What we call the Beho Beho forest is a short section of road which meanders through the Beho Beho riverine forest. It is a very special place, one of my favourite places in the whole of Selous! Being in this forest feels like you are in the movie Jurassic Park. It’s a unique habitat where the vegetation changes even as you drive through the short section we are able to traverse.
As well as the primal feel experienced when in this forest, another big draw to visit this area is the rarely seen animals you can sometimes spot within it.
I will often stop just as we enter the forest to turn and let everyone know what we should be on the look out for. To set the atmosphere as we edge into the forest, I will sometimes tell our guests in a hushed voice to keep their eyes peeled and explore the dark little gaps through and under the thickets and within the tree canopies for any form or movement which does not fit the trees’ outline. Doing so gives us a good chance to spot the Tanzania Sykes Monkey. A handsome looking monkey with a golden russet back, long tail and a face with an air of cheekiness to it, the Sykes Monkey prefer fairly dense, moist forest and is often up in the canopy. These monkeys can be difficult to see, but a visit to our Beho Beho forest presents us with a good chance of spotting them!
Also a possibility in our little forest, and a lot more rare to see, is Peter’s Angola Black and White Colobus Monkey. Sometimes referred to as a group as leaf monkeys because (yes, you have guessed it) they only eat leaves, they are a group of monkeys which characteristically have a vestigial (almost non-existent) thumb and so their locomotion and feeding is done using just 4 fingers. They are very striking looking monkeys; their faces framed by long white hair and a set of long white epaulettes, stark against the jet-black covering the rest of their bodies.
Apart from the monkeys, there is also a slim possibility to spot one of the smallest antelope species in the world, one of the dwarf Antelope – the Suni. There are not too many places in “safari Africa” were you have a chance to see these stunning little creatures and then where they do occur it’s in dense forest. This coupled with the fact that they are so small – I have had people mistake them for a scrub hare – you can imagine that when we see them it’s a very special sighting. It took me 4 years in Selous before I saw my first. But now I know where to look. And so I do frequently go looking for them in the forest, recently two different sets of guests I had taken to the forest got lucky, and it’s the first time I have seen them right out in the open and managed to snap off a few pics!
The Beho Beho forest is a really convenient short afternoon drive for us. This a great time to be there as the day starts to cool and the sun starts to move towards the horizon making for fantastic vistas and nice light. A time of day when dozens of our beautiful white-fronted bee-eaters start to dust bathe in the sandy roads of the forest. Culminating with an amble up to a beautiful viewpoint overlooking the Beho Beho River called the Seeps for a refreshing sundowner drink before heading home.