Published: November 13th 2011September 15th 2011
Day 3 -
We flew from Ras Kutani back to the local departures lounge at Dar (the funniest airport lounge in the world!) and then after about half an hour waiting we flew in a slightly bigger plane this time - about 12 seats - into the Selous Game Reserve to start the safari element of our trip.
When we landed we were met by our guide Adam and driver Daniel who were both really lovely. They asked if we wanted to go back to camp straight away or do a game drive which of course we opted to do (that's the Phillips safari conditioning in us!!).
It was lovely seeing the area, it is so different to the Kruger where we have safaried so far, much less commercial and it's a real treat for us to be driven around with an expert spotter...hang on a minute I suppose we get that in the Kruger too with Dad haha!!
We saw a lot of the normal game - giraffe, impala, zebra, wildebeast, hartebeast etc and then found a couple of gorgeous male lions having a rest in the shade of the tree so we sat with them
for a while and Adam told us lots of interesting facts.
After a few hours we headed to camp which was fantastic although petrifying too! It is in the middle of the bush with no fences and lots of elephants just roam through the camp. There are local massai guides who escort you to your tents (yes tents!!) after dark for your safety as there is no electricity...eek! Our safari tent was fab with a lovely big double bed, running water etc so it really isn't roughing it but a real experience non the less.
After lunch we went for a siesta to catch up from our late one the previuos night, and then went out for another drive with Adam and Daniel. We have a great time again, learning lots, and saw hyena, a nursery of baby giraffe which was lovel as their mums were arriving back to feed them so one by one the babies would hear their mums arrive and run to them to suckle. We also found a lovely pride of about 15 lionesses and cubs of all ages (some very little) having their afternoon sleeps so we were able to park up right
next to them and sat with them for an hour while they started to wake up and do some grooming and playing - really lovely :-)
After our drive it was back to our tent under candle light (literally with there being no electricity) for a quick freshen up and then our masaii came to walk us to dinner which was set out under the stars. All the guests ate together on two long tables and the food was really good. We were tired so decided to hit the sack early but just as we left to go back to our tent we were ushered back into the communal area as there was a lioness in camp only about 50 meters from where we were having dinner!!! I have never seen Anton go so pale so fast - it definitely got our hearts racing! Once we were back in our tent safely zipped away (and Anton had found the closest thing to a weapon he could find - a big umbrella!) we both slept well and woke at dawn to hear the birds singing and some noisy hippos eating outside our tent.
Day 4 -
to do a boat trip this morning and a game drive in the afternoon. The boat trip down the channel was a really lovel experience and it was great to see all the animals from a different view point. We saw lots and lots of hippos and big crocs catching fish right next to us. Much to Anton's disgust I also found myself becoming a bit of a twitcher and there were lots of beautiful birds to see along the channel including lots of varieties of herons and storks and very little kingfishers. Our guide was great at negotiating his way through the channel and away from a few very grumpy hippos which were giving us lots of loud bellows to get off their patch (Anton is definitely not a fan of hippos!).
We got back in time for lunch and then had a little siesta before heading on a game drive in the afternoon with our favourite driver and guide, Daniel and Adam. Adam knew we really wanted to see wild dogs as Anton hadn't seen these before and I love them so he had been asking around for us and one of his friends at another camp
had seen them recently so as we got in the 4x4 he asked if we wanted to go on an adventure and of course we said yes!!
We had to bomb along in the jeep as the area where they'd been seen was quite far away but of course Anton loved that as we went slamming across pot holes lol. And our fantastic guide didn't disappoint was we got up close to 5 gorgeous wild dogs who were getting ready to hunt. We spent around 40 mins with them before we had to head back. We also decided that Adam and Daniel are the lion man as along with our 2 sightings on our first day we had 4 separate lion sightings on this drive - 1 solitary female, the pair of males from yesterday, another single female on an impala kill and then a pride lying around the road.
It really is amazing getting up close and personal with the lions in particular, every time we see them we are within a few meters at most - although we definitely hoped we wouldn't see any more in camp!! Lovely dinner again under the stars with a couple
of glasses of wine this time :-)
Day 5 and 6 -
Day 5 was really busy with 2 game drives to maximise spotting time! We went out early for breakfast in the busy which was fantastic. It was a relatively quiet day for game but lovely drives non the less and the lion men struck again with more fabulous lion sightings. Our driver is so good at getting us right next to the lions - he had to remind me to breathe on a few occasions as we are so close with the lions looking us right in the eye that I would just freeze in my seat!
As we left from our breakfast spot in the bush is was quite amusing to find 3 hyena in a ditch only about 20 meters from where we'd been enjoying our bacon, sausage and egg sandwiches!!
We also saw a jackal and an eland (antelope), and Anton spotted a huge owl in the tree which was fab until Adam told us it was really bad luck in swahili culture...typical Malia!!! In the afternoon we had our second drive and drove up to a huge termite mound we'd
seen from our boat trip - it is the biggest thing ever!
We also found a half eaten buffalo in some swampy water with some happy crocs around and rather amusingly we spotted a huge dead hippo on the bank where our guide on the boat trip had suggested we stretch our legs the day before, swarming with crocodiles...very glad that wasn't one of us haha! We also saw normal game like giraffe, elephants, wildebeast, zebra etc - and and a 'possum type thing' (Malia's descriptions are the best!) aka a dwarf mongoose.
Dinner was very good, steak so Anton was happy and even had seconds. It's really lovely being about to sit with everyone at night and have a good chat.
On day 6 we decided to have breakfast in the bush again as we loved being out early and seeing the sun rise. We had another lovely breakfast, the bread the staff make without any electric ovens etc is amazing! We spent the breakfast teasing our guides about their girlfriends back home, they work for 35 days straight to get a week off and often work for 70 to get 2 weeks off! I think
Anton is considering a change of career haha!
We had another enjoyable morning and saw a big herd of Eland antelope which is very rare. We also came across 2 lionesses on a fresh wildebeast kill (literally about 10 mins old). We were able to watch them chomp away on the kill, taking it in turns to rest in the shade and chase off the vultures. It was so out in the open that the lionesses were really struggling to guard the kill and stay cool in the sun. Again we were only a few meters away so we had a great (but very gory) view of the inside of the carcus. Anton took about a million pictures and was thrilled with his 'real Africa' experience!
In the afternoon we opted for another boat trip but this time on the lake as we'd heard the sunset was amazing. It was such a special trip and just breathtakingly beautiful. We were able to get really close to some sunbathing crocs - they are amazing creature, very calm really. There were lots of hippos in the lake again but much more room to manovere round then and they weren't as
bothered about us being there as they'd been on the channel so a much more relaxing trip! We did see one very poorly hippo with a big chunk missing from its side and it had been left back from its group so it wasn't looking good with crocs circling....
Our guide set us up in the boat to watch the most perfect sunset - there really is nothing like sunset in Africa, it is our favourite time of day and just so beautiful. As our boat was heading back to shore it was causing lots of little fish to jump out of the water in front of the boat which a little kingfisher quickly clicked onto and used the boat to catch his dinner!
We had a wonderful time at Lake Manze - a real bush experience and definitely one we won't forget. Best part? Watching the lionesses up close on their kill and watching the tiny lion cub suckling on it's mummy.
P.S. on day 3 Anton got to drive the landrover - he loved it of course!!!
There are more photos below