Since I was a little girl I had always wanted to go on an African Safari.
Having mesmerised at tv wildlife documentaries since I can remember it had been firmly on my hit-list. I had imagined the raw wildness, the smell of the air and ultimately been up close with the wild animals I loved in their natural habitats.
My first Safari experiences were in South Africa. I loved it as much as I had anticipated and knew then I wanted to do more. I sensed Tanzania would be a whole different experience again. More raw, more real, more ‘Africa’. And that indeed it was…..
The Train Station
Arrival into Dar Es Salaam airport was in good time to be able to catch the once weekly train to Kisaki. The decision to catch the train was to begin the journey in an authentic way.
I romanticized of oldy worldy train carriages and spectacular views. The reality was slightly different to those notions, nevertheless an experience I’m glad to have had.
The Train Journey - Dar to Kisaki
After security checks, we boarded, found our seats easily but just struggled with luggage space. The train was jam packed. It was so busy with people carrying food, bread, and children.
We seemed to be the only non-locals on the whole train, so we had plenty of interest. People were just curious, we got some stares, some conversation, everyone we spoke with was friendly. Our seats were opposite a local lady who kindly offered to share her lunch.
The 4 hour journey allowed for some interesting sights including local villages and bush fires. On pulling into Kisaki, it was dark by now and the station was really buzzy, full of people selling snacks, children running around, raised voices.
Ole, our Tent With a View guide, was there to greet us, literally at the train door! He carried our bags as we squeezed through the crowds to our awaiting transport. It was so nice to be in the open air vehicle.
Arrival to Sable Mountain Lodge
On arrival to Sable Mountain Lodge we were greeted with a refreshing towel and a fresh juice. This was much appreciated after the long travel. It was late by now so we went straight to dinner, joining David, Tara, Lili and the guests in the gorgeous open air restaurant. The meal was good and my non-meat request was tended to effortlessly, at least I was made to feel that way.
We were grateful everyone wanted an early night as we were shattered from the trip.
Early nights suit the Safari experience anyway as you have such early starts. Game drives are best very early in the mornings as the animals are more active when the temperature is cooler.
What a treat entering our room was. Simple and functional with everything you need in an awesome tented room. Ok, so it’s actually nothing like a ‘tent’, it is very much a room with tented fabric walls.
The bed was comfortable and as much as I love the sounds of nature I am a light sleeper, so I popped in my ear plugs and slept soundly.
Waking to a View
As soon as I woke I was excited to open the curtains and step out onto the balcony - WOW I thought, this is special! Spectacular views of Selous game Reserve. The lodge is high up so the breathtaking views are far and wide.
Never mind it being ‘A Tent With a View’ it was also ‘A Bath With a View’
- with no fourth wall the freestanding bath allows you to ‘bathe in nature’ :) The best bath I’ve ever had in my life!!
Boating Safari day in Selous
After a fresh fruit platter of pineapple, papaya and banana for brekkie it was time to set off on my first ever Tanzanian safari experience.
The destination was Lake Tagalala, one of the larger lakes on the northern side of the Rufiji River flood plain.
The drive there was long, rugged and very interesting - passing all kinds of trees and plants, exotic African birdlife, zebra, impala and buffalo.
On arrival to Lake Tagalala we were all hungry so as soon as we got onto the boat and set sail, we tucked into lunch. My eco-friendly veggie lunch box contained juice, veggie samosas, fruit and THE tastiest sandwich I’ve ever had!
It was hard to take my eyes off the crocodiles, they were all along the riverbanks, I was amazed at how many I saw. The population here is said to be one of the densest in the world!
I enjoyed some fantastic bird watching as we boated around the lake.
There were storks, eagles, egrets and dozens more. I felt lucky seeing my personal favourite, the African Fish Eagle perched high in a palm tree.
The Lake has so many hippo’s, multiple herds of them in pockets all over the lake.
Any concerns for them coming for our little boat were quickly gone when you notice how they all duck as we approach and pass them.
Quite a comical sight I found, their curious faces all looking at us, snorting and grunting then they duck under the water one by one.
On the drive heading back to the lodge we saw lions. Twice! Lion’s are another of my favourites and this was fantastic for the other guests who were on the last day of their first family safari trip.
The first sighting was a very lazy pride sleeping in the grass, unphased by us.
The second was a large pride with lots of cubs, strewn out all around a picnic table spot.
This was the longest safari day I’d yet experienced but well worth it.
Back to the lodge to share tales of the day and get an early night.
After a delicious fruit platter and cooked brekkie we had a walk around the camp and then we wanted to enjoy the room and the incredible view from our balcony.
A beautiful, relaxing day - enjoying the room, the views, relaxing and reading, playing a game of guessing the animal sounds, then enjoying that amazing bath!!
So my first experience of safari in Tanzania at the beautiful Sable Mountain Lodge was fantastic.
With no other vehicles in sight it feels not only more exclusive, but much closer to nature, more untouched, more special.
From here we went on to Little Okavango….. See my continued diary