Written by: David Liebst
Authentic Tanzania Safaris has had the pleasure of taking their repeat client friends, the Karlssons, on safari several times over the last nine years. Together they have been to the Wami Mbiki Wildlife Management Area, the Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park and Mkomazi National Park and each time has been a unique and unforgettable experience.
When they contacted Sven this year for a safari he wanted to try something different and so suggested that they go boating and walking along the Rufiji River to see how far they could get. Naturally they said yes.
A little while later and the party were standing on the shores of the Rufiji River ready to set off with a boat packed full of camping equipment, food supplies and excitement.
The Rufiji River is a sight to behold, teaming with life and beauty around every bend. Being at a low altitude of about 60-100m above sea level the river slows down and widens outwards by the time it comes through the Selous. It has created a huge network of channels as well as five large lakes each with its own character. They ambled along the river at a leisurely pace taking in the magic around them. By late afternoon they had reached Lake Siwandu and found a beautiful spot under some shady trees where it was decided to make camp.
The camps are privately tailored to suit everyone’s needs. Not having a truck at their disposal meant packing light but the party was afforded every comfort they could have asked for by the camp staff, who worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone was relaxed and happy. In their own private wilderness, they shared drinks around the fire before dinner, speaking of the adventures to come on the following day.
After breakfast it was decided to see what the river had to offer and Sven and his guests set off on a morning boat safari and came across two elephants. They spent an hour watching them before continuing on to look for the next camp.
The goal was to move up the river slowly each day, camping, boating and walking in the hours where the heat would permit, and spending the time in between taking naps or fishing away the hottest times of the afternoon. Walking safaris from unexplored locations is something special as you are not sure what you will find in the Selous’ diverse landscape, nor what interesting characters that call the park home you may meet along the way. This is in fact what made this type of safari so special in the past, each new and exciting thing you see, you cherish and enjoy, whilst knowing that you are moving on to somewhere else where the next treasure is waiting for you.
They spent four nights moving like this until the final camp, which was at Stieglers Gorge. This is not passable by boat and so they decided to turn around and start the journey back. Flowing with the river now, instead of against it, they were able to reach the first camp site in a single day.
This was a safari that the trio will treasure and Authentic Tanzania certainly aim to do more of this type of safari in the future. Although they saw plenty of animals, there was more to the experience than that. They journeyed through the Selous, away from civilisation, making camp where they chose and spending their days as they wished with a constant sense of adventure and freshness. It may not be the best way to see all the animals in a park, but a boat and walking safari was never going to be about that. It is about spending time with good friends doing something amazing in one of the world’s most majestic and exciting places.