Walking Safari in Selous Game save
Many of the safari camps in and around Selous Game save offer their guests the opportunity to take part in a walking safari. Selous Riverside Camp on the edges of the Rufigi river are no different. The walks are comparatively short lasting around 1-2 hours and covering no more than a mile or two. The ground is usually fairly easy for most people and all the people on our walk wore trainers or similar comfortable shoes.
The walking safaris at Selous Riverside start early. We were woken up at 5.30am for a 6am start. There was just time for a quick cup of tea or coffee before boarding the vehicles to head for the days chosen walking location. As Selous Riverside is located outside the Selous National Park, we were also going to walk outside the park. Our destination was around 10-15 minutes away and we were soon on our way, heading by a nearby village and down one of the many side roads where we pulled over.
There was fairly thick vegetation all round us but paths that had been cleared by passing elephants and hippo were clearly visible so we followed these. Our group of 6 walkers was accompanied by an armed ranger and a local tracker. We were given a short briefing explaining procedures should we come across any wildlife and once everyone was happy, we set off. The ranger led the way and we all followed in single file with the tracker falling in behind.
Although it was fairly doubtful that we would come across any larger wildlife such as elephants or leopards mainly due to the noise we made, our ranger did tell us that he has seen a large selection of such animals during walks. This kind of walking safari is more about the smaller things such as insects, plants and birds. The first item of interest we came across was a termite mound that stood at the minimum 2 metres tall. The ranger explained that although the termite mound looked quite large, two-thirds of the system was underground. Quite impressive when you consider the size of the little creatures who built it.
The one inescapable sound was the almost deafening sound of cicadas which were all around us. Measuring between 1-2 inches, the cicada are similar to locusts and if you look closely, you’ll see them all over the trees. They go by a 17 year life cycle and are preyed upon by pretty much everything in the wild. We were also shown plants like the Sausage Tree which takes its name from the sausage shaped fruit it produces. However, the fruit is much large than the traditional English breakfast sausage as it grows up to a metre in length and can weigh over 10kg.
The walk lasted for an hour and although it was all too easy to get the feeling it wasn’t much different to a walk in a wood back in England, the occasional tracks we came across gave us a reminder that we were very much in Africa. Once back at the safari means, we were soon on our way to camp for breakfast before heading out on another day on safari in the Selous Game save.