Before I start this blog, I will apologize for the number of pictures... But there was so much to show you. You can chastise me for posting so many if you like, but it was hard to get the number down to 58. This safari provided me with more pictures than I bargained for. Again, my apologies.
Now on to the story....
We were up at 6AM and after a breakfast of rice porridge (a first for me), bacon, sausage, eggs, juice and coffee, we were driving 4 kms to the gate of Selous Wildeerness Reserve.
The park opened and 8AM and the sun would be beating down on us all day.
We were warned that since we were coming in January, our chances of seeing all the animals might be more difficult since the grass was growing, and trees had leaves. If you come in the summer months, things are brown and leaf-less so spotting animals is much easier.
Not to be detered, Dayna and I were in the backseat of the land cruiser keeping our eyes peeled for any sort of wildlife.
I had never really done a multi-day safari before so I
The Skull Of An African Buffalo
This place is the real deal. No hiding the truth here. The animals kill and eat one another.
wasn't sure what to expect... and all I can say is that I had a blast! We were driving on rough roads, over land, through swampy areas, all under the unrelenting African sun. We were continuously slathering on sunblock, making sure we wouldn't be too burned to enjoy the experience.
First we saw some giraffes, then baboons, and then impalas. The animals just kept coming... We found a lake where there were so many hippos, it looked like a sandbar of sorts. They were all huddled together warming themselves in the sun.
We saw birds.. eagles, storks, ibis, vultures, plus others I can't remember at this point. We saw impalas by the thousands, zebras, crocodiles, more giraffes, widebeests, antelope, warthogs, African buffalo... and this was all before lunch-time.
For lunch we dined under the shade of a giant baobab (bow-bow) tree. Our chef, Scarce (Scar-sss) had prepared a picnic lunch for us that consisted of vegetarian quiches, a fresh salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, water, soda & beer. We sat in folding director's chairs and took in the sights of animals in the distance. Katuku (Kah-too-koo), our diver told us that in the old days, the
african people would pray to the boabab tree, asking for many different things. It was a tradition that really isn't practised anymore. I figured, "What can it hurt?"
, so I made a silent prayer that we would see the remaining animals on our list.... Hey, when in Rome...
After lunch (and my prayer), we set out to find elephants, lions, leopards, wild dogs and hyenas. There are no rhinos in the Wilderness Reserve so I will have to see them another time.... perhaps when my sister and brother come to visit in July.
You would think that finding elephants would be easy... Not necessarily so. While they are big, they managed to keep themselves away from the tourists. Katuku (Kah-too-koo), our driver decided to head to the lakes in case they were looking for water in the heat. We traveled around a couple of lakes and were having no luck until I noticed three big brown masses in the distance. That is when we found a family... a father, mother, and baby in a marshy area drinking and cooling off.
The cool part about being in a place like Selous is that you can go for a
very long time without seing another vehicle filled with tourists. Unlike a zoo, where people are crowded around the elephant exhibit, we found ourselves out there alone with these incredible beasts. We sat there quietly. The only noise we heard was the sloshing water as the elephants made their way through the marsh, the breeze blowing through the trees and the shutters on our cameras working over-time. We took so many pictures, not knowing if we would see more...
The three wandered away and we set off on another road only to find another herd of elephants mingling with giraffes.
Following the elephants, we were on a high... the only animals left on our grocery list were lions, wild dogs, leopards, and hyenas.
We jokingly told Katuku that we wanted to see the wild dogs next. These creatures look like a science experiment gone wrong and they are mean as hell. They even look nasty. Without missing a beat, Katuku drives along the paths watching the traks in the dirt, and wouldn't you know it, he pulls up to a dry river bed that is shaded very well. There, we found a pack of wild dogs sleeping
& resting. Katuku was amazing!!!
We spent about 10 minutes looking at these creatures and then it was time to press on.
Being on constant look-out for animals can be quite tiring. Honestly, you are constantly looking to your left and right, ahead and behind for anything you may have missed. By this time, it was about 4PM and we were tired. It was time to head back to the Hippo Camp and tell the others what we saw that day.
The lions, leopards and hyenas would have to wait until Day 3 of our safari... All we needed was the gods at the baobab tree to be in sync with us so that Dayna's trip to Selous would be perfect.
I have had good luck so far with everything I have done on my trip to Africa... I just needed it to hold out for one more day.
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