Selous Game Reserve
We land in Selous at 9.30 in the morning. Zacharia, our guide, and Emmanuel, our driver, are already there waiting for us. We are together with other guests and the cars are lined, each one for a different group.
The day starts with a game drive inside the park. As the car is open, the view is fantastic and the sensations are halfway between amused and terrified. No protection, no way out just in case… Let’s be positive!
The bush reveals itself immediately as incredible as usual: the endless road in front of us hides wonders.
A warthog family: mum and dad walk keeping up their tails so that the little ones can always know where to go.
The landscape is unbelievable: the umbrella trees sprout everywhere and the whistling acacias host their friends: huge ant colonies. Their relatioship is vevy singular: in exchange for hospitality, the ants protect the plant from herbivores. As soon as one of them gets near to eat, they come out and start running up and down the thorns, disturbing the meal.
The common name for this acacia is ‘whistling thorn’, due to this mutualism. At the end of each thorn there is a bulb. Ants make holes in these bulbs to create their rooms inside and, in case of wind passing through, the bulbs whistle. Astonishing! Listen to the true story directly from Zacharia.
Selous Game Reserve is named after Frederick Selous, an English explorer and hunter, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s enormous: 44.800 square kilometers. Basically the 6% of all Tanzanian territory. It is crowded with mammals, but the part dedicated to tourism is a very small one, North of Rufiji River.
The river is the longest of the country and it is navigable.
The Reserve is also famous for the big number of wild dogs living in it: the highest number in all Tanzania, to tell the truth. Unfortunately, I am not so lucky as to meet them. Wrong season? Misfortune? A real pity! We try desperately, but… I am sure next time we will win. I have the chance to admire other beauties, from lions to giraffes, to elephants, hippos, crocodiles and other special creatures of the bush.
For lunch we reach the other groups at the tented camp. Everyone is very welcoming, the food is good and a colony of gigantic ants is crossing the lounge heading towards a big tree where it can find a new home.
The hot is humid: we need a little refreshment in our tent before facing one of the best experience I’ve ever had: a boat safari. But this is another story: you must wait another little bit to read it.