06.27.2013 - 06.27.2013
Morning game drives at Selous Impala Camp began at either 6:30a with breakfast in the bush or 8:30a with breakfast beforehand at camp. Both returned around noon for lunch. We opted for the earlier drives. Normally, guests might have to share vehicles here but for a very nominal fee, you can pay extra and guarantee a private vehicle. We opted for that as well. Our new guide, Ezra, and driver, Rajabu, showed up right on time and we hopped in ready to go. These vehicles were different from the Land Cruiser we had been traveling in with Maningo. This vehicle was completely open on both sides but had a roof for shade. I liked it a lot better, especially for photography purposes.
We started the morning off with a few birds - an African spoonbill.
A yellow-billed stork and an African skimmer. The skimmer was so cool to watch skimming across the top of the pond.
We then came upon these juvenile giraffe.
They were pretty skittish about getting drinks of water. Giraffes are commonly attacked by predators while leaning down to drink so some would stand guard while others drank and vice versa.
This young one, with mom, was only about a week old.
We drove by a known hyena den but mom didn't have the pups out. She was hanging out by herself. In years past, this den was used by wild dogs but was abandoned by the dogs when a python killed all the pups.
A yellow baboon came wandering by.
Around 9a, we decided to stop for breakfast. We weren't sure what to expect but what we got was way beyond our expectations. Ezra and Rajabu pulled a table and chairs with tablecloth, silver plateware, and a smorgasbord of foods out of the vehicle. There were hard boiled eggs, bacon, sausage, homemade breads, fresh fruit, and cereals. There was also an assortment of teas and most importantly, a cold Coke for me.
After breakfast, we saw some waterbuck grazing.
One showed us the target on her rear.
Down the road there were some female kudu.
We decided to drive down by the water. The hippos and crocodiles were having a lazy morning.
A vervet monkey was playing just off the shoreline.
By now it was about time to head back to camp for lunch. On the way back, Ezra pointed out this elephant skull. It belonged to an elephant that died from an infected leg a few years prior.
Lunch at Selous Impala was served upstairs in the main building every day at 1p. It was beautifully presented in hollowed out coconut bowls on huge trays. Today's lunch was chicken salad, sweet potato cakes, fresh salad, horseradish salsa, and skewered fruit for dessert. The fruit was skewered on acacia spears. Although I didn't take a picture of the fruit skewers, this is an example of what it was speared on.
After lunch, we had a couple of hours to relax in our tent. Usually we read, caught up on our written notes, or looked at pictures. At 4p, we met back at the main building for cookies and juice and our chosen afternoon activity. Today we were going on our first boat ride. Our guide Ezra was waiting patiently and walked us down the path to the boats. The camp has about four small motor boats that hold five or six passengers each. There is a cover on top of about 2/3 of the boat for shade. The driver sits in the back by the motor. Our driver was Toboke, a friendly guy who spoke very little English.
We started out along the shoreline
and came upon a pied kingfisher
then a malachite kingfisher
and a baby crocodile
A much bigger crocodile was off to the left in the middle of the river.
The scenery along the river was interesting. I'd never seen a palm tree with no leaves. It looked like a totem pole in the middle of the river.
Then we came across a colony of white-fronted bee-eaters. They live in holes along the side of the river.
We sat and watched them for a while. They were so busy, digging holes and flitting around.
Some waterbuck were grazing along the shoreline.
We were now in the middle of the river and we came across a group of hippos. Toboke thought it would be funny to provoke the dominant male so he got a little too close for comfort. The male started chasing after us, porpoising up and down in the water. I thought it was scary as hell and I didn't find it very funny at all. I don't like provoking the animals and that hippo could have easily turned the boat over if he'd wanted to.
We passed by a grassy peninsula and this guy decided to show us his teeth, the second reason I didn't want to provoke the hippo.
An African fish eagle surveying the sights from overhead.
Just before sundown, we stopped along the shoreline where another boat was tied. They told us they had a surprise for us so we disembarked and walked up the hill to find four other guests. They had set up a table with a bottle of champagne to welcome us to Selous Impala. We toasted our good fortune at being able to have this wonderful experience.
Brenda and I and our guide, Ezra.
After the champagne toast, we enjoyed the sunset on the way back to camp.
Back at camp, we set about our regular schedule of taking showers then met everyone at the bar and firepit for a drink before dinner. I tried to order a martini but that didn't go over very well. Apparently they are not familiar with the makings of a traditional martini in Africa. They started pulling out Martini & Rossi and Sprite. Ugh! So I went with the normal rum and Coke. That they knew.
For our romantic candlelight dinner of the evening, we were served pumpkin soup (which we again ate very little of and again this puzzled young David, our waiter). The second course was a cheese pate. For the main course, Brenda had the tagliatelle in ragu sauce and I had the nile perch fillet in parsley cream. Both came with rice and ratatouille. Neither was all that good but it was edible. Dessert was lemon meringue pie but at least at this camp the meringue was not blackened. After dinner, while walking back to our tent with our favorite tall Masaai warrior, we heard several hyenas in the dark somewhere. We commented that it sure sounded like a lot of hyenas which just made our Masaai guy giggle at us like a school girl. Just another night in Africa.