The Selous National Park in Southern Tanzania is the world’s largest game reserve, and is well known for its enormous elephant herds. The Selous evokes the mystique of the wild unspoiled African wilderness and it is undoubtedly one of Africa’s best kept secrets (perfect for seasoned family safari-goers). Even better, it is just a 50 minute scenic flight from Dar es Salaam, so is easily accessible.
Here, set on a rocky peninsula with magnificent views over a vast sweep of the Rufiji River, Sand Rivers Selous is a small intimate lodge with just 8 rooms including one set of adjoining rooms, perfect for a family (one child in the adjoining room needs to be at least 12 years, the other child a minimum of 8 years). The rooms are ‘bush deluxe’ at their ultimate best, each one an open-air cottage of timber and thatch. It was originally built in 1984 by Richard Bonham (one of East Africa’s most renowned safari guides) who used this area of the Selous for his famous walking safaris in the eighties, when this was completely unmapped territory.
The region is a melting pot of diverse habitats – lagoons, lakes, woodlands, gorges, lush vegetation, open plains and sandbanks – all of which abound with animals including hippo, elephant, lion, buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe and zebra – and naturally, walking safaris (for 12 years and over) are an integral part of the experience here. The gentle rush of the river is the soundtrack to everything that happens here – and unlike other safari lodges in northern Tanzania, the safari experience here does not purely revolve around adventures in open 4X4 safari vehicles. At Sand Rivers, boat safaris, fishing trips and walking safaris as well as 4×4 vehicle safaris are all available, accompanied by the dedicated guides at Sand Rivers who are renowned as being some of the very best in Tanzania. Families with children 12 years and over can also try ‘fly-camping’ – a rare opportunity to forego a night of ‘comfort’ for a night out under the stars in an especially adapted mosquito net. There is also a swimming pool set into the rocks under the shade of a baobab tree.