A safari in the ‘northern circuit’ of Tanzania consists mainly of game drives inside the national parks – an incredible experience in itself. Sometimes you can get so close to an animal that you feel it will climb into the car and sit next to you. However, in the south of Tanzania in places like the Selous Game Reserve, visitors can take part in a totally different activity; a boat safari…

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The Selous Game Reserve has one of the largest rivers in Tanzania. The Rufiji River meanders through the park to flow into the Indian Ocean opposite Mafia Island. Thanks to large volumes of water in the river it allows for boat safaris.

I was recently in the Selous and I knew that we couldn’t go there and not do a boat safari. Being on a boat not only gives you a totally different perspective of animals on the banks of the river it also allows you to get quite close to aquatic wildlife, be it water birds, hippos or crocs.

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We cruised along the Rufiji, our guide constantly pointing out different species of birds. We saw golden weaver birds, African fish eagles, malachite kingfishers, white fronted bee-eaters and so many more. We even spotted some colobus monkeys and a few Sykes monkeys.
As the day drew to an end, we headed for a sundowner spot. The captain managed to find a pod of some 15 hippos and he guided our boat closer to them. At first the hippos seemed unimpressed by our presence but after ten minutes they did not even bother to look at us and went about their business.

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No sundowner is complete without a cold beverage and we were offered a range of beers and sodas to go with our sunset. We watched with cold drinks in hand as the sun set behind the hippos, painting the sky in shades of red, orange and yellow…
It was a truly magical moment.