I am going to combine two days on one blog. You will see why
Woke up at 6:30 by the smell of hot coffee being brought to me. We all met at 7:30 for breakfast ready to go. We waited and waited. Finally I went back to my hut, got into more comfortable clothes and of course fell asleep until around 11:30. It was raining hard as I got dressed and then went to the dining and reception area. No news yet that the chimps had been found.
At one lunch was served. The homemade breads are fabulous. I then had a great Lightroom session with Will. Then went back to my room and of course, took another nap.
I was woken up by the steady rain at about 3:30 and walked over to the dining area for afternoon tea and to see what’s doing. The trackers had found the chimps way up on the mountain and the hike would be about two hours straight up. I decided to not go and went with Cat on a two hour jungle hike. The jungle hike was challenging enough for me. We went up and down walking over a small and narrow path over branches, roots and vines. The sweat started to pour down and eventually saturated my entire body and clothes. We occasionally stopped and our guide told lectured us on some of the vegetation and we saw monkeys jumping from tree to tree. I started to think of a nice hot shower. By the way, the other group who went up the mountain did not find the chimps. Nature does what nature wants to do.
After my long hot shower we all met around the camp fire and were served drinks. The sky was full of stars and the scene was so relaxing and inspiring. Dinner was another feast. Lamb was served and was so soft that you did not need a knife.
Wake up is at 6:30 and breakfast at eight. We leave on the boat at 8:45 for our last adventure and Camp. We are flying to southern Tanzania. Our Camp is named “Sand Rivers Selous”. The Camp is located on the Rufiji River. The temperature will be warmer, but we are told that the wildlife is plentiful.
We all met for breakfast at eight after packing. Our luggage was all put on the old boat and we left at around nine after saying our goodbyes to the wonderful staff.
How would I rate Mahale and was the experience worth it? Mahale is a beautiful Camp, the food is wonderful and the staff is great. All of your needs and wants are immediately taken care of. Lake Tanganyika was beautiful and the water was so clear and fresh. Trekking for the chimps was a great experience. Seeing them in their natural environment was amazing and of course taking pictures of them. We only had one chimp trek due to the weather and where the chimps wandered to. I would have loved to have at least one more trek. I learned so much on my first trek and photo shoot that I wanted to get some more amazing shots. For someone who has never experienced a safari, I would first go to one of the other Camps where the wildlife is abundant and diverse.
We arrived back at the Airstrip at around eleven and shortly thereafter boarded our flight. We are first landing back at Katavi to pick up two more passengers. We landed at Katavi after about a forty minute flight and stayed in our seats as the other two passengers boarded. I immediately asked them if it rained in Katavi. The wildlife needs the water so bad. They said it has poured the last few days. I was so happy for this special place.
The next flight was about ninety minutes south to a primitive Airstrip somewhere. We landed and saw lots of wildlife as the plane came to a halt. Layover time was fifteen minutes for refueling and the bathroom.
It was then onto Sand Rivers Selous. The flight lasted about one hour and we finally touched down at three. I immediately noticed the difference in the terrain. The terrain was green and lush. We all boarded three land rovers with our luggage. The air was dry heat. Sean decided that we should go straight on our afternoon game drive and check in later. Smart move. Most of us have not picked up a camera in two days and we needed to get back to what this trip is about. We drove through some beautiful African terrain and then spotted a large family of wild dogs. There must have been at least twenty including some pups. Wild dogs are disappearing and they are not easy to find anymore. We were treated to a real show. They were resting and then became active. As the daylight lessened, they became more active. They hunt during the night. Some of them started to chase some impalas, but never caught any. We then drove towards Camp but intermittently stopped for giraffes and hyenas. As we got closer to Camp, we saw some spotted leopards. What a start to the wildlife at Selous.
All of the staff was waiting for us as we arrived in the dark. I was led to my room but let’s call it a suite. I was so hot that I immediately took a nice cold shower. The water for the shower comes over a small rock waterfall. How different and unique.
Dinner was served at eight. Most of us are very tired. This was a long day sitting in a little plane with almost no leg room. I am writing this blog laying in my bed under a mosquito net. I could tell you that there are bugs in my mosquito net and much more outside. The fan is blowing on me and it is uncomfortably warm.
Wake up time is five and we start our morning drive at six.
Talk to everyone tomorrow