We enjoyed life in our tent by the river.
And so did this elephant.
One afternoon when we were walking back to our tent, we saw this huge, hungry elephant walking around the camp and pulling the branches from the trees.
We quietly walked towards the safety of our tent.
As we sat in our tent, we realized that the canvas that stood between us and the elephant did not provide the kind of safety that we really needed. The elephant came close when he saw and heard us inside of our tent. However, he became more interested in the trees than the pests inside of the tent, and he soon began to munch on a tree that was so close it caused our tent to shake each time that he pulled off a branch. While it was a pretty scary experience, we are very happy that it happened. It adds to excitement of living with the animals in the wild.
Of course, every wildlife safari experience necessitates a game drive. We were blessed with the presence of Hauly as our driver. Hauly knew that we wanted to see the wild dogs, and he did his darndest to see that we saw some wild dogs.
The animals in the Selous are afraid of man. There are two reasons for this behavior. First, they are not used to the tourists driving up to look at them all day long. In fact, the entire time that we were at the Selous, we never did see another car with tourists pass by. The second reason for the shyness of the animals is that they fear the hunter. Most of the Selous is accessible to hunters. In fact, Theodore Roosevelt hunted here. The hunters are only able to hunt a specific number of specific animals in specific locations. However, the animals are not aware of these restrictions. They only know that man is the enemy. Therefore, we are the enemy. However, this is the natural behavior for these animals. It was great to experience their movement instead of just viewing then like we were at a zoo. Here a giraffe runs away from us as we approach. As the national symbol of Tanzania, the giraffe is completely off limits to all hunters. However, they do not know this.
While we never did get to see a wild dog, we were very fortunate to see this leopard. As we were driving, Hauly stopped the car immediately and looked up at a tree that was just 15 feet away from us. There was the leopard looking right at us. Within seconds, however, she jumped down from the tree and ran away. We were thrilled by this encounter.
Several times during the night, we could hear the hoot of the nearby hyenas. During our game drive, we saw this hyena carry out an impala carcass and begin eating. Watching from a close distance stood dozens of vultures just waiting for the hyena to give it up. The hyena had to constantly look up as if to warn the vultures to stay away and hunt for their own food. How ironic.
Our last sunset in the Selous was also our last sunset in Africa. This African sunset did not disappoint.
Our first night at the Selous, Rich mentioned to Tim, our manager, that he would be interested in trying impala when Tim told him about the game meat that was sometimes available. It was low season and we were the only visitors at our lodge so we were pretty spoiled. So spoiled that our final dinner at the Selous was an impala that was, unbeknownst to us, hunted and killed as a special meal specifically for us and the guys who work at the camp. The impala meat was delicious. However, it was a little troubling to know that an animal died specifically for our consumption.
The time had finally come when we had to say goodbye to the Selous and Goodbye to Africa.
PLEASE E-MAIL US. . . WE WOULD LOVE 2 HEAR FROM YOU!
©1999-2001 Kelly and Rich Willis. All rights reserved.