Selous & Ruaha safari in Tanzania
Description of Selous & Ruaha safari in Tanzania
It doesnít matter if you are an experienced safari goer, or if this is your very first safari, on this holiday you get the chance to explore two great areas of Southern Tanzania. After a night to rest following your international flight, you are flown down to Selous where you have a choice of 4x4 drives, river cruises and guided walks which, combined, provide an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the varied habitats and inhabitants.
Buoyed by this experience you fly to your second destination: Ruaha. This region is a meeting point for species from south, west and east Africa, so the animal and bird life is especially diverse. Game drives are the best way to appreciate this richness and also allow you to witness the varied terrain. Ruaha is really quite remote, with only a handful of places to stay and you are unlikely to encounter many other vehicles, adding the benefit of exclusivity to wildlife sightings.
You stay in 2 family-run sister properties, where you can watch wildlife from the comfort of your deck; even when not out on safari, you are immersed in nature. Ruaha River Lodge is the oldest in Ruaha, quite large but nice position, and Rufiji River Camp is one of the more simple places in Selous, but again, in a great location near the river.
|Day 1:||OVERNIGHT IN DAR ES SALAAM: You will be met on arrival driven to your city hotel. Your hotel has a pool, a gym and a spa, and a restaurant for dinner if you donít fancy going out.|
|Day 2:||FLY TO SELOUS: You are collected for the drive to the domestic terminal for your short flight to Selous. From here youíre driven to Rufiji River Camp, getting your first glimpse of the game reserve. You should arrive in time for lunch, and later set out on your first game drive, an introduction to the varied flora and fauna of Selous. You return in time for dinner.|
|Day 3:||ON SAFARI IN SELOUS: This morning you can take to the water with a boat trip on the river. Donít forget your camera as youíre likely to see hippos and crocodiles, plus you might spot game on the banks and get some good views of birds. You rest in camp during the heat of the day, and then set off for the late afternoon game drive.|
|Day 4:||ON SAFARI IN SELOUS: This morning you may see an elephant crossing your path, or could be marvelling at the grace of the giraffes, perhaps come across a pride of lions. This afternoon you can opt for a nature walk. Itís the best way to observe the minutiae, the insects, plants and animal tracks, all with a story to tell that can be interpreted by your guide. Itís a wonderful way to feel a part of the natural world rather than an observer. Enjoy sundowners back in camp overlooking the river.|
|Day 5-7:||RUAHA: You are on the move today, with a flight to Ruaha, where you enjoy a game viewing transfer to your new home, Ruaha River Lodge. In the afternoon you are driven out into the national park. Ruahaís location means that it has animal and bird species from both southern and northern hemispheres resulting in an amazing diversity. You have twice daily 4x4 safaris, giving you ample opportunities to observe the wildlife. The abundance of game attracts lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dog and you may find yourself watching some nail-biting scenes as predators stalk their prey. At camp, simply sitting on your private veranda you can often spot hippos, elephants, impalas and giraffes by the river, a great way to begin your day. Later, sipping sundowners at the top of a rocky kopje, reflect on your holiday, while back at the lodge you are served dinner and can round off the day with drinks by the firepit.|
|Day 8:||FLY TO DAR AND DEPART: Have breakfast as you watch game by the river, and later you are driven back to the airstrip for the light aircraft flight to Dar es Salaam, where the holiday ends.|
PlanetThe company that organises this holiday is a multi-award-winning responsible travel company. They try to ensure that nothing they do at home (in UK) or abroad compromises the environment or wildlife or exploits people. They believe in ensuring that travellers are well-informed, as an informed traveller tend to be a more respectful and sensitive traveller. They also believe in giving back to the country, people wildlife and environments which are affected by tourism.
Tanzania as a country, brought into law that single use plastic bags will be banned as of June 2019 and that producers and suppliers must dispose of their stock responsibly by that date. This has encouraged our lodges to provide water fill up stations and encourage guests to bring their own re-usable water bottles or offer them in the camps.
The camps we use are in the much less frequented Southern half of the country, where you are more likely to see herds of animals than huge hordes of game vehicles. This is important as there is less negative impact on the areas we visit and the animals themselves.
Ruaha River Lodge was the first camp to open in this national park, there by opening up wildlife tourism to this area. By doing this, and having tourism in the parks, the wildlife is more valued and less likely to be poached. The company has chosen a number of locations where there are few or no other camps.
To reduce the environmental impact, the camps restrict electric usage. It is of course available at times of the day when it is most needed.
For every person that travels with the company, it plants trees through The Travel Forest initiative. Depending on where they plant and the requirement of the specific area, they plant either indigenous trees or a mix of indigenous and non-native species. Planting non-native seedlings may seem counter-intuitive but doing this can often help any remaining indigenous forest from being cut down (e.g. for fuel) as some non-native trees grow much more quickly than indigenous types. They particularly aim to save ancient or older indigenous forest, through offering an alternative option for fuel requirements of local communities. In addition to this benefit, their Travel Forest initiative helps with such things as planting for water-course retention, soil erosion, shade and even food Ė all depending on what is planted and where. They have planted almost 100,000 trees to date in various degraded locations including the Andean mountains in Peru, northern Tanzania and Malawi. This has always been done in conjunction with the local communities who plant and then tend the seedlings. Trees are far more important to the health of this planet (and us) than many people imagine. This global Travel Forest initiative can and does make a big difference.
