Take a boat ride on the Rufiji River from Sand Rivers Selous.

Sand Rivers Selous | Selous Game Reserve Luxury Tanzania Safari Lodge

Tuck your toes into the sand, watch the sun set over the water, listen to hippo splash or go on exciting game drives before the sky lights up with stars at Sand Rivers Selous – eight open-fronted cottages on the edge of the Rufiji River in Tanzania‘s Selous Game Reserve.

The place

Lunch is a delicious affair at Sand Rivers Selous, enjoyed from the verandah of a thatched open-sided boma set on a majestic curve of the Rufiji River. I can barely take my eyes off the wide waters as they swirl and flow, hiding crocodile disguised as logs, visiting hippo and spectacular birdlife. A swimming pool is set into the rocks on the river’s edge, shaded by an ancient baobab tree thought to be over 1,500 years old.We’re in the Selous Game Reserve, which has an unusual combination of scenery ranging from the Rufiji River and sandbank (that attracts a host of visiting wildlife), to riverine forest, floodplains and marshes interlaced with lakes and dry riverbeds.

Lunch is a delicious affair at Sand Rivers Selous, enjoyed from the verandah of a thatched open-sided boma set on a majestic curve of the Rufiji River. I can barely take my eyes off the wide waters as they swirl and flow, hiding crocodile disguised as logs, visiting hippo and spectacular birdlife. A swimming pool is set into the rocks on the river’s edge, shaded by an ancient baobab tree thought to be over 1,500 years old.

We’re in the Selous Game Reserve, which has an unusual combination of scenery ranging from the Rufiji River and sandbank (that attracts a host of visiting wildlife), to riverine forest, floodplains and marshes interlaced with lakes and dry riverbeds.

The room

After relaxing at the pool for the better part of the afternoon we return to our open-fronted thatch-and-stone room to regenerate before dinner. Though we had the choice of a hillside suite with its own plunge pool and private lounge area, we opted for a standard room, which is closer to the river. Here, I can sit on the verandah, or even lie on our large canopied bed, watching the riverside action for as long as I please.I feel a rush of excitement every time we walk into the cottage; everything living up to the pictures we’d perused so eagerly before choosing Sand Rivers Selous. Large and airy, our cottage has a thatched ceiling that sweeps up to its apex, with polished white stone floors that add to the sensation of space.Though we haven’t left the lodge all day – we went on a game drive yesterday and will cruise down the river tomorrow – I’m determined to see as much game as possible. We’ve been told that there’s a treehouse hide up on stilts overlooking the river, so we decide to go there before sunset, to see what we can spot. We sit in silence, looking over a large marshy area that sees hundreds of birds flitting about looking for food.A herd of giraffe comes to drink gracefully at the water’s edge, and even a family of playful elephant, who throw mud on themselves with apparent glee. Soon after, we head to the lodge for sundowners, pleased that we can still see this incredible wildlife show.

After relaxing at the pool for the better part of the afternoon we return to our open-fronted thatch-and-stone room to regenerate before dinner. Though we had the choice of a hillside suite with its own plunge pool and private lounge area, we opted for a standard room, which is closer to the river. Here, I can sit on the verandah, or even lie on our large canopied bed, watching the riverside action for as long as I please.

I feel a rush of excitement every time we walk into the cottage; everything living up to the pictures we’d perused so eagerly before choosing Sand Rivers Selous. Large and airy, our cottage has a thatched ceiling that sweeps up to its apex, with polished white stone floors that add to the sensation of space.

Though we haven’t left the lodge all day – we went on a game drive yesterday and will cruise down the river tomorrow – I’m determined to see as much game as possible. We’ve been told that there’s a treehouse hide up on stilts overlooking the river, so we decide to go there before sunset, to see what we can spot. We sit in silence, looking over a large marshy area that sees hundreds of birds flitting about looking for food.

A herd of giraffe comes to drink gracefully at the water’s edge, and even a family of playful elephant, who throw mud on themselves with apparent glee. Soon after, we head to the lodge for sundowners, pleased that we can still see this incredible wildlife show.

What sets it apart

Away from the crowds of the more mainstream lodges in the Selous, Sand Rivers makes you feel like you have the world’s second largest game reserve to yourself. Wildlife here is plentiful, and we see much of it passing us on its way down to the river from the various viewing spots: from our cottage, the main buildings, the swimming pool and the hide.I love how meals are a relaxed and delicious affair – bush breakfasts under the tree, lunches on the lodge verandah and dinner by starlight, listening to the sounds of the African wilderness. With no other source of light here, the stars are diamond bright, and every so often a meteor streaks across the darkness to our delight.

Away from the crowds of the more mainstream lodges in the Selous, Sand Rivers makes you feel like you have the world’s second largest game reserve to yourself. Wildlife here is plentiful, and we see much of it passing us on its way down to the river from the various viewing spots: from our cottage, the main buildings, the swimming pool and the hide.

I love how meals are a relaxed and delicious affair – bush breakfasts under the tree, lunches on the lodge verandah and dinner by starlight, listening to the sounds of the African wilderness. With no other source of light here, the stars are diamond bright, and every so often a meteor streaks across the darkness to our delight.

At a glance

  • Stylish lodge on the Rufiji River with eight stone-and-thatch cottages (three hillside suites with private plunge pools and sitting areas, and five riverside rooms). The lodge has an outdoor pool, open-air dining room, bar, lounge and safari shop.
  • Remote location, private dining available and private vehicles available.
  • Game drives, walking safaris, boating safaris, fishing, picnics, sundowners, fly camping (additional cost), Stiegler’s Gorge and hot springs trip.
  • Children of eight years and above are welcome, with family rooms and triples available. Fly camping and walking safaris available for children over 12 only.

  • Stylish lodge on the Rufiji River with eight stone-and-thatch cottages (three hillside suites with private plunge pools and sitting areas, and five riverside rooms). The lodge has an outdoor pool, open-air dining room, bar, lounge and safari shop.
  • Remote location, private dining available and private vehicles available.
  • Game drives, walking safaris, boating safaris, fishing, picnics, sundowners, fly camping (additional cost), Stiegler’s Gorge and hot springs trip.
  • Children of eight years and above are welcome, with family rooms and triples available. Fly camping and walking safaris available for children over 12 only.

Prices

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

When to Go

Crowding is never an issue in the southern parks, so you only really need to consider climatic factors when planning your safari. At this time, warm, sunny days give way to comfortably cool evenings. After the long rains, June is very lush, although the vegetation becomes sparser as the dry season continues. This means it’s easier to see and photograph game, and makes this the best time to be in Ruaha and the Selous. If you’d like to see the Great Wildebeest Migration crossing the Grumeti River, combine your southern Tanzania safari with a stop in the Serengeti now too.

These months provide a welcome window between rains, and begin with the savannah at its greenest. It soon begins to dry up, causing game to concentrate at the few places that retain water, making viewing great! In southern Tanzania, the great rivers of Ruaha National Park and the Selous Game Reserve become the focal points for condensed wildlife spotting. Arriving migratory birds (such as the white storks in Ruaha) lifts birding to a new level. If you’d like to pair a visit here now with something particularly special, pop over to the southern Serengeti, where you’ll be able to witness the wildebeest calving season.

These months are the rainiest in southern Tanzania, just as they are in the north of the country. Heavy showers and higher temperatures deter most visitors, although if you really want to have Ruaha or the Selous to yourself, this is the time to go. During the wet seasons you can watch immense tropical storms, and vegetation miraculously springing back to life after each dry season. These are some of the most beautiful times of year to be here, with flowers blooming and young animals being born. Just bring a raincoat!

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