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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Wed, Oct 19, 2016

Coming Home

Stepping off the plane, the sun in my eyes, the warm air comforting me as I take my first steps into my new life. Pure nature and its beautiful perfume surround me as we make our way to the lodge, passing Lion, Giraffe and Impala. The Selous is a magical place, a forgotten world, that stuns you in the most simple way, like a raw uncut Tanzanite crystal. I had read about the Selous and Sand Rivers, I was shown photos and told stories, but being here, seeing, smelling and touching this wild place is an experience that can't be described. Nature was teaching me new and exciting things. As we pass the beautiful Lake Tagalala, I see bird species I have never seen before and watch how birds, crocodiles and hippos enjoy the evening sun.

We arrive at Sand Rivers in the dark, where my new family, a team of passionate, hard working and caring people, greet me with Swahili song and dance.

I am at home.

('Tis the season of babies, plenty of of young Impala around)

(Sleepy young male after a few days of mating)

(Northern Carmine Bee-eater looking as stunning as ever)

(Curious Giraffe, watching us watching him)

(African Fish Eagle perched on an ebony branch over looking Lake Tagalala)

Thu, Sep 22, 2016

The intimacy of the Selous

What an incredible past 10 days it has been. I have had the pleasure of guiding two seperate groups back to back and we have had some incredible sightings. The privacy of all of these sightings made them all so much more enjoyable and unique. Every sighting we had (from the images below) we had completely to ourselves! This is the magic of the Selous. What a place!

(This is my first ever sighting of the beautiful Dickinson's Kestral)

(We came across this beautiful herd of 50+ Eland drinking in the early morning. When we approached, they moved away from the water, into the safety of the bush and let us get quite close. I loved the light at this time and great to see them in motion)

(We came across this Giant Kingfisher fishing in the gorge and were able to get extremely close in the boat)

(You have to make time for the small as well as the big - here you have a Striped Skink)

(The bird life around Lake Tagalala is incredible right now and we have had some lovely Fish Eagle sightings)

(The Greater Kudu populations are doing very well at the moment and we were able to spend over an hour with this group)

(Saddle-billed Stork wading in Lake Tagalala)

Over the past few days there has been a pride of Lion hunting along the banks of the Rufiji River. I am still in the process of downloading the images and footage but will share it with you all once it is all organized! Until next time.

Sat, Aug 27, 2016

Baobab Tails

Since I have been in the Selous, I have been very privileged to experience what i have so far. This magical land never ceases to impress, and if you truly have a passion for Africa, there is no better place to be. I wake up every morning with a sense of excitement; that feeling you get when you know something incredible will happen but you aren't sure what. This is what the Selous Game Reserve does to you. It gets a hold of you and never lets go. 

This is the story of a young female Leopard called Tana, who, over the past 3 months has captured the hearts of our guides and many clients at Sand Rivers. I will be cataloguing her movements over the next few years, hoping to track down the extent to where her territory reaches and to bring you into the life of one of these secretive animals.

(Tana, relaxing in the noon day heat)

She is currently in an area called Tagalala Mwanzo (The beginning of Lake Tagalala).  This is in the same area where she was born and raised, and we often have sightings of her mother along the ridge to the west. We have seen her more often during this dry season and she has always hunted very close to water, when the animals are coming to drink. It will be much harder to track her in the rainy season when wildlife has spread out, that is why it is vital we get as much information now.

(An overview of the area in regards to where the lodge is. The red box representing where Tana currently is)

Clients were lucky enough to see her about 3 weeks ago take down a full grown male Impala. No easy task for any Leopard, especially impressive since Tana is still quite small. This gives us hope that she will become a remarkable mother and raise some incredible cubs over the next 7 - 10 years. 

(A close up of the red box. Here you can see her movements over the past 2 weeks. The bottom point is where she took down the male Impala, the top point is where she is now).

For the last 4 days we have seen her up a baobab tree with one of our resident males. They have been getting quite cosy in the top branches, and i believe Tana will soon be birthing her first litter. I can't wait to spend more time with her and hopefully she will allow us to get close to her cubs when they are born. 

(This is the male that Tana has been spending time with)

(White dashed lines represent wildlife paths to the lake)

The area where they are now is a prime location. The high and wide branches of the Baobab tree offer a comfortable place to rest during the day and it also gives them incredible views of Lake Tagalala just close by. From those branches they can see all the wildlife coming in to drink and can pick and chose their meals as they please. 
Please follow our Facebook page on for day to day updates!

Fri, Jun 17, 2016

The Rufiji River

Boat trips are one of my favourite things to do while in the Selous and I can generally be found in some small corner of the river photographing birds, Crocodiles or Hippo. 
The water level is dropping dramatically at the moment and i think we may be heading into a very dry season. It has already dropped a few meters in the last week, exposing hidden sandbanks and creating more areas for wildlife to be. 

The view from Sand Rivers looking up river

A Croc in stealth mode

African Skimmers in flight. These incredible birds skim accros the water catching fish.

White fronted Bee-eaters dig nesting and roosting holes in the banks along rivers. Here they can be seen clinging to the edges socialising

A close up look

We are at the beginning of the dry season, so over the next few months this river is going to reduce to a 3-4 meter channel, with all the Hippo and Crocodiles congregating within. It should make for an interesting time! The river has so much to offer and every time you do a boat ride you will find something else you fall in love with. 

Tue, Jun 7, 2016

The River Horse!

The new season has started and every one is full is excitement for the upcoming months. 6 days have passed and boy has it been a fun week. The river is slowly drying out, exposing more sand in front of the lodge, and more hippo are beeing seen than in March. 

(Hippo relaxing on the sand bank in front of the dining area.)

At Sand Rivers, we are blessed to have large Hippo populations right in the river in front of us. They move between keeping cool in the water to resting on the sand banks. They are in the process of courting the females right now, and often pull each other into the water for a bit of fun!

(A male Hippo leads the way to the water with a female close behind.)

Although you see Hippo lay side by side in the water, they don't actually form social bonds, and when they leave the water at night, they feed individually. Travelling up to 10 kilometres at night if necessary.

(Hippo leaving the water and crossing the road at 20:00 to go and feed.)

Hippo are herbivores and primarily feed on grass, eating up to 60 kilograms of grass at night. Males and females each weigh over a ton, making them the 3rd largest land mammal behind the Elephant and the Rhino. 

(Another Hippo returns at about 02:00 with a full belly!)

I hope to shed more light onto the lives of some more of these incredible species in the weeks and months ahead. Keep posted for more of these night time images!


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