Barefoot Traveller



Standing on a sandbar in the Rufiji River, 12 miles upstream from the Rufiji River Camp, there are only three sounds--the quiet rush of the river, the buzzing of two flies, and your own breathing.

Roaming by small outboard motorboat on the Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania is a particularly unique way to discover the wild game country of Africa. For wild game, we most frequently think of northern Tanzania and Kenya. But most of the crowded game viewing in those regions is from vehicles from which, for the most part, the visitor isn't allowed to get out.

Here, in the Selous, you can wander--accompanied by an armed ranger--to view giraffes, elephants and zebras just as close a the animals will allow.

Whether the visitor is using Land Rover or boat, the Rufiji River tented camp experience is a fascinating one. Set on a bluff at a bend in the river, the camp itself is crowded with yellow butterflies and monkeys (keep your tent closed) and looks down on dozens of hippos frolicking in the river. Away from camp are storks, a huge variety of other birds, baboons, impala, monkeys, crocodiles and giant catfish.

No villages in the Reserve--but no bugs at the camp.

The Rufiji River adventure is superb sunsets to the west, lanterns in the evening, 20 rooms of half-tent structure under large shade trees, private walled baths and cold beer sometimes (Buckhead, of all things, from Atlanta).

Best time to come for the largest animals is August to November, when the water holes dry up and the wildlife comes to the river and nearby lakes to drink, but the air is coolest in June and July.