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.
Sun, Nov 6, 2016
When Richard Bonham stopped doing walking safaris in the 90's and decided to build a lodge instead, he really did have his choice of the best locations - and boy did he pick it. Sitting along the banks of the Rufiji River, at one of its widest points, the location has so much to offer. The sun setting in front of you, Hippo snorting in the river and all sorts of wildlife, big and small, living within the camp. This is a photographers dream!
For many, coming on safari is a once in a lifetime trip, so why not take advantage of it? Both Natasha and I have a strong background in photography, and for us, it is a way to connect with and learn about nature. It brings us even closer to a world we are already close to. We don't get out into the bush as much as we would like, but there are plenty of things happening in camp - if you look hard enough and have an interest of all things wild.
The following images were all taken around the dining area at the lodge. You don't always have to go out into the bush to see wildlife, why not just sit by the river and wait for them to come to you?
(A small grasshopper on the seed pod of a Dessert Rose (or Impala Lilly as it is also known).
(One of the Genet Cats that frequent the lodge at night)
(A Striped Skink poses on a rock near the car park. These Skinks are great for practicing your macro shots and always allow you to get quite close).
(You will often hear the cry of the Bush Baby at night and the evening is a perfect time to track them down and photograph them. They move from branch to brach looking for food so you have to have some patience).
(It has been a pleasure to watch this Sun bird go back and forth over the past few weeks, hopefully we will see the chicks soon. The nest is right in front of the dining area).
(A Southern Cordon Bleu feeding in the lawn outside our office).
(I spent about 15 minutes with this little guy and needless to say he was not camera shy!)
Wed, Oct 19, 2016
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
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)
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
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.
(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 www.facebook.com/SandRiversSelous for day to day updates!
Fri, Jun 17, 2016
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.
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