Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania

Flying into the Selous Game Reserve

This is the first of my posts on our recent holiday, our safari in the Selous Game Reserve was truly a trip of a lifetime so deserves at least a couple of posts. I thought why not start right at the beginning with the initial booking and all about the flight in to the reserve.

I have wanted to go on safari for as long as I can remember, the idea of finding some of the worlds greatest wildlife amongst its natural habitat has always been something I knew I would have to experience at least just once. Our original plan was to go on safari for our Honeymoon but once we worked out costings and how much we would need to put aside each month (on top of saving for the wedding and a house deposit!) we decided to put our plans back a year. This worked out well as we had two years to pay the holiday off. I contacted so many different companies and travel agents for quotes as I really didn’t fancy putting my own package together, in the end we went with Freedom Africa as they were recommended by a friend and gave me great advice on which area we should visit.

My first choice was of course to safari in the Serengeti or the Masai Mara however after speaking to our agent she suggested we opt for an area away from the crowds. This meant we wouldn’t get the same amount of game or a chance to view the famous migration river crossings but it also meant we wouldn’t be one of 20-30 jeeps surrounding each sighting and wouldn’t see as many other guests whilst out on game drives. So we agreed that something a little less crowded would suit us and we were soon booked up for a 3 day safari in the 50,000 square kilometre Unesco World Heritage listed Selous Game Reserve.

After our excellent flights with Emirates to Dar Es Salaam via Dubai we arrived at the international airport and were transferred to the domestic airport for our short flight with Coastal Aviation into the reserve. I had been dreading the domestic flight right from the start as not only did they mean a tiny plane but also that we would only be able to carry 15kg including hand luggage each. Even though the domestic airport is perhaps no bigger than our flat and very laid back, they did weigh our main bags and popped handwritten labels with the number on them and then left them to the side, no passport checks or any other checks. I am not even sure the woman looked at my ticket, I just gave our names to very pleasant lady at the one desk.  As I said all very laid back.

Dar domestic airport

Domestic airport lounge at Dar Es Salaam

Departure board

The Departure board

So laid back in fact that I began to panic when our flight didn’t look like it was going to leave on time, I had no reason to worry however as we ended up being the only ones on the 12-seater plane so the pilot and staff were even more chilled out about boarding us than normal! I say plane, this is a prop plane so pretty much like flying in a tin can with blades on the front! Or that’s what it felt like to me, I was pretty much terrified for the whole 40 minute flight.

plane 1

plane 2

plane holding hands

I tried to enjoy the scenery as it is an amazing experience to fly over such an incredible place but I can’t say this was the most enjoyable part of the trip for me (we had another 2 journeys left on the domestic planes) the other half on the hand loved every minute and read his Kindle on the last flight.

plane shadow

The shadow of our little plane against the bush

Flying into the Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve

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The Rufiji River

I can’t quite describe how landing in the middle of the bush on a tiny airstrip feels except for that of relief once the animals had finally cleared the strip and we were able to land. I don’t remember much else due to sheer panic! Once on the ground, the pilot slowed down the propellers and we were warmly greeted by our guide from the camp. In no time at all our bags were loaded onto the open-sided jeep and we were off on our first game drive to the camp.

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Stiegler’s Gorge Airstrip…the smallest airport I have ever been to

in the truck

Quick change and we’re ready for our first drive

I will write about our beautiful camp and our game drives in further posts as there is just too much to say and too many pictures for this to be a one post blog.

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