Thursday, December 12, 2013

Who's the Mane Lion?

We finally got a look at the two 'brother's', we have heard much about them from all the guests that have been lucky enough to experience these two masters of the bush. But there is a big difference between experiencing something yourself and hearing a story about it. So we were thrilled to find them lazying around as lions do most of their days.

B.A. Baracus
Our first impression of this guy is his mane, he seems to be doing a B.A. Baracus impersonation, with the whole mohawk and sideburn look going on making him look pretty mean and tough.The mane of the Lion is an useful indicator for us, it allows us to tell the physical condition of the specimen. 

As some of you know that have been to visit us already, the Selous is not a cold place. So a nice thick mane is probably going act bit like a thick wool scarf on a hot summers day. So for our Lion to grow a long dark mane he has to be in top physical condition in order to allow for his temperature to be maintained at a regular temperature. So in truth it is quite the contrary as he is no longer quite as bold as B.A

This is B.A's brother, showing that baldness is definitely not a hereditary trait as it is with men. He is obviously much healthier with his thicker mane. So why on earth would a lion need this thick wooly scarf in the heat of Africa. This question has been debated over the years and needs some in-depth explanation and  would probably be best explained alongside the king himself with one of our guides here at Sand Rivers Selous.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Laughter is brightest where food is best!

Sand Rivers would like to thank our wonderful team for all the continued effort they put in to making the guest's experience one that they won't forget...along with the fantastic guiding, game viewing and varied activities to be found in the Selous and along the Rufiji River, it is the little extras that make the whole experience a special one.  We would like to show you who is behind the magic and highlight some of our fantastic team who work tirelessly to ensure your comfort is kept at the highest level here in the middle of the bush!

This week we focus on the team who keep your drinks cool and your bellies full...!

Flora our Front of House Manager is always there to greet you with a tremendous smile and warmth - you will often find her standing guard over your lunch doing her utmost to fend off those cheeky Vervet Monkeys with her homemade catapult - she's a mean shot!! ;)
Daudi our Head Chef is the 'Cool Kat of the Kitchen' and is seen here preparing wonderfully fresh handmade pasta with such delicate passion!

Benadita is new to the team and what a wonderful addition! She is incredibly passionate about cooking and her perfection for quality ingredients shows in her beautiful presentation she creates on your plate!

It's often a challenge to source and supply such great ingredients here in the middle of nowhere and we strive to find only the best! Whether they are trucked, sent by train or flown in through the mailbag, we are sure you'll be impressed with the effort that is presented to you!

Meal times are big here in the bush and we look forward to welcoming you to our table and will do our best to make sure you leave with the ubiquitous "Safari Belly!"

Stay tuned for more on the Sand Rivers family......

Monday, December 2, 2013

The 'Mitey' Rains

This time of the year is known to us in the Selous as the 'Short Rains'.This we have found to be rather non-descriptive and would like to rename it to the "sparse, sometimes morning, mostly afternoon, big storm, heavy and light rains."

The daily sequence goes something along the line of the following...
'Another fantastic sunny day here at Sand Rivers Selous'
Says Cameron
'Why yes it is Cam, what a wonderful place we live in'
Says Kate

An hour later...
'Should we enjoy a cold drink along with the view down the Rufiji River?'
Says Kate
'That is a splendid idea, drinks are on me...'
Says Cameron

'Oh goodness, where did that humongous cloud come from' 
Says Kate
'Did you not learn about the water cycle in Geography class, haha'
Says Cameron

5 Minutes later...
'Quick get the brollies, we are going to get soaked '
Says Kate
'What on earth are brollies!?'
Says Cameron

A couple hours after the rains have fallen...

'Quick, lets go get ready for dinner' 
Says Cameron
'Wow look at all these fluffy red insects on the ground'
Says Kate
'Awesome, they are called Red Velvet get out your macro lens'
Says Cameron
Says Kate's Camera

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Royal Feather

Another beauty found here at Sand Rivers is the Purple-crested Turaco. A mere glance at the bird suggests it is somewhat of an avian monarch. After a little bit of research it becomes pretty obvious that this bird is most definitely just that.