The UK head office has a good policy of recycling, reducing and re-using (electricity, paper, plastic etc). They also buy only fair-trade goods such as tea, coffee, and use biodegradable detergents etc. They also make a point of buying only top eco-rated equipment (e.g. monitors).
As part of our commitment to the environment we have a programme to plant trees in Tanzania, Malawi, Peru etc. through the companyís foundation. This was set up to help alleviate poverty, conserve endangered wildlife, and protect earthís environmental diversity for the benefit of us all. All the projects have a link with tourism in some way, and many benefit the wider world as well as local people, through conserving areas of natural beauty. We donít just look overseas when considering the environment, even at the office the team planted tress in the fields surrounding the buildings to celebrate the companyís 21st birthday in 2019.
As a company we think about our partners overseas carefully. The company ethos is to use properties around the globe that have a similar ethical stance to ourselves. If they can use local suppliers for their provisions, be it food or furnishings then they do, and all offer a variety of menus including vegetarian and vegan/plant-based options. Our partners support the use of solar/renewable energies, and many are looking at ways of switching their current supplies to more eco-friendly options in order to be more efficient. The use of solar, water and air are options in use or being explored, as well as grey water run offs. Energy efficient appliances and practices, card operated in room lighting, low energy bulbs, and a change in laundry practices, are all in operation, and show just a few of the initiatives used. Our partners also use local staff within their properties. Many live on-site in seasonal properties for example reducing the travel emissions of the company, many come from the local villages and communities surrounding the properties. This includes everyone from house keeping to management and the guides that are from the locale.
Due to the nature of the holidays provided by the company, it is impossible to eliminate all flights but where possible we use the minimum flight hours an itinerary can operate with. The packages we have on offer include rail portions in some areas, which keep emissions low, many walking options and shared transportation.
PeopleYour holiday can include a visit to the Kisaki hospital project near Selous, which benefits from your visit. The owners are also very committed to the welfare of staff and the local community. For example, scholarships have been provided for some local children to go to secondary school.
Foxes Safari Camps made a point of supporting villages close to the areas they work in, but in 2005 they realised their ambition to harness the good will of their many guests and created an NGO Ė Foxes Community and Wildlife Trust. The charity has become very successful in community projects primarily in the Mufindi area, but with the blueprints to effective projects in place will be able to replicate this success in other areas of Tanzania.
Orphans in the Wild is the fund-raising UK sister charity for Foxes NGO, a small charity based in beautiful but remote Southern Highlands of Tanzania in the highland region called Mufindi.
The area has been decimated by the effects of HIV/Aids. Orphans in the Wild is working to support projects to help these proud and independent people to combat the effects of the disease on their community and to restore it to health and self-sufficiency. From small beginnings the charity now cares for sixty children in a Childrenís Village of 6 small houses. Healthcare, education, income generation and long-term future sustainability are at the heart of the charityís fight against HIV/Aids. Health care initiatives include the Milk Powder Project to save babies lives, supporting education in the community, helping to improve facilities and equipment. The Mdabulo HIV/Aids Care Treatment Centre (CTC) was completed 2010. Now, over 5,000 villagers are currently being tested and treated.
In terms of information, all travellers are given guidelines on Travelling with Respect, which includes advice on cultural aspects of your travels as well as protecting the environment. For any community-owned or run project, they also have a Community Tourism Information sheet for travellers to help explain how to get the best from the experience, and what to expect (good and bad). For trekkers, the company have a Porter Policy in place, a copy of which is given to clients. They are also have a Responsible Wildlife Viewing guide too. For anything more specific, eg rules about visiting gorillas, this information is also given to clients. In addition, they offer more information about the native people and cultures in a destination country, which all adds to a traveller being more aware.
The company works with partners on the ground in each destination, and only uses local guides. They also primarily promote locally owned services (hotels etc). They have eco-rated about 300 properties worldwide which they work with closely, so they are very clear which accommodations have good environmental and social responsibility credentials. This information is used to ensure that any traveller wanting to ensure they are really making a difference, can choose between one property and another on eco-issues.
They also promote community-owned projects and services where applicable and possible. Indeed, they were instrumental in setting up two community-owned ventures in Tanzania and Peru.
The company backs a charity with funds and administration. This is a registered UK charity whose principle aim is to relieve the poverty of indigenous communities in areas outside of the UK which are affected by tourism. The charity backs poverty alleviation, education, cultural preservation and conservation projects within these regions. It has backed schools, clinics, micro-business projects and more. They are currently raising funds for 9 different grassroots projects in nine different counties, which travellers are encouraged to donate to if they would like to give something back.