extra attention and organised the most amazing surprise dinner. In general -without giving away too much- these guys are good at surprises.
The game drives are wonderful, too. We saw more animals than we hoped for. The guides were absolute pro. We cried when we had to leave.

Ras Kutani
The setting though is extremely beautiful. On your arrival you’ll be rowed over a little lagoon to the hotel. Very romantic! If you do decide to stay at Ras Kutani you should stay in the villas on top of the hill or in one of the bungolows at the beach.

Overall we had a great time. Everything worked out perfectly!

CHEERS

S. Broeker, 2012 (UK)

J Brewer USA 2012

Lodgings – The lodgings were all excellent.

ArushaOnsea House was beautiful, but there was only there enough time to get a few hours sleep and some breakfast before we were on our way. The staff was very welcoming.

Tarangire – Oliver’s Camp…… Wow! Ken and Michelle are great people and great managers. They employ absolutely the best staff, chefs, and guides. It was great sitting on the front porch of our tent and watching elephants and waterbuck stroll by. The food was great and could be served in any of our nice restaurants at home. At mealtime guests all sat together at one table with Michelle and Ken at every meal listening to and entertaining us. One of the guests did have a problem when a honey badger invaded their outdoor shower and kept them at bay for a while. Although the showers at Oliver’s are ensuite, there is one side open to the outdoors. At our other camps, the showers were accessible only from the tent. Perhaps that’s a better design when it comes to keeping the shower free of wildlife. The guides, Mesenga and Erasto, were outstanding and knowledgeable about all the wildlife and birds. This was our first game experience and everything was a wildlife highlight. There were great numbers of elephants, zebra and buffalo, lion with zebra kill, lions roaring at night, elephants eating the brush outside our tent at night, wildebeest, impala, giraffe, cheetahs, wild dogs, gerenuk, hartebeest, a python in a tree, kori bustard, dik diks, secretary birds, eagles, owls, vervet monkeys, hornbills, baobob, sausage and candelabra trees, and on and on. We went on 2 night drives, which were fine, but they need to do something better about spotting wildlife in the dark (perhaps a spotlight on each side of the vehicle instead of a single handheld light with the spotter). Does anybody in the bush use infrared sensors to find game at night?

Lake Manyara – The drive was interesting and of course totally different from a game drive. We were disappointed with our Asilia guide, Esto, who took us from Olivers through Lake Manyara and on to Ngorongoro Crater. He was knowledgeable, but it was near the end of the second day before he warmed up to the cordiality shown by our other guides. And we had quite a scare when he apparently fell asleep at the wheel and started to drift off the road. Luckily we were both awake and called to him. At Lake Manyara we did not see any lions, in trees or otherwise, so that was disappointing, but we did see olive baboons with babies, blue monkeys, some elephants, lots of pelicans, hippos, storks, flamingos, and other birds to make up for it. We saw a dead elephant (our guide said it died of natural causes), with rangers in the ready to remove the tusks. Very sobering.

Ngorongoro Crater – Sopa Lodge…. We really expected that Sopa would be too “touristy” and crowded for us but it was not. It was a really nice place. We had a room with a great view of the crater and of course our welcome champagne from you. It doesn’t get better than that! The room was great and the bed had a hot water bottle in it to keep us toasty at night. Nice touch. We went down to the Crater early (left at 6:15) so we could see the sun rise on the Crater. Beautiful. Wildlife highlights were 2 black rhino, lions including a grants gazelle kill, cheetah, hippo, black backed jackal, zebra, buffalo. crowned crane, vultures, buzzards, kites, our only African hare, hyenas and one very lucky wart hog that did not end up as dinner for the hyenas.

Serengeti – Serengeti Under Canvas. They have a great reputation and their service lived up to it. Our butler, Alex, was quick to prepare a shower and quick to offer a drink (we loved Amarula and Afrikoko liqueurs). Their chef was great…. we especially liked his soup recipes. They varied our eating arrangements to sometimes be at single tables on the lawn to sometimes having all the tables being under the dining fly. There’s nothing that can compare to the romantic atmosphere of a gourmet dinner by candlelight in the wilds of the Serengeti. On the downside of Under Canvas…. they are not on top of their maintenance issues. The tent had missing zipper pulls, including the inside pull on the main door/flap, and had zippers that had ripped away from the canvas. The safari vehicles had plastic floor covering that was worn though and cracked. It didn’t make the vehicles any less useful, but for the premium price paid for Under Canvas, it would seem they could afford to keep things close to 5-star quality. It also seemed odd that the staff was not as concerned regarding safety issues …. At our other camps, when we were escorted to/from our tents at night, the camp personnel would be shining flashlights / torches into the woods and grass to see if there were any animals and it was obvious that they were watching out for our (and their) safety. At Under Canvas, there did not seem to be any care taken when moving through the camp at night. The butler walked with us with a flashlight, but did not shine it anywhere but on the path, then he walked back to the staff area with no flashlight for himself. We probably wouldn’t have noticed, so much, except that at Oliver’s, when we were escorted to our tent, when the flashlight was shown through the grass, many eyes were looking back at us. All benign eyes, luckily. Under Canvas had all sorts of animal sounds at night, but the personnel didn’t take any extra care to assure anything near our path was benign. Now to the wildlife. You suggested we stay 4 nights in Serengeti to increase the chances of seeing a crossing. Well we got to see wildebeest crossing the Mara River (our guide said 5000 or more) within 2 hours of landing at Kogatende!!!!!! It took our breath away. We had just landed at Kogatende and the guide picking us up said that we should hurry because the wildebeest looked like they were ready to cross, and he asked them to wait for us 🙂 It was awesome. We watched them for a couple of hours gathering to the left, then turning and running to the right bank of the river, going down to the river’s edge and then back again. And then all of a sudden one leaped into the river…….and we had a crossing. The vehicles all made a mad dash for the river’s edge and for 19 minutes there were wildebeest leaping into the river, being swept downstream against the current, toward hippos and crocs, but from our vantage point able to make it safely to our side of the river. The only sounds were that of wildebeest gruntings and their hoofs pounding along the riverbanks. After 19 minutes all that were going to cross had and there was silence. It was so surreal – we were totally overcome by the moment! Our guide, David was with us for this and all our drives. He was very knowledgeable and really worked hard to find wildlife for us such as lions including cubs, leopard, zebra, impala, buffalo, giraffe, ostrich including nest with eggs, buzzards, kites, eagles, klipspringer, eland, waterbuck, topi, oribi, baby hyena, rock hyrax, grants and thomsons gazelles, even a dung beetle, and on and on and on.

