When your kids have outgrown Disney World and wouldn’t dream of holding your hand in a zoo, you can still entice them on a family holiday – if you offer them an adventure.
My husband and I wanted to experience Africa as close to nature and as far from crowds as possible. Our amazing tour operator, Imagine Africa, suggested the little-visited Selous Game Reserve and it exceeded our highest expectations.
After a direct 8-hour flight from London, followed by a 45-minute flight south-east from Tanzania’s capital Dar Es Salam, we landed in Selous, one of the largest game reserves in the world (roughly the size of Switzerland).
Wildebeest daringly sprinted across our plane’s path as it landed; giraffes greeted us at the airport; elephants showered us; crocs glared and lions lazed not twenty feet away; a leopard hitchhiked by the side of the road; hyenas sang us to sleep and a hungry hippo munched beside our tent. We saw just about all the animals a safari promises and even some they don’t – like the highly-endangered African wild dog.
I expected to rough it at the Selous Impala Camp, but I was in for a surprise! The “tents” – semi-permanent cabins perched on a lofted deck – were spacious, clean, comfortable and had all the amenities one could want. Our chef made meals from all over the world – some of the best I’ve ever had. Our managers gave us the royal treatment and some days we never saw another tourist!
Unlike other safari destinations, the Selous offers boating safaris on the Rufigi River and (for those over 16) walking safaris. We explored among a troop of baboons and startled a family of mongooses.
We spent four days in Selous and eight days in Zanzibar, but I’d recommend four days in Selous, four days on safari in another part of Tanzania (or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro) and four days on the beach. However you do it, I can guarantee that, like us, you’ll start dreaming of your return before you’ve even left!
Temple of Inspiration (Meghan’s blog with more details of her extraordinary trip)
Tanzania Tourist Board (Visa information and best travel times)
After exploring five careers in five cities in just over five years, Meghan Thompson has built up a wealth of knowledge about what she does not want to do with her life (including teaching, politics, banking, communications and PR). Meghan is finally doing what she does want to do (writing) where she wants to do it (in England) with the support of her husband, the amazing “rugby bloke” and their incredible son, “Sir Grinsalot,” who joined them in October 2009.