Written by: Sahasrangshu Choudhury
Named after Sir Fedrick Selous, Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania is one of the largest game reserves in the world, covering an area of 54,600km².
Most of the park is reserved for game, however a section of the northern park along the Rufiji River has been designated as a photographic zone and is a popular tourist destination.
When I visited the national park this year, the first thing that I noticed was its unique topography. Just one kilometre from the entrance, you are immersed in a forest filled with animals and a variety of birds that is a photographer’s heaven. This became even more apparent when our guide manoeuvred our vehicle into a dense forest of thorns and suddenly stopped two feet away from a great African lion pride consisting of three cubs and two lionesses, which were feasting on a freshly hunted wildebeest.
One female ripped open the stomach and the cubs quickly dived in to devour the entrails. The female then proceeded to roam the area to ensure that no other predator arrived to harm the cubs during their meal.
Meanwhile, the other female cleaned the blood from the cubs by licking their fur.
The cubs had a lot of fun and I watched for 40 minutes before moving to another part of the park and two different lakes where birds, antelope, kudu, zebra, hippo, crocodile and elephant were aplenty.
After driving for a couple of kilometres, the landscape started to change and morphed into swamp land. I had the fortune of seeing another pride eating their share, and after my own hearty lunch in the bush, I saw yet another big pride of lions sleeping under the trees after their midday meal.
At the end of the day, I returned to visit the same pride that I had seen in the morning and the lioness was still keeping a watchful eye on her cubs.
The following morning at Lake Nzekele, we saw a majestic male lion and his large pride lounging under a palm tree, no doubt waiting for the wind to shift so that their smell would be hidden and they could begin hunting for the day.
The best part of Selous Game Reserve and all my lion sightings? I only needed a maximum lens size of 200mm to photograph the lions as they were very relaxed around vehicles so we could get in close.