The float down the Rufiji River is a superb introduction to Tanzania's legendary Selous Game Reserve, the largest and wildest reserve in Africa. With an area of over 18,000 square miles, the Selous is home for vast numbers of wildlife including the continent's largest elephant population.
The Selous game rserve has only a sparse and virtually unused network of tracks, and tourism development is confined to its margins. This is Africa almost as Livingstone saw it. As we float down the Rufiji and follow game trails in the bush it becomes clear that apart from a rare Wildlife Department patrol, no one has passed this way in years.
The trip begins with a ride on the Chinese built Tazara railway. Cutting through the northern part of the Selous, a park like paradise of grassland with scattered trees and thickets, we are treated to perhaps the world's best wildlife viewing from a train.
At Fuga Halt, 4WD vehicles meet us for a short drive to a shady campsite at the foot of Hatambula Hill. The next day we drive on bush tracks to the put in near the confluence of the Great Ruaha and Rufiji, where we rig the boats and paddle downstream, aided by a good current coursing between rocky banks. After Mkalinzu Rapid (no problem), the river widens and the hills near Sliegler's Gorge loom ahead.
This is a fine area for bush walks, with good chance to see elephants, lions and some exciting birds. The next day, our well drilled and coordinated paddling skills meet the challenge of Stiegler's Gorge, with wild rides and great photo opportunities at Pangani Rapid, Con Man's Foil and the Ropeway Rapid. After the sheer 100 meter walls of the Gorge drop away, we enter one of the best wildlife areas, and layover at one superb campsite that offers an exceptional variety of walks, and a great view of the sunset.
From here, we round a corner and soon enter the labyrinth of channels, swamps, and lakes that the Rufiji created when it left its original bed in 1973. This area is especially rich in birds: fish eagles, herons, Egyptian geese, myriad of storks, bee eaters, kingfishers....We frequently surprise buffaloes and elephants on the banks, while we vie with the hippos for right-of-way. This is a fantastic area of tall borassus palms rising out of the waters, some drowned, a phantom forest, some still flourishing, making a superb tableau with a glowing sunset behind them.
Our final destination, after passing Lakes Manze, Nzerakera, Mzizima, and Siwando, is the tented Rufiji River Camp, where cold Safari Lager, excellent food, and a friendly staff await us in an ambiance of comfort and informality. We return to Dar-es-Salaam by light aircraft or 4WD vehicle, completing a unique and intimate foray into the African bush.
Expert leadership and excellent naturalist guides, airport transfers, all hotels
and meals (except as noted), Selous Reserve entrance and camping fees, river trip, camp
and cook staff, camping and commissary equipment, National Park entrance fees, room
occupancy taxes, all ground transportation.
International flights, visas, airport taxes, insurance of any kind, tips, excess
baggage, cost of immunizations, sailing or beach activities, optional visit to Zanzibar, and
items of a personal nature (laundry, sodas, alcoholic drinks, etc).
Day 1 :
Depart home, en route to Tanzania.
Day 2 :
Arrive Dar-es-Salaam. Upon arrival you will be meet the trip leader and
transfer together the Bahari Beach Hotel or similar accommodations. Afternoon free to
relax and see the city. Welcome dinner (great seafood!) and trip briefing.(D)
Day 3 :
Exploring the Dar-es-Salaam, recovering from flights and optional visit to
Zanzibar and the coast at the Indian Ocean. Over night at the Bahari Beach Hotel or
similar accommodations. (B,D)
Day 4 :
Noon departure from Dar-es-Salaam by train. Traveling through the northern
part of the Selous Game Reserve with lunch on the train with 4:30 pm arrival at Fuga Halt.
4WD vehicles meet us for the two hour drive to our overnight bush camp. (B,L,D)
Day 5 :
Drive on bush tracks to put-in near the confluence of the Great Ruaha and
Rufiji Rivers. Rig boats and begin river trip. Riverside camp in the Mkalinzu area. (B,L,D)
Days 6-16 :
On the river. Excellent game and birding. Morning and evening game walks.
Beautiful riverside camps, including the Mpanga Mbuyuni campsite for layover day.
Day 17 :
Short paddle to Rufiji River Camp for lunch and a cold Safari lager and
flight/drive back to Dar-es-Salaam. Farewell dinner. Overnight at the Bahari Beach Hotel.
Day 18 :
After breakfast we transfer to the airport for outbound flights or remain incountry
to explore other regions and attractions in Tanzania. (B)
Day 18 :
Please Note:Terms and conditions apply. We reserve the right to change prices if necessary.