The evenings have been filled with the sounds of lions roaring and in the last week, rather spectacular thunderstorms have moved over The Rufiji River Valley. Rain has fallen now and the bush has turned green in just a few days. Impala fawns can be seen everywhere and the wild flowers are making a return. It was my first opportunity to go out on a drive with the manager Roel and the other guides and see the property upon which Beho Beho prides itself and its visitors. Giraffe can be spotted on almost every outing and the landscape, with its tall palm tree thickets provide for some exceptional sightings. Wildebeest, Zebra, Buffalo, Eland, Wathog and of course Elephant were also on my first few drives. A couple days ago Saningo and Godlisten reported seeing three bush pigs walking past the camp water hole. There are no guests in camp at the moment and I have been using this opportunity to get to know the staff and fellow guides and have been orientating myself with the procedure to expect when they arrive.
Yesterday afternoon I was out learning roads with the Roel, when we came across the Beho Beho pride of lions. We were lucky enough to witness courtship behaviour between the Yellow-maned male and one of the lionesses clearly in estrous. It’s a typical love-hate relationship when lions mate and the growls and snarls could be heard for some distance away. The general game in the area didn’t seem too bothered by the lions and some watched eagerly from the edges of the clearing where the mating pair were. A while later we were able to enjoy a view of a small breeding herd of elephants that happened to stroll past without even taking note of the big cats.
Leopard vocalization can also be heard at times, particularly in the evening and I am waiting in anticipation to see my first one here in The Selous. The first thing that struck me about the reserve is the diversity of habitat types that one finds and also how fast the habitat changes into the next. There are Miombo woodland areas adjoining vast open plains and there are palm tree thickets as well as riverine forest areas. We also find dense rainforest on the slopes of the surrounding mountains and giant Baobab trees are scattered throughout the reserve.
Mention of the birdlife at Beho Beho must also be made as it is some of the best in Africa. Bee-eaters, kingfishers, rollers and cuckoos to name a few are some of the most colourful birds one might encounter and they are abundant this time of the year. Eagles, accipitors, storks, waterbirds, communal birds and vultures can also be seen on a daily basis. The area around Beho Beho is alive with animal life at the moment and it is an exciting time of the year for guide and guest alike. I look forward to the coming weeks as it can only get better. My only hope is that the Beho Beho pride will continue to grow in number and that they continue to take up territory here.
It is a humbling experience to guide at Beho Beho and one becomes immersed in its marvelous diversity of fauna and flora. Having been here only a short time I already rate it very highly. What a wonderful place it is and if you have not yet seen it, I thoroughly encourage you to do so.