Rating: Ultimate Price from: Â£450-Â£660 pp
Sand Rivers Selous is an elegant safari lodge set on a rocky peninsula with magnificent views over a vast sweep of the Rufiji river, its exposed sandbanks home to hippo, crocodile and spectacular bird life.
Sand Rivers lodge is small but perfectly formed; the cottages are grand and open fronted, the mess imposing, the cooking excellent, and the service excellent. There are 8 open-fronted, thatched ensuite stone cottages set along the riverbank, each with outstanding views of the river and its wildlife. The ensuite bathrooms are large, with flush lavatories and powerful showers. The mess area has an inglenook fireplace and comfortable sofas and a beautiful dining table built from a tree that floated down the river.
Sand Rivers Selous has a swimming pool just above the river, shaded by a baobab tree that is the nesting site for dozens of weaver birds. Sand Rivers Selous has been a well loved hub for safari buffs for years and is at the centre of a natural melting pot of very diverse habitats, from gorges to open plains, and woodlands to lakes.
The lodge has a team of some of Tanzania's most committed safari guides and one of them will be on hand to take you out for adventures; a day on the river, weaving past hippo and crocodile, drives on the trail of lion or wild dog, an elephant bush walk, a night sleeping out under the stars, or simply fishing barefoot off a large rock.
It's not what you see, it's how you see it. In the Selous, game viewing takes on a slower pace. Whether its walking safaris, fishing, boating, game drives, or a combination of all these, it's possible, exciting & rewarding at Sand Rivers. Spend a lazy afternoon in one of the hides, concealed beside waterholes, where guests are a silent and unobtrusive audience to the drama unfolding on this vast African stage.
Game drives are in open sided Landrovers with canvas sunshades. There are extensive areas for game driving and off road driving is allowed.
Boat safaris - This is one of the few places in Tanzania where you can watch game from the water. The lodge has a number of aluminium skiffs with 25 hp engines, which carry 4 guests and a guide. In the Miocene period the Rufiji River was the largest on earth and still has that primeval feel to it - its more than a mile wide in places yet in the dry season the deep channels can get fairly narrow so you share the passage with hundreds of hippo and crocodiles. There is a magnificent gorge up stream called Stiegler's Gorge which can only be accessed by boat and this is one of the best river safaris to do, taking a picnic breakfast and returning in time for lunch. From the river you may be lucky to see elephant coming down to drink and bathe, lion sunning themselves on the sand and hundreds of crocodiles of all sizes. River safaris leave in the early morning and evenings.
Walking - This is done from Sand Rivers accompanied by an armed ranger. Walking here can be enormously exciting, and as much as anywhere else, there are areas of the Selous where creeping rather than walking pays high dividends. The areas surrounding the lakes are home to large numbers of buffalo, elephant and hippo and a competent guide will often be able to put you in a safe position to watch these animals (as well as many others) at surprisingly close range on foot. Walking to and from vehicles or boats is something that makes walking safaris in the Selous unique and the contrast in getting into a boat and drifting downstream after 3 hour walking is magnificent. Sand Rivers offers spectacular 5 day walking safaris for those who really want to embrace this unique wilderness in an exciting way. Fishing - The Rufiji is bristling with numerous fish of every shape and size (even a bull shark was caught on one occasion opposite Sand Rivers, some 100 miles from the sea) The best sport is fishing for Tiger fish, which are ferocious predators and very exciting to catch. This can be arranged from the lodge. There's a fairly large selection of fishing tackle here, but it's used by guests of all abilities, so if you're a serious fisherman, it's worth bringing a travelling rod and reel with you. Best time seems to be early dry season (May - August).
"Everything that we had read about this lodge came to reality. The view overlooking the river was splendid . It was excellent in every respect. The managers Marc and Chloe and the entire staff were extremely friendly and the service was excellent. It ranks as one of the best lodges we have stayed at in our travels. The food was excellently prepared and our dietary needs were well catered for."