Post Thumb

The game reserve in Tanzania is home to stunning wildlife
, but it's the giraffes that really stand out – and not just for the obvious reason Surely the giraffe was out of its mind. Or perhaps it was simply summing up the situation rather too slowly. It had emerged from bush cover to find itself a few yards from a large pride of lions that were lazing in the golden glow of late afternoon sun. Eleven heads turned in unison, suddenly alert. Eleven pairs of amber eyes were instantly fixed on the leggy newcomer. The giraffe took a step forward and stopped. It reversed the move and stopped, flicking its tail and staring back at the ominous family group. A good 15 seconds passed. The lions were motionless. Then, unbelievably, the giraffe walked towards them again – three, four paces. The tension was palpable. As one of the lions started to stretch a forepaw, the giraffe abruptly came to its senses. Rapidly turning tail it disappeared into the bush in three long bounds. The lions sank back, soporific once more. They were unperturbed by our 4x4 purring nearby. Presumably the big metal creature was dismissed as neither threat nor potential prey. But the giraffe, our guide remarked, well, it had been theirs for the taking. A giraffe, he added, has a seriously powerful kick that can shatter a lion's skull. But it would be unable to defend itself if attacked by 11 of these big cats. The pride we were watching had evidently been insufficiently hungry to take matters to a bloody conclusion.

The Selous Game Reserve offers superb wildlife viewing and, unlike Tanzania's safari hotspots, there are few other visitors. As a reserve rather than a national park, regulations are fairly relaxed, too:
you can drive off road and therefore get remarkably close to the animals; you can go on walking safaris;
and you can take private "fly-camping" trips – get-away-from it-all safaris on which you camp out in the bush. What's more, the Selous is readily accessible, via a spectacular light-aircraft flight of about 40 minutes from Dar es Salaam.