RUAHA, TANZANIA SPECIAL
Tribes’ director, Amanda Marks, explored Ruaha for 2 weeks in June 2018. Staying at or inspecting all of the lodges and camps, game driving in the east, west and centre, and talking to the camp owners, managers and guides.
It was the post-lunch siesta time at Kwihala Camp – believe me, after a lunch like that you need a break just to reflect on how on earth the chef came up with that in the middle of the bush; the food here is as good as meals I’ve eaten in top class restaurants in London.
But I digress. There are 6 gorgeous en-suite tents at Kwihala, but I was sitting alone with a cup of green tea in the main lounge tent. It was just me, my notebook and the view. It was June, not the hottest month of the year by any means (try October/November if you want to experience real heat) but still in the late twenties, so with the heat, and the sleep-inducing lunch after the excellent early morning game drive, I was feeling drowsy. Writing my detailed notes of the last couple of days just wasn’t appealing. Instead, I found myself simply staring. In front of me was a wide sand river strewn with natural debris including a huge tree trunk deposited after the last flood. It was hard to imagine a flowing river here in place of acres of sand.
It turns out that a dry riverbed is a busy place. The sand is pitted with footprints of a myriad of different creatures, and as I sat in my only-half-awake state, I was aware of a couple of male antelopes walking on the other side of the ‘river’, and a small troupe of monkeys playing on the dead tree in the middle.
And then they came. Was it a dream? Or was I really sat watching a large family of elephants as they sauntered along the sand river as if it was a Sunday morning walk in the park? They were on the camp side of the river, close enough to want to hold your breath, yet far enough away to feel safe. The very little one was in playful mode and was pestering the adults who just gently ignored him. I had a good 15 minutes enjoying their antics from the comfort of my sofa. This was big screen TV and some!
When they eventually padded silently out of view, I heard something behind me, and a voice breathed ‘Wow.’ It was the waiter. He’d quietly shared the moment with me and was as moved as I was. It means a lot when the staff of a camp or lodge are as enthralled by the wildlife as the guests, and know when to stand back and let a moment happen. I wasn’t surprised – the staff at Kwihala are all excellent. In some ways, it’s a shame I didn’t have my camera with me, but you know, sometimes just being there is enough. Being at Kwihala is enough.
RUAHA, TANZANIA SPECIAL
You can read Amanda’s various blogs from this journey if you’d like to know more, and she’s always happy to chat about Ruaha if you’re considering a safari here. Visit our Tanzania specialist site to find out more about a safari in Tanzania.
Other Ruaha blogs by Amanda include: