July 2013: Wild dogs and lions in Selous, Southern Tanzania
So far on our previous trips with Ethiopian airlines we had no reason to complain but the initial hard landing in Paris to pick up some additional passengers was not a good start. The fact that the in-flight entertainment system did not work was not a problem but that this system was still working with VHS videocasettes made us wonder about the age of the plane. After a turbulent night flight we finally landed in Addis Ababa but it took two attempts to get there. It gives a weird feeling when the plane is just about to touch the ground the pilot aborts the landing. The second landing attempt about 15 minutes later turned out to be more successful.
Our flight from Addis Dar-Es-Salaam was less turbulent. As we had bought our visa upfront in Brussels immigration was very quick. Luggage pick-up went quick (four bags on a row---too good to be true). Zaituni of Afrika Afrika was waiting for us at the arrivals hall with the taxi driver to take us to the national airport about 10 minutes away for onward flight to Selous. At the national airport we noticed that one bag was not ours..... With the help of a friendly employee of Coastal aviation my husband got back to the international airport. The woman whose bag he had taken was luckily still there as was our bag. We had enough connection time so no harm done as we noticed the error in time. The tv was on at the airport as Tanzania was playing against Uganda.
Our plane to Selous was a small Cesna plane with room for 12 passengers. When we landed, Peter and the Amara team were welcoming us at the airstrip with snacks and a cold drink.
My eldest daughter- knowing how desperate I was about seeing wild dogs – joked that she saw wild dogs from the plane. It turned out that the guides had that day for the first time in three weeks time seen wild dogs and they were only five minutes drive from the airstrip. I would have never imagined that the first animal I see on this trip to be a wild dog. What a great start especially after we had missed them on all previous safari trips !
The hospitality at Amara during our four nights stay was fantastic. Peter and Anita were great hosts. The food was fabulous...and the bush barbecue we will never forget.
Our guide Joseph was great. He had eagle eyes and found us some beautiful lions. It was just us and the lions and no other vehicles around.
In general wildlife in Selous is very skittish compared to other African safari destinations. Even the giraffes and buffalo's were afraid of cars which may be due to the hunting concessions on the other side of the reserve and poaching being a still a big problem in Selous. Following the vultures we found a dead elephant with his tusks removed. So sad! Especially as this was the only elephant we had seen during our trip to Selous.
There are many beautiful birds in Selous like this colourful lillac breasted roller.
The water bucks were not scared.either (they are not on the menu of the lions because of their smell)
...and after all we had seen the wild dogs for the first time ever!
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