The most obvious thing to me would be the purple crest, purple historically being the colour of royalty and this crest representing its crown. This bird has attitude, acting like a King of the treetops.

Looking deeper into the bird, you will find a specific genus of the bird, Tauraco gallirex porphyreolophus, gallirex directly translating as King Cock Where this name came from is unknown, but has obviously stuck with it for some time as it is so accurately describing.

Natives of Africa have a similar opinion as many Royals and Chiefs of Africa in many different tribes have used the crimson flight feathers of Turaco's as status symbols of such position, most notably the Swazi and Zulu tribes, whose boundaries happen to lie within the domain of this magnificent bird.

This special bird can be seen all year round at Sand Rivers, often they are heard calling in the distance with an explosive kok-kok-kok, if you are lucky enough to see them bouncing around in the canopy and wait for it to display its beautiful crimson flight feathers in their short treetop flights.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Say What...?!

Going on a safari is an amazing experience, the visual effect is generally what sticks in your mind. But when you start to listen to what you and others are actually saying in the safari car, boat or your own two feet you actually start to wonder how many people have actually strung those words together before. These are a couple of our favorites heard recently at Sand Rivers...  

'Look at that bird on the rock...that's not a rock, its a Hippo!'

'I'm sure that Lioness just winked at me' 

'That Pig is just so graceful'

'That Croc just jumped off a cliff'

'I don't care what anybody says...Baboons are my favorite'  

'Wouldn't it be nice if a Leopard was just ahead of us sitting in the tree...ooooh look a leopard!' 

A few more expressions have been heard without photographic evidence, so we will leave the rest of the space blank for your imagination and wait for you to come visit us letting you connect a few words that are not normally heard next to one another. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Böhm’s Away

As a birding enthusiast, much excitement was anticipated at the chance of living in the Selous. There happen to be many species that are found in southern Africa that occur in the Selous, as well as a heap of new species to record. So as a South African, I was itching to get in and see what I find.

One such species that does occur in a small region of southern Africa is the Böhm’s Bee-eater. This beauty occurs north of Tete in Mozambique moving across Africa into Zambia and north up through Tanzania to the border of Kenya. Areas of which I have traveled through, but only ever managed to catch glimpses of them as they are normally found in dense bush and woodland .

I had been buttered up with tails of seeing them on a daily occurrence before my arrival in the Selous, so high expectations had been laid. On our arrival at Sand Rivers we were shown to our new home, deep in the Miombo Woodland, where our lovely  new cottage stood, open to the elements with a 180˚ view of the staggering woodland. 

It was within minutes of putting down our bags that the Böhm’s presented itself in plain view, perched on the branch awaiting a flying dinner. As reading through my new East Africa Bird field Guide 'it is not a gregarious bird, usually in pairs' was very much the line I was on when a partner joined. 

So after a bit of playing with the camera and editing due to mottled light in the woodland I was finally able to produce something that could possibly be used as identifying shots to add to my birding catalog.

Expect a couple more posts on the fantastic birds of the Selous.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Gone Fishing....

After many hours of having your "Safari Massage" in the vehicles there is no better way to stretch your legs, feel the sand between your toes and immerse yourself into river life here in the Selous than grabbing the cool-box and heading to a secluded spot and casting off for the afternoon...

Gently cruising up river is a great way to take in all the action along the banks, these beautiful Bee-Eaters are abound this time of year

Any river trip here in the Selous is one you want to take easy as you navigate your way through 100's of cavorting hippos, wonderful to get so close to these powerful animals
Hamadi wins with the biggest catch of the evening, a beautiful Golden Catfish - local techniques clearly pay off!

Under the ever watchful eye of sunbathing crocs as we glide past the sand banks

A fishing trip here is a great way to spend a relaxing afternoon soaking in river life at it's own pace.

Come and join us for a cold drink as we watch the sun set on the river and bid farewell to another beautiful day in the Selous!