SelousSelous Safari Camp – The absolute top accommodation was Selous Safari camp. The tents were beautiful. The view to the lake from the tent was beautiful. The elephants, giraffes, and baboons wandering past the tent was exciting, not to mention bushbaby and hippos sounds at night. The dining area was beautiful. The scenery around the camp was beautiful. As with Ken and Michelle at Oliver’s, Emiel at Selous is a great manager, and we enjoyed his company at meal times as well. He also had a great chef and great staff. Our butler, Hassam, took excellent care of us and always wanted us to eat more! Our walking safari with Gerald was fun and informative. The boat safaris, with Makuma and Kandindi, on the lake afforded nearly uncountable species of birds (fish eagle, kingfisher, spoonbill, herons, etc.) and nearly uncountable numbers of crocodiles and some exciting moments of big game near the shore. But don’t let those comments take anything away from our jeep safaris in Selous. Our guide, Allen, did everything to be sure we got to see the most that we could. When he heard that wild dogs had been spotted, he took as many road short cuts that he could to get us to see the dogs before they moved off or before it got dark. It was a pack of 10 dogs and the pups were cute as they chased one of the vehicles as it drove off. And for our sundowner, he took us to watch a pride of 12 lions eating a buffalo. Awesome. When Allen took us to the airport for our flight back to Dar to return home, he took a detour so we could have one last game drive of greater kudu before we left. Allen is a real treasure. Other wildlife we saw there included yellow baboon, mongoose, weavers, woodpecker, heron, kingfisher, nile monitor. The list just goes on, including ebony and mahogany trees.

Top game viewing moments were…. Hundreds elephants in Tarangire. The truly endless plains with what looked like a million wildebeest and half a million zebra (as far as the eyes could see) and the incomparable spectacle of wildebeest crossing the Mara river in Serengeti. Rare black rhino in Ngorongoro. Being within a few feet of lion prides (and their kills) and wild dogs in Selous.

Our check off list consists of 46 different mammals, 143 birds, and 15 different kinds of other critters like snakes, lizards, etc.

We will send a few of our best pictures that captured the best moments. With over 2100 pictures snapped, we haven’t reviewed them all, yet, but I will skip ahead to some I know were of some exciting for us. Since the picture files are large, we’ll send them via separate email posts, a couple at a time.

We’ll definitely be in touch when we’re ready for our next African adventure. It’s too good to only do once.

J Brewer USA 2012

H Murphy 2012 UK

Hi Ted,

Thanks for your email, I had been meaning to email you actually to thank you for a totally amazing trip.

We had such a fantastic time, each of the different places were brilliant in their own way, and we are very grateful to you for suggesting such a perfect itinerary.

Each stage was exactly what we wanted and needed and for just the right amount of time.

Ras Kutani was so relaxing and beautiful and the food was delicious, just what we needed after the wedding.

Selous was simply breath-taking from the beautiful lodge with the picturesque setting right by the lake, to the adrenalin fuelled game drives, walking safaris and fly camping. We are so glad you suggested the walking and fly camping, these aspects really allowed us to feel that we were getting stuck into the whole safari and we had some really close encounters with lots of animals, our guide Mtambo was excellent really knowledgeable and reassuring. Our game driver Allen was also brilliant, we saw everything, Lions, Elephants, Water buffalo, Hippos, and warthogs but to name a few – he was very funny and patient too. Our sunset cruise on the lake was also incredible, Kandini took us to a tiny island and set up drinks and canapés as we watched one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen.

Then to spend a week on Zanzibar afterwards just relaxing and taking it all in was the perfect end to the holiday, we enjoyed snorkelling, kayaking, boat trips and a visit to the local fishing village. Raz Nungwi was lovely, really relaxed, great food and staff and a lovely beach / pool area, our room was also very comfortable, clean and a good size.

We also got upgraded to Club both there and back which was fantastic and such a good start and end to our honeymoon.

In short, it was one of the best holidays we have ever been on and we loved it – thanks very much for all your help in planning and booking it!

Best wishes,

Hannah

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