Seeing one Africa’s great rivers in flood is always special. To be honest I prefer the Rufiji when she is lazy and her sandbanks exposed, but the sound of her unstinting pulse in the green season helps me to sleep well after a long, hot day in the bush. Dawn brings the nasal baa of Trumpeter Hornbills heading to the figs trees, shrieking parrots, hyrax and manic Yellow Baboons. The hippos have started giving birth as the long rains approach and with all we are seeing here, I can confirm that Selous is the finest place to see bee-eaters anywhere in Africa. Despite rampant poaching in this vast game reserve, there are daily sightings of small herds, perhaps more skittish than I remember in the past though. The summer birding has been fantastic too, so even though I know the roads are always rough in Selous and it is almost always hot, I will be back soon – mainly because I enjoy walking in this magnificent wilderness! (Alastair)
This was a lucky escape for the dragonfly that flew right past a tree loaded with Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters – this is like running past a family of bears whilst covered in honey!
Despite the fact that this vast game reserve has again become a killing field for these magnificent animals, we did manage daily sightings of small family groups in the miombo and along the river.
These African Skimmers represent wild Africa to me as they only survive where the natural seasonal flooding on large rivers is still in tact. To watch them feed with beaks cutting the water is special.
We spotted a dead hippo on the banks of the Rufiji. As we approached a large bull snorted and made a bow-wave away from us. The scene of destruction of the vegetation told the story of how the two must have fought through the night – and now it is a case of waiting to see if the crocs, hyenas or the vultures get here first…
This is the only decent shot I got of a small pride that we found devouring a carcass inside a palm thicket. The best part was listening to the one female growl at the young cubs as they braved her fearsome noises as they edged in to claim a small bit of the kill.
In the end I decided the backlit shot portrayed this superb little bee-eater best. Although colourful it spends much of its time hunting from dense riverine bush. This is one of 8 bee-eater species we saw!!!
Not a great shot this, but we saw numerous of these migratory Eurasian Honey-buzzards in Selous’ woodlands and this one actually dropped to the ground and ripped out a wasp nest to eat – textbook!
One one of our many good walks, we had been sitting quietly watching the Openbills when the rocks moved and we got a glimpse of this tiny hippo behind its mother. This is no doubt the first of many that will be born along the mighty Rufiji during the rainy season.
There is no better way to end a day in the bush than cruising the river – sundowners on the move as the Osprey head to bed and the hippos start making their way out to forage.