Southern Tranquility Part III

By on February 15, 2016

Before I start this one off, allow me make it categorically clear that this is the third and final Blog post in the Southern Tranquility Series. I have received one or two emails from readers requesting that I keep running this thing for a little longer but seeing as I am not a huge fan of series, I have decided to make this the last.

I had to fight a battle with my editors to have this thing run in a three part series. I wanted to just sum it up in one lengthy blog post but they argued that I would not do it justice. Also, they call the shots – all I do is write.

So anyway, this is the final segment in the Southern Tranquility series.

Today as I bring the Southern Tranquility series to an end, I’d like to state that if for some strange reason the gods asked if there was a particular place I wanted to be when I breathed my last, I would without a doubt say I want to spend those last moments at Serena Mivumo River Lodge overlooking River Rifiji and located in the midst of Selous National Game Reserve.

My trip to this little secluded and hidden gem of a destination remains a special one because for once in a very long time, I felt lost in the wilderness. For a person like myself who is always around people, the chance to get away is extremely welcome; if not required. The further away I am able to get from people, the more fulfilling my escape. This place filled my escape desire to the absolute brim.

Having enjoyed a fabulous stay at Serena Hotel Daresalaam, I had to give in to the travel plans that were laid before me – a visit to Serena Mivumo River Lodge.

The flight from Dar-Es-Salaam to Stiegler Airstrip in the middle of Selous Game Reserve lasted no more than 45 minutes and while Kwame and Brian our pilots were gliding through the air like Formula 1 Drivers weaving through ordinary traffic, the rest of us marveled at the sight below. It is not so often you fly over such an expanse of uninhabited land with no more than eight individuals on board. My friend Allan kept insisting that he absolutely disliked flying in small aircrafts because of turbulence and whatnot but deep down I was grinning; my excitement overwhelmed the fear of turbulence.

When we got to Stieglier’s Airstrip, we were treated to refreshments, a briefing on what to expect and some light hearted humour with the pilots about them flying away and leaving us alone in the wild.

SelousChecking in …

The thirty minute drive to Serena Mivumo River Lodge was exactly what we needed to introduce us to the wild. Our driver kept stopping to narrate an ordeal about this tree, a story about that hill, or some random theory about certain animal tracks and whatever else we encountered. At the Lodge, we were received by the seemingly gleeful guys who unconsciously kept reminding us that if anyone ever needed a crash course on customer service, these guys would be glad to school them for free.

Serena Mivumo Lodge stands rather high on the banks of the calm yet powerful brown Rufiji River, somewhere in the middle of the large Selous National Game Reserve. The lodge is fitted with twelve timbered chalets, each complete with a private viewing deck and plunge pool overlooking the slow River below. From each of the viewing decks one can be able to see the Hippos staking claim to the banks without necessarily riling up the crocodiles – peaceful coexistence.

In each of the chalets you will find some rather interesting items for instance the uniquely selected antiques narrating a story of the wild, the attractive high vaulted ceilings with their glamour as well as the modern day leather dressing on the rattan styled furniture. The lighting in the rooms is so soft one can almost hear it whisper ‘You are out here to relax.’ And then there is the spacious and dangerously comfortable bed with coverings of tapestry, carved works and fine linen. All these combine to create a harmony of serenity and tranquility – exactly what I was looking for in the wild.

CottageI had only heard and read about Chalets like these from stories in the Swiss Alps; now I was here – in one of them.

The lodge has a central dining area for guests, which also overlooks the brown river. There is a neatly designed ‘infinity’ pool with a proper sundeck for any guests who feel like taking in the full effect of the wild sun. There is a little network of walkways from one Chalet to another and finally to the central dining area as well as to the massage parlor – a place where I spent quite a bit of my time trying to understand how human fingers are able to make you feel so heavenly.


By the time we went for the game drive the next day, a part of me felt like my stay in this heavenly place needed to be extended.

On the game drive we encountered several interesting sights including birds that followed the car for nearly an hour, elephants climbing rocks, giraffes camouflaging, hippos fighting, crocodiles hunting and my personal favorite; lions mating.

From what I saw, it appeared that everything I had heard and read about lions mating was wrong. All of it! First of all, the females are extremely disinterested in mating. All they do is lie there and let the guy hump away. Secondly, the males almost plead for the females to allow them even get close. And finally, lions have absolutely no shame! These shameless beasts were at it when we were watching – and filming.


Beastly nonchalance!

The game drive was punctuated with a picnic right in the middle of the wilderness; something which I was told is a favourite for many tourists. Everyone seemed unbothered by the possibility of a random hungry wild animal seeing us as possible dinner. Luckily, that did not happen. We were however advised to stay alert and not dose off – like that was even possible.

The ride back to the resort was equally mind-blowing as we met several other animals. Along the way, our beast of a car even got stuck and we had to engage in some rather hardcore activity. It almost felt like someone was secretly filming a Pilot episode for Survival Tanzania.

By the time we got back to the lodge, it was no surprise that each of us took quite a while in the showers. This happened either because the showers were so magical or because we were worn out from the day’s activities; for me, it was because of both.

When we gathered for dinner, the routine kicked in heavy dinner, a few drinks thrown back, stories shared about the day’s experiences and communication with the outside world, thanks to the wifi which was only available at the dining area because apparently the clarets are better enjoyed with no access to the outside world.

The next day as we took the boat ride on the River Rufiji, I kept asking myself why the heck people even bother to travel very far to experience the wild. True, I had braved a lengthy bus ride and two plane flights to get to this place but this was absolutely better than any trip to any other place on earth.

As I already mentioned, if there is ever any chance for me to decide where I want to be when I breathe my last, Serena Mivumo River Lodge is that place.

Back to adrAllan and myself on the flight back to Nairobi after a glorious weekend. If you look closely you can see that we were worn out from the weekend exploits. Worn out, but delighted!

I plan to traverse Africa in the near future with the hope that I will find a place even half as magnificent as the Serena Mivumo River Lodge. Until then, this is where I want to breathe my last.

“The Wilderness holds answers to more questions than we have yet learned to ask.” ― Nancy Wynne Newhall

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