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The mighty Rufiji River is Tanzania’s longest and largest river. Flowing through the northern part of Nyerere National Park (the northern section of the vast Selous Game Reserve), the river offers wonderful opportunities for wildlife-watching by boat and is incredibly scenic.

Boating is a great contrast to vehicle safari and walking – other high quality activities available in Nyerere.

Nile crocs, hippos , Goliath herons, fish eagles, bee eaters, kingfishers and majestic African skimmers are just some of the species to be seen during morning and evening boat safaris.

If you are lucky as we were, you might see elephants coming down to drink, or giraffe. Impala and waterbuck pick their drinking spots carefully – avoiding the deep channels where the crocodiles lurk.

Early morning, with golden light and a cool breeze, is the perfect time to venture upstream to Stieglers Gorge where the banks rise steeply and the call of fish eagles and hippos echo all around you.

Deep into the gorge you moor up for a delicious bush breakfast and have the opportunity to stretch your legs and enjoy your coffee in the sunshine on the fine white sand (once the crocs have slithered away…).

The real magic of the gorge envelops you on the return: the boat’s engine is switched off and the river takes you, ever so gently downstream.

We did not see another boat all morning…

We stayed at Sand Rivers – this stylish lodge has just five beautiful open-fronted riverside rooms and three hillside suites – all with phenomenal views of the river. The guiding was exceptional. To find out more please click here.

Nyerere combines brilliantly with Zanzibar, and/or Ruaha National Park.