Thursday, October 17, 2013

Good morning from the beautiful Selous in Tanzania




Good morning from the most middle of nowhere possible in this big, wide and wonderful world.

We arrived in Tanzania early yesterday morrning, and immediately we were on one of these tiny airplanes to nowhere.

Nowhere, meaning The Selous, the last bastion of wilderness and the largest wild game reserve in the entire Africa.

A SAFARI UNLIKE ANY OTHER



This is the safari experience as almost no one will ever experience it – and I honestly cannot think of a more appropriate place to spend  a birthday, for someone on a never-endingly eventful Travelife.

The Selous is about 55,000 square kilometers in size, and I'd probably be vastly overestimating things if I told you there were more than 300 people in this 55,000 square kilometers.

That's about half the size of Mindanao or double the size of Switzerland, by the way, according to the Travel Companion, who likes to impress me with his knowledge.

THE FARTHEST CORNER OF NOWHERE


We are in the very farthest corner of it, as well, so the nearest village is about 100 kilometers away on rough dirt road that becomes unpassable in the rainy season.

You get the picture, I hope.

We're literally in the middle of nowhere.

A VERY SPECIAL LODGE



The safari lodge I've picked as well is very special.

It's called The Retreat, and it's really for people who've been there and done that, or for celebrities who want to get away from it all.

My favorite Hippo Point.
Whenever I see this photo, my heart skips a beat.
It was so beautiful.

Or for those who just want one of the most unique experiences you'll probably ever get in a lifetime. 

LOVELY AND RUSTIC


We're booked in the best villas in the lodge and it's really lovely in a rustic place.

If you're used to the five-star deluxe hotel experience, this probably isn't first for you. But considering where we are, I'd even venture to call this seven-star.

Breakfast place at The Retreat.
When you don't wish to eat in your villa, that is.

Steffi Graff and Andre Agassi stayed in this exact same set of villas just last month, and they reportedly loved it.

This is perfect for celebrities because it's just you and the animals. Try getting the paparazzi in here.

WINE, CHAMPAGNE AND HIPPOS



Last night, too, all the guests had wine and champagne right by the river, with a hundred hippos and a couple of crocs in attendance.

There was a full–fledged fantastic set-up, and there we were with only two other couples. 

A HONEYMOON IN THE SELOUS


One of the couples, from Belgium, had been here on their honeymoon just in June. And now they're were back again for a longer stay just a few months later.

They told us: "We've been everywhere in Tanzania, but this is really special. This is really nature, and not a Hollywood set for guests paying stiff fees to see animals in the wild." 



On their honeymoon, they didn't see much, but they loved the whole feeling of the lodge. 

And yesterday, the husband proudly showed us on his iPad the most amazing photos of 6 lions he'd seen, a beautiful leopard, and even a very large elephant by the swimming pool where we'd just had lunch.

Yes, an elephant had walked in on them while they were having lunch!

AN EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER


So this is the Selous experience. One day you may see nothing, and another day you may see everything. 

They don't guarantee you the Big Five.

But if you do happen to see a pride of lions walking around, you can almost be assure you"re going to be the only jeep oohing and aahing over it –– unlike in the more famous safari places elsewhere in Africa, such as Kenya, where a pride of lions is bound to attract 20 jeeps from 10 safari lodges.

And there's a jeep for every couple so you don't need to share with strangers.

AFRICA AT ITS MOST PRISTINE



You just have to be in the right frame of mind for this.

This isn't an Out of Africa experience, the way so many other luxury safari lodges are. This is Africa at it's most unreserved and pristine.

Its 5 AM and as I type this, there are about 30 hippos several meters away from me in the  river, and they've been calling to each other all night. Some of them sound so close that it feels like they've decided to jump into our pool instead.



I swear I also felt a lion walking on the verandah earlier. The lions apparently roam the lodge at night.

They've kept me awake half the night, because there are footsteps on my terrace and all this hippo activity going on all night. 

SLEEPLESS IN TANZANIA

But frankly, the sleeplessnees is worth it. 

This is a Travelife. And I wouldn't exchange this special experience for anywhere else in the world.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

This is where we're having dinner tonight...


Happy birthday to me. 

I actually never pay attention to my birthday, in general, because everyday is a wonderful and special day in a never-ending Travelife

But today, words don't do justice to the Selous

We haven't really made any plans except the hotel staff has arranged for cocktails and dinner at the very edge of a place where about 100 hippos bathe, under the moonlight.



Hopefully, the hundred hippos a few meters away know how to sing Happy Birthday.

More on this truly special place in this blog, and in the next issue of Travelife Magazine

We go where no one else does, and we write about our experiences in a way no one else ever will. It's all heart, soul and the love of travel.

No wonder we're #1. 

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