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07 August 2019

Client Review: Off the Beaten Track in Tanzania

YZ clients Rick and Dorothy F. just returned from safari to Tanzania, where they explored paths less travelled in the Southern Circuit of the Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park.

Part one of Tanzania’s southern circuit: Selous Game Reserve

Our safari started in Dar es Salaam, where we stayed one night pre-safari at the Hyatt Regency. The next day the adventure began, as we flew from Dar to Selous Siwandu Airstrip via Coastal Aviation.

After a quick transfer and briefing, we were settled into our lovely tent on the serene shore of Lake Nzerakera at Siwandu Camp for four nights. The setting was absolutely peaceful – impala quietly grazed outside our tent daily, with a view of the lake as the backdrop and sounds of countless fish eagle that cued in. The service and food were equally fantastic, with wake-up teas and coffees, bush breakfasts set on a table in scenic spots, lake-view lunches back at camp, and private-tabled candlelit dinners set under the stars near the campfire.

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Landing at Selous Siwandu Airstrip

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Siwandu Camp

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A lake and giraffe view from our tent

The activities in the Selous varied from morning and afternoon game drives, to lunch on the lake, boat safaris, to walking safaris. We dubbed the area the giraffe capital of the world, as we spotted more giraffe than in previous safaris combined. Hippo abound along with a host of feathered friends – the lilac-breasted roller was absolutely beautiful to photograph. We also saw warthog, crocodile, impala, zebra, herds of eland, waterbuck, buffalo, baboon, wildebeest, lion, and on the last day two elephant brothers play-fighting in and through the bush. The sunsets on the water were simply magical, as was our stay at Siwandu Camp.

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Part two of Tanzania’s southern circuit: Ruaha National Park

Today we said goodbye to Selous and flew to Msembe Airstrip via Coastal Aviation to Ruaha National Park. We were greeted upon arrival and transferred to Ikuka Safari Camp. On the drive to camp the vastness of the park was revealed and we quickly realized the remote setting was rather special. Friendly faces greeted us and soon we were settled into our idyllic accommodation, set on the edge of an escarpment, for the next four nights. The setting and stay were just breathtaking! Every day we watched the sunrise and sunset in serene, scenic spots of Ruaha. Bush breakfasts were spot on – as were the food and service during our entire stay.

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The swimming pool at Ikuka

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Views of Ruaha from Ikuka

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Spotting lion cubs on a game drive

The first afternoon game drive, we were whisked off to a special location where the morning group had found several lionesses with their cubs. Success! We found the whole lot of lovely, captivating lions. We also saw elephant galore, giraffe, impala, kudu, zebra, black-backed jackal, dik-dik, eagles, hippo, crocs, and lions… lions… lions. One morning drive, we found two lions and two lionesses on an unsuccessful hunt. As we pulled around, one lion unpredictably sprang to his feet and charged the vehicle with a roar. Within a split second, just as the lion nearly reached us, the experienced guide/driver extraordinaire stepped on the gas and sped us away from the scene. Eye-opening, heart-racing, and absolutely the best moment we had on our entire journey. The guide knew this cat – more specifically the lion’s father named “Grumpy”. Grumpy was known to charge unsuspecting souls on safari when hunting or mating. Clearly the legend lives on in Ruaha! A moment we shall not forget.

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Ruaha landscape

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"Grumpy"

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Sunsets in Africa

Homeward journey: review of Yellow Zebra

We said our goodbyes and off we flew, back to Dar es Salaam for our return trip to the States. Although we missed seeing some of the wildlife on our wish list (wild dog and leopard), we enjoyed the repose on paths less travelled. Yellow Zebra Safaris was absolutely great from first contact to welcome home emails. We highly recommend YZ as a trusted source for adventures to Africa. The question is, where to next?! Safari njema!

If you’d like to experience a safari like Rick and Dorothy’s then why not contact us here. Alternatively, do take a look at our blogs and recommendations below for more honeymoon inspiration: