We had an excellent trip with all logistics and travel plans working as expected. You put together a good itinerary taking in The Selous, Ruaha and finally Mafia island.
We especially wanted to travel in the green season to see the difference from the burnt dry landscapes. We knew it would be hotter and humid in February but were a little concerned that the wildlife would be difficult to see. It was certainly hot, especially in the Selous but we had no problems seeing wildlife which was very abundant.
In the Selous we saw a huge pack of 27 wild dogs with cubs twice, three separate prides of lions one with very young cubs , several breeding herds of elephants, buffalo and of course multiple Giraffes and Impala. We stayed at Roho Ya Selous which is a new tented camp beside one of the lakes . The staff were excellent and our guide Penuel who stayed with us for the three days was very knowledgeable. The tents are very well appointed with all round mesh and inner mosquito nets.
You are very close to Hippos which provide a wake up call as they return from grazing in the early morning. The cooling air above the beds was helpful for sleeping with the very high humidity at this time of year . The boat trips made for an interesting change from the vehicle Safari and we came across hardly any other vehicles when out on game drives. We saw the wild dog pack again during our stay and also leopard walking through a wooded area on the way to the airstrip for the flight to Ruaha .
In Ruaha we stayed at Ikuka camp which has one of the best views in Africa looking out across the park. The rooms are very comfortable and open all round to maximise the view which is even better than the photographs on the website. Being higher up it was cooler than the Selous and pleasantly warm. The grass was tall but again we saw plenty of wildlife and in particular large herds of elephants.
Bird life was very varied. The Buffalo herds were not in the area at this time of year but everything else was around. Ikuka is a very special camp with excellent guiding but it is the view that really sets it apart. Unfortunately the park authorities had banned walking safaris due to the thickness of the bush at this time , however this did not really detract from our experience and it was really good to observe wildlife in such a green and lush environment . We hardly ever saw another vehicle on game drives so we felt we had the whole park to ourselves . I could not recommend Ikuka and Ruaha more highly!
We then moved onto Mafia island staying at Pole Pole . This was more than a beach holiday , I would liken it more to a marine safari experience with excellent daily excursions many of which are included in the room rate . The hotel is located in the marine park providing snorkeling trips followed by lunch on exposed sandbanks and all using wooden Dhows made from mangrove wood .
The highlight for us was swimming with whale sharks arranged by the hotel through Kitu Kilbu a tour operator who follow responsible codes of conduct and are researching their behaviour with a marine biologist accompanying every trip . We swam with four separate whale sharks on the half day trip . Worth travelling to Mafia island just for this experience . Pole Pole is well run with good food and service with pretty beachside huts. The ceiling fan was essential with the high humidity . The beds were a little uncomfortable compared to the very high quality we had become accustomed to at the safari camps but this was sorted out very quickly by the hotel manager Julie.
An excellent trip!!
Many thanks for all your help