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!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dog Days...

Many people come far and wide with hope of catching a glimpse of these 'painted' wild dogs, a highlight to any safari and a great experience to watch the pack interact as if you are part of their environment.  We were very lucky to spend a sleepy afternoon with this pack who had puppies a few months back...
Waking up out of his slumber from the heat of the Selous..

The pups were very relaxed watching us watching them and were getting restless as the adults slept on
Once the parents couldn't tolerate the pups eagerness to get going for the evening's hunt, all of a sudden the whole pack rippled with energy and excitement, jumping and playing greeting each other as if they hadn't seen each other for months! High pitched yelps and squeals echoed around the Miombo woodlands creating an eerie sense of primaeval wild instincts of the pack ready to get to work!

Tug O' War!  Once reunited, the pups teased and played with each other bounding around and playing as kids do under the watchful eye of mum and dad, lovely to see the family bond as the pack interacted

What a privilege to be invited in to their world and observe them in such a relaxed moment in their day, we will be sure to update you again when we are lucky enough to stumble across these beautiful beasts again.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Our New Home in the Selous

A fresh start to our new lives in the Selous. We arrived to lush green everywhere we have settled in as if we had been here for years. We are in awe of our new home. Taking a leisurely cruise on the boat and seeing our home from the great Rufiji River for the first time showed the true beauty of our new home.

Our new home awaits you on the banks of the Rufiji.

Mornings we awake to beautiful views up river, incredible light beaming through onto the Rufiji. Sitting on the deck with a cup of steaming hot coffee and of course a faithful camera to capture every moment. A morning at Sand Rivers would not be complete with local Waterbuck gracing the morning light, bouncing and playing in joy after surviving another night in the wild.

The true locals of the Rufiji, we are lucky to share it with them.

Days brings something new each it cheeky monkeys steeling a bowl of sugar, young crocs hunting fish in-front of the lodge, the call of the African Fish Eagle echoing down river, hippos fiercely fighting for dominance of the Rufiji or the local water monitor scurrying through the undergrowth. Have a look at this fella relaxing in the sun, looks like a tough life.

Relaxing in the sun, I would suggest some sun block.

Evenings come to life with an amazing sunset down river. A great time and place to sit back, put your feet up and have a cold drink after a long day on the boat, in the car or on your feet. Sharing stories of your day with us and other guests is the easiest way to make new friends. We hope to see you all here at Sand Rivers Selous to share our wonderful new home with you.

Saying goodbye to a great day, made much easier by views like this.

See you soon,
Kate and Cam

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The green explosion!!

A couple of weeks ago this little chap appeared on our stone gate post outside the mess.                 Bright white against the black rocks, thermo-regulation was clearly outweighing camouflage               on this hot as Hades Selous afternoon.

Foam nest frogs are famous for the half rugby ball sized nests they whip up around their eggs and leave suspended from an overhanging anchor point above a water source. It’s a fantastic way of keeping the spawn out of harm’s way until they’ve developed into the tadpole, at which point they drop down out of the nest and hit the water swimming.

Even more amazing are the occasions when the nests appear above a dry pond, seemingly doomed due to a little premature excitement. Then it starts raining and all of a sudden these kids are growing up in prime real-estate – the adults have actually predicted the coming weather change.

We should have guessed this guy was up to something – low and behold within twenty four hours it started raining…….really raining!!

A few days later and it’s as if we can hear this place growing.

The African Dog Roses are heavy with flowers.
There is budding new growth almost everywhere we look.

The impala ewes have delivered in fine form and the garden is teeming with little ones.
Even the impala lily outside our office has flowered again.
These guys are clearly happy about it!!!