Sand Rivers Selous

Life in the Selous Game Reserve

Hi. We live and work in the Selous Game Reserve, overlooking a wide bend in the Rufiji River. People from all over the world visit us, and tell us how lucky we are to live here. We're inclined to believe them.

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  • Visit Sand Rivers Selous Camp

Mon, Jan 15, 2018

Up close and personal

It is easy when on safari in the Selous, to get totally enthralled by the big guys - the big cats, the elephants, the buffalo, the giraffe. All seriously impressive, but when you take the time to notice the little guys, a whole other world is revealed. I met these critters over the weekend, and loved getting up close and personal with their weird and very wonderful designs. Isn't mother nature incredible? 

Thu, Jan 11, 2018

Art in the WC

It’s sometimes the small, but special things, that we miss when running around as a camp manager, and I wanted to share one wonderful example - ‘Geoffrey’s toilet.’

Geoffrey is our gardner and has been at Sand Rivers for eight years. Without being told he took it upon himself to decorate the public toilet with a different creation every single day. He comes up with beautiful ideas and it's always exciting to see what wonderful natural display he’s created that morning. Always using local shrubbery and findings (like a baboon skull) he turns it into a brilliant little art piece.

He loves nature so much that we sent him on Nomad's guide training program recently. He has shown such enthusiasm about becoming a scout, which is the first step towards training to become a guide. He just needs a little more practice and guidance with his English and we have no doubt that he will be a super star. We’ll be very sad to lose him in our garden (and loo!) but wish him well in his exciting future with Nomad. Perhaps we can still sneak him in to do his decorations every morning before he heads out on safari...

Thu, Jan 4, 2018

Frederick Selous 101 year anniversary

The 4th of January 2017 marks the 101 year anniversary of Frederick Selous' death. In fact this is quite a historical year for the Selous Game Reserve as it also marks the 100th year of the end of WW1, some of which was fought in our backyard.

Wondering around camp, I stumbled across some bullet casings, belt buckles and a horse shoe – I know we have no horses or mules here and that zebras don’t need shoes so it is more than likely from WW1. How fascinating to be a part of this reserve with so much history attached to it!!

A little history on Frederick Courtney Selous…December 31st 1851 – January 4th 1917

Not only was Selous a British soldier and hunter but also one of the greatest conservationists of our time. He was a keen explorer and learnt everything he could about Africa and its people, plants and animals. He sent over 5000 specimens of African flora and fauna to the British Museum of Natural History, including an incredible selection of butterflies. In 1920 they erected a bust honoring his life as an explorer. The butterfly collection and his bust still stand in the museum today.

Selous was a big game hunter but the American’ s method of hunting appalled him so much, that it made him change his attitude to hunting which is why he became a conservationist. For quite a while he had been thinking about the idea of putting limitations on the levels of hunting and providing areas to protect wildlife.  In fact, he promoted a ‘licence’ system for hunting that is still present today which protects animals from rogue hunters.

He spent over 30 years in the bush, hopping between UK and Africa but his heart always set on East Africa. At aged 63 he had a chance to stand up for Britain against the Germans at the 1st World War. Initially he was refused to join because of his age, but as they were needing more troops, it was decided that he could join in the end, and so he returned to German East Africa. He was a Captain in the Royal 25th Fusiliers, otherwise a unit knows as ‘the old and the bold’. His own unit which he assembled was made up of guerrilla fighters, professional hunters, French legionnaires, American cowboys, and an assortment of other characters, including an acrobat and a Honduran General.

All the while still collecting butterflies.

Selous was one of the fitter and healthier of the men, his only break was to be sent home in 1916 for a pile operation, during which time he was awarded the DSO. 

“The 25th Fusiliers were part of the northern thrust & Selous’ unit moved by train from DAR to MORONGORO in December 1917. From here they marched 8 days in appalling conditions, to KISAKI (where we get our resupply for camp every Friday).  The force dropped from 384 men to about 170. The Drive on New Year’s day 1917 but in fact the Germans were not entrenched and a small rear guard was left, making life very unpleasant for the British using dense bush, elephant grass, snipers and mines to halt their progress.  On the 3rd Jan 1917 they ran into a German rearguard in the hills of BEHO BEHO.  It was here on the 4th of January 1917 that Selous was shot by a German Sniper, and 5 other fusiliers died along with him.  Selous and his colleagues were buried about a mile from the battle in an appropriate spot – uninhabited bushveld, with his beloved birds and animals.  He was sewn into a blanket and a grave marked with a concrete slab and a simple stone with the inscription:’


In 1922, his memory was honored and the area of Selous grave fittingly became a wildlife sanctuary that later incorporated the whole of the Rufiji River and floodplain system – the SELOUS GAME RESERVE boasting an area of more than 17 000 m² (44 800 km²) along the rivers Kilombero, Ruaha, and Rufiji.

The wonderful Walsh family who just spent 5 nights with us at Sand Rivers, went to pay their respects at Frederik Selous grave on the 4th January 2018.

Wed, Jan 3, 2018

Off with the old, on with the new

As the new year kicks in and we say goodbye to 2017, we also say goodbye to Eric and Natasha who are moving to our sister camp in the beautiful Serengeti – Lamai. They have left a wonderful camp for us to take over with all systems in place and very little for us to worry about – a well-oiled ship, I would say.

One of the things we love about being camp managers for Nomad is that every couple of years the managers move to another camp, Julien from Mahale is now here at Sand Rivers, Elisaria is here from Chada and so on, a domino effect of us all moving around, giving us a chance to work in all the amazing corners of Tanzania we love so much. We also have the opportunity to visit each other on our days off as we are not just colleagues, we have become great friends, a tight team. We are all passionate about one thing. Living in the bush close to nature and the wild sounds that soothe us at night.

After a fun months hand over, Julien, Elisaria and myself are now officially the new Managers at this beautiful, very special camp. One of the oldest camps in Tanzania (23 years) its seen a lot of managers pass through and we are honoured to call it our home for the next few years…

Tash and Eric – we are so grateful for our time spent together in the office cove, watching the crocodiles and hearing the noisy hippos whilst teaching us the SRS ropes. Thank you so much - you are welcome to visit us anytime…

So, from myself, Julien and Elisaria we would like to say Happy New year and please come visit us and see all we have to offer. Not only do we have the incredible wildlife and river safaris but there is so much history in this reserve where WW1 was fought. This year being the 100th year anniversary of the end of WW1 in 1918.

Watch this space for exciting offers in 2018!!

Thu, Jul 13, 2017

Black and Blue All Over

The migration may be in full swing in the north, but the wildebeest in the south are making sure we dont forget about them, giving us some lovely close-up encounters not far from camp. 

Africa has two species of wildebeest, black wildebeest more commonly found in South Africa, and blue wildebeest native to our neck of the woods in East Africa. 

It doesn't take a genius to guess that the main distinguishing feature of these two species is their colouring. The blue wildebeest have largely remained the same, while the black adapted to the grassier habit of the south nearly one million years ago. This fellow is a stunning specimen of the blue wildebeest, and we must say that we are rather fond of our blue ones.


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