Sand Rivers Selous is so much part of the Rufiji’s ebb and flow that it seems almost moored on the banks, with one side entirely open to the river. Views across its brown, swirling waters call to mind adventure movies from another time.
Indeed, in the early days, we pioneered legendary foot safaris here, and we still make life in and around the lodge as action-packed and exciting as the fizzing natural world around it.
Nyerere is an alluring wilderness no matter what time of year you visit. The dry season which runs from June until the end of October sees water sources drying up, and the wildlife congregating around the rivers and numerous waterholes.
This makes for excellent big-game viewing, particularly when it comes to predator action as the herbivores constant quest for water makes them vulnerable to opportunistic hunters.
The movements of the wildlife in the park is a little more predictable and so our intrepid team of guides traverse the winding water ways, in vehicle, on foot and by boat in search of exciting wild action.
From November the rains begin to arrive in Tanzania and this heralds the arrival of youngsters of all shapes and sizes. The impala and many other antelope choose this time of plenty to have thier babies, which again yields exciting opportunities to witness predators in action.
A huge highlight of this time of year is the birding. Migratory bird species arrive in the area and don their very impressive breeding plumage, often an explosion of unexpected colour in the bush as they flit from tree to tree. Boating is excellent as the river level rises.
Some safaris can be predictable, even routine. Not with us, not ever. Over the years in Nyerere, we’ve figured out that such a diverse ecology gives us so many ways to enjoy the bush.
Lying on sandbars watching eagles, tracing sand rivers, holing up in tree-top hides, creeping up on grunting hippos.
One of our safari holy grails is to see, and not be seen. The way to do this on foot is to stay hidden, and walk ourselves into a good position; vegetation fringed rivers and floodplains are the perfect cover.
At some point, we’ll emerge out into a clearing, a secret world. There’ll always be something surprising there. We beat upstream by boat, dodging hippopotami; on the way back we just let the current spiral us back to the lodge, as Africa drifts by.
In secluded floodplains, we see elephant herds, and shining flocks of great white pelicans. Back at the riverbanks, a spot of barefoot tiger-fishing in the shallows is in order.
We pay homage to the extraordinary here, and exploit the wonders of this rich and varied habitat with random acts of wilderness. We have breakfast, but on a sandbar in a crocodile-crowded river; we swim, but under palm trees in hot spring rock pools, we go boating, but up the spectacular Steiglers Gorge.
Nights out of camp and under the stars are our most complete expression of how Nomad relates to wilderness.It’s very simple. If you really want to connect with the African bush, just put yourself right out there.
Because we know the bush, and we know what’s safe and what’s comfortable, we can make this happen. We desert the lodge and walk with you into the big beyond. The further we go, the deeper the wilderness, the bigger it feels.
At some point, we come upon our camp-out spot and home for one night. There’s a murmur of voices, the fire is lit. It feels secure and cosy, though we know that only the finest line is drawn between us and wild Africa.
In our fly camps we strip away all but the basic neccessities to get you as close to the Africa wilderness as you’ll ever want to be. We give you safety and comfort, a proper, sweet sleep under the stars, and a major bucket-list experience.
Ten days of remote big game in Katavi, Ruaha & Nyerere
As the bush starts to thin after the rains, we see the big herds beginning to form as the buffalo move south and the elephants come down from the highlands. In pursuit of the buffalo come the lion…this is the richest time of year for wildlife viewing.
Early morning flight from Arusha via the Serengeti (dependent on schedule) and Tabora, for refuelling, arriving in Katavi around mid-day. The safari starts at the airstrip, our guides will take you back to camp in time lunch and a siesta, before a first afternoon of discovery in Katavi.
Days 1 – 5
Katavi has hardly changed since we arrived in this place twenty years ago. In Katavi we like to explore. We walk out across the plains appreciating the total lack of crowds and vehicles.
It’s not only having our feet on the ground at the same level as the big game, but the feeling that we are the only people doing so. We take bedrolls and sling them under a borassus palm in our fly-camp.
We venture to Paradise Plains by 4WD and appreciate seeing nothing but wild Africa for miles. We don’t want to sound too dramatic, but we can’t imagine your life not being changed in even the smallest of ways after something like this. Read more about Chada Katavi.
This morning after an early breakfast, board your scheduled flight southeast to the great Ruaha National Park. Ruaha is rich in big game and herds of over 100 elephant are seen regularly, in addition to the big cats and some more unusual antelope such as sable and roan.
After lunch in camp, head out on an exploratory drive in an open game viewing vehicle, pausing for a sundowner near an iconic Ruaha baobab tree.
Days 5 – 8
In one of Africa’s biggest game spots, we explore. We have custom-built open game drive vehicles which are perfect for traversing the varied habitats of Ruaha. You can also get out on foot.
Being on your own two pegs gives you a totally different experience. We’re great fans of “going out” for breakfast and enjoying a sundowner in the bush. These things are rare treats on a safari and something that you wouldn’t do back home, which frankly is the only reason you need for doing them.
Whether you’re out and about in an open game drive car, treading the game trails with your guide or wondering around the camp in search of birds, this is safari as its meant to be. Read more about Kigelia Ruaha.
Early drive to the airstrip to catch the flight over to Nyerere in time for lunch. Settle in then take a short sundowner boat trip up river before a candelit dinner in the main dining room, or around the pool.
Days 8 – 11
Sand Rivers Selous
Days at Sand Rivers are about exploring. Our open-sided 4×4 vehicles are a great way of seeing things. For covering a bit of distance when that’s what’s needed. But, we like to retain spontaneity wherever we can.
Often the best way to see things, to avoid scattering animals from the lakeshore, or spooking a herd of elephant as they feed, is to hop down and quietly work our way into a good position on foot. And the same goes for our boats.
Being on the river is a fantastic contrast to time spent in a vehicle. All in all, days at Sand Rivers aren’t about box ticking, or endless driving in search of the next animal. It’s a sense of gradual absorption in this corner of the natural world that we’d love you to feel.
Lazy start with breakfast around the pool and maybe a swim, before your departure to the airstrip and onward flight.