From the Azura Selous Team - March 2018
‘We really are the leopard capital of the Selous’, commented Joseph our Head Guide. And no wonder, as just that morning in our open Land Rover with a family visiting from the UK, we had watched one resting in perfect photographic range in a natural cove in the dry riverbank that is known as hyena stream. Eventually she slowly sauntered off, with cameras clicking and videos rolling. I had seen the brother and sister duo just the day before, also posing dutifully for our cameras, and they are now a regular sighting and highlight for all of our guests. Leopard capital of the Selous – yep that’s us. Loved by the 5 families that were in camp for February half term – absolutely!
But it wasn’t just leopard we saw that morning, as the day started with wild dog up by our airstrip out on the hunt, the female haunched ready to charge down an impala. We chased them at speed through the bush and rough terrain for an hour or so, watching them go about their day. Nenga our guide somehow found his way through the bush and ravines to keep them in sight, and when he couldn’t find a way his trusty panga emerged and he cut his way through. Even the off-road driving at Azura Selous is an adventure for families, let alone the wildlife! We all agreed that wild dog have to be one of the most exciting animals to watch, but we became distracted by the myriad giraffe, an elephant tearing a bush apart for his breakfast, and then the eternal debate so loved by children of which came first: the termite mound or the tree? That necessitated a trip out of the vehicle, always a highlight for children in camp, before a spectacular bush breakfast at the edge of the Ruaha river.
After breakfast it was the turn of the lions. We have been seeing them daily close to camp and hearing their roars at night. The recent battle for territory that we thought had been resolved seems to be continuing apace, with an injured female separated from her pride and lying alone beneath a tree. She had been fine the day before, and is a female my son first spotted as a small cub, so we hope that she has the strength to recover. The rest of the pride were lolling in the shade, while the children on the vehicle whispered about the length of their manes – in the Selous they are much shorter than elsewhere – a genetic development thought to be due to the warm conditions year round.
After lunch in camp, where a refreshing swim, a massage for grown ups and bow and arrow making lessons for kids ensued, we set off for the afternoon drive up to the plains of ‘Little Serengeti’. The buffalo of the days before had moved on, leaving the throngs of wildebeest and zebra, yet more giraffe, and shier eland and hartebeest. We discovered 4 hippos have become resident at our new waterhole up on the plains, recently built to enhance our game viewing in that area in the dry season, which must be having an effect because there were plains game simply everywhere.
Then off to the final highlight for that day, the vehicle ‘stumbling’ upon the surprise scene of lanterns in the bush, a blazing fire, and the team assembled for a very special BBQ bush dinner. Marshmallows on sticks in the fire for children, champagne for adults, stargazing in the clear night sky, and everyone excitedly sharing their safari stories with talk of ‘the best family holiday ever’ and promises to return. With hot chocolate orders in for the morning wake-up, it was time to head back to camp, and exhilarating short drive in the dark, with 3 spotted hyena in the headlights on the way home. A bumper day of game viewing on safari at Azura Selous, and the perfect half term holiday for families.