One of the things that I love about the Selous, especially in the Beho Beho area, is that it is constantly changing.
Every ten minutes you have a different eco-tone to test your guiding skills. I worked in the Serengeti as a walking guide up north which was pretty interesting and the same for Tarengire but for some reason both areas are not as exciting as this part of the Selous.
Ruaha, very interesting in itself, is a hard park, granite surroundings, almost masculine. Selous is definitely feminine, beautiful, lovely and all of a sudden can turn on you and become dramatic, especially now during rainy season.
I love it.
The rains have started now and for the last couple of days Kipalala Hill in front of the lodge has been shrouded in mist, a veil if we want to keep the comparison going.
Bush is getting real thick and you adjust your progress through it when on foot. More and more I come to rely on my hearing as we negotiate our way down into the valley.
Yesterday I took three guests out for a walk and only five minutes in I heard the snapping of a branch…. The bush was so thick that we had to wait and see. I saw the movement of a tail through the foliage.
But still we had to wait. It could well be a female and that implicates a herd and you don’t want to run into that. If it’s a male it might, just might be alone.
I move to a better position to see if I can see the shape of the head. Males, on average, are much more rounded in their shape of the forehead where the females are much more pointed. … so… I step onto a rock to get better view and find it to be a male. He is in our way and we have to find out what his general direction is.
And while doing so another movement catches my eye…..the flap of an ear….. there is another one. The decision as to what direction to take is made for us. I take my party and move into the riverbed to the other side so to get a better view. I decide to skirt past them and let them pick up our smell so they would move away and we can continue. As we do so we come around a cluster of palms and in a puddle only ten meters away there lies a hippo…… ah, well, a boer maak a plan.
I consider moving slowly up the hill but both Hippo and ellies are a bit too close for my taste. We move around back into the river bed and follow the other side of it. The walk is shorter than I like but because of the dense bush it takes the same time…. I’m Dutch and therefore punctual and beer-time is beer-time!
Anyway the cloud build-up can be sensational and also that is part of the BehoBeho-experience!