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, Mar 26, 2014

Wrapped Up

Its time for a rest for us and the lodge. Over the past week we have packed up the entire camp. Which has kept everyone very busy, but with a good break insight everyone had a buzz as it was time to go home and see the families. Folding a tent is maybe not as much fun setting one up, but at least some good R&R lies ahead. 

So its 2 months of rest until we we see everyone again back at Sand Rivers Selous. As of the 1st of June we will be letting you all back through our front door to experience the magic that happens in the coming season, so start planning your next safari soon and we hope to see you there. So until then we wish you well while we are out on our own adventures!

Thu, Mar 13, 2014

Tough Love

When in the wild you just have to make the most out of whatever you are given, but quite often whatever you are given is not enough. I suppose this is the premise of nature, survival of the fittest per se. But we have a little friend here at Sand Rivers that is defying such odds. This little fella first made his appearance when a pod of hippos moved in, in front of the lodge. Nothing out of the ordinary was noticed until we had a closer look...we saw this little torn up face, no ears and a scar through the one eye. What happened to him we are unsure of but after viewing his adventurous and fearless personality we can only deduce that he wondered too far from mum and got into a scuff with a crocodile and had his ears and one eye removed.

This most certainly has not changed his view on life. He is a persistent playful little guy who knows what he likes and is willing to do dangerous things to get what he wants.

His favourite game seems to be that of many children, 'Marco Polo', a game that requires a bit of energy, for those of you that have watched hippos during the day for any length of time, you will understand that getting a hippo to move, when it is very much relaxed would most probably be a difficult task. With the persistence of our little friend thats no hard feat at all. He nibbles, nudges, splashes and so on until he finds himself a playmate. He only really has one friend, that is a good 6 months older than he a bit of Marco Polo with this adolescent is good practice for him in later years as once a tag has been made it normally ends in a bit of a 'fisty cuff'. 

But from time to time his friend is not interested in playing and when there are no other youngsters in his age bracket he has no problem going up a class and starts irritating an adult hippo, not a good idea, but when a child wants to play there are no good or bad ideas. I think the picture below describes exactly how this normally ends up.

But at the end of the day, Mum is always a good port of call for some protection. We are sure with his tenacious attitude to anything in his area and fearsome looks that one day this little guy will rule a good proportion of the river but for now he remains a cute little feisty hippo that is always putting on a show.  

Wed, Mar 5, 2014

Hunting Tactics

With the rising waters of the Rufiji RIver, our front garden has been transformed into a magical water world that holds the fruit for life. Our wonderful lush green lawn has been turned into a marsh 1 foot deep which is home to many small fish, frogs and water insects the eyes of several species is a good lunch. Much entertainment comes while sharing your lunchtime with those feeding animals. 

The different feeding tactics of the all sorts of birds has kept us intrigued to see which species is most successful. 

First up we have the Yellow-billed Stork, they employ a form of scare tactics when feeding. Placing their thick set bills open in the water, then prodding around under the water with one foot trying to flush out any morsel. SO standing on one foot while prodding around with the other has its advantages when you get an itch on your head and you already have the skills to stand on one foot and scratch that itch with the other. 

Another favourite is the Saddle-billed stork, an impressive colourful large stork. With its lanky legs and keen eyesight, this stork seems to spot anything within a 10m radius and then darts off the mark and jabs in the water with its bill catching whatever makes its move. If you can imagine somebody walking on stilts and losing his balance, falling all over the place but somehow managing to keep his balance in the end then you have some sort of idea how these short hunts look.

The Goliath Heron is also definitely worth a mention. This humongous heron is like a stealthy spy, each movement seems calculated in order to disrupt its surroundings as little as possible. It can stand as still as a rock for hours waiting for its opportunity to strike. All of a sudden there is a flash and the Goliath has its prey. The kinked necked acts like a spear gun, propelling its speared bill into whatever moves nearby. This Hippo might be slightly large for the Goliath, but they can catch some fairly large catfish.

This is just a few of our favourites...there are many more like the hovering Pied Kingfisher, the swooping African Fish Eagle, the darting Malachite Kingfisher, the plunging Osprey and who knows you might just see the rare Pels Fishing Owl. 

Tue, Feb 11, 2014

Wandering Wallowers

Our new family that has taken to the channel directly in front of the lodge, give us a good reason to go sit up and relax on the sofa's at the lodge. Generally they are pretty docile during the day, wallowing in the channel, it is always quite a sight to see them lounging on top of one another, especially with the cute youngsters around at this time. These little guys are always using mom's back as a float when the water is a bit deep for their short legs.

Every now and again they give us a little show. Yawns are always a favourite for any photographer but quite often the opportunity is missed as they are somewhat unpredictable and tend to be far off in the distance. But with this lot right in plain sight all day, a little patience with the camera from our lodge chairs you should be lucky enough to capture them. 

There are several young hippo that love a bit of a tussle between one another, getting them ready for the future when they will be dominant and fighting for their own rights. 

In the late afternoon hippo's will start getting themselves ready for their evening of feeding. They wander onto land to do their feeding at night all alone, only mother's and calves will stick together, the rest go their seperate ways. 

These giants always provide great entertainment and we hope they stick around right where they are for a lot longer. 

Fri, Jan 31, 2014

Changing Face

Since arriving here at Sand Rivers Selous, we have known and seen very much the same beautiful view down river, with a grassy field teeming with waterbuck, hippo trails winding across the sand banks and of course the mighty Rufiji a little further than a stone’s throw away (not counting the trickle directly in front of the lodge).

That has changed somewhat recently. With one massive downpour from 8pm to 6am the mighty Rufiji unleashed from its banks, it swirled at the foot of Sand Rivers Selous, washing up against the foundations of the lodge. The water raged on all day, massive trees from up in Stieglers Gorge washed down the Rufiji as if they were nothing but twigs. With each passing hour its malevolence eased off. 

 Kate, who never misses the opportunity, decided fishing directly from the lodge would be a great plan, no fish were caught, but at least she can say she tried

We are now left with a very muddy front lawn, the waterbuck hopefully made it to high ground as they have not returned. The hippo trails across the sand banks have the hippos have made themselves a new home, right in front of the lodge. As for the poor weaver who worked so hard at building his nest, his foresight was fairly poor as his, along with many other nests were washed away in the floods, but they are back at it weaving away. 

Our new friends in front of the lodge, makes us think it's a 'Hippo's Life' 


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