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Majestic Days

Before I left for my journey, there was nothing that could prepare me for the adventures that awaited.

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I recall talking with Mr Stander (owner) about a trip to film at Majestic Rivers Lodge on the lower Kilombero. Before I left for my journey, there was nothing that could prepare me for the adventures that awaited. It started with an overnight drive from Dar es Salaam. Along the path, we switched vehicles just before we entered the wild and wondrous Selous Reserve. Upon arrival, the first thing that came to my mind was the utter desolation and the all-too-familiar feeling of being away from the world most of us know. Not a step was taken before I was kindly greeted with a warm towel and a cold juice. Soon after my introduction to camp, I felt at home. The kindness that radiated from Alester and JoJo brought a sense of calm to the stimulation of the jungle. Our first act was to cast a line into the twisted and turbulent Kilombero. The week passed in a flash as we explored the dense jungle, seeking fish and the remnants of the ancient ones that lived before. Between the adventures of the jungle, we explored some of the many braids and tributaries on the Kilombero, including one where the water grew tight and shallow. At this tributary we found diversity in many native species, some would go as far as eating the fly on the bank between casts. The abundance of fish in different flavors is something to behold. If what you're seeking is species, they come in vast numbers, and if you're after the sheer size, they hide among the deep and feed during the “golden hours” of the day.

Though the fishing is great, the food is excellent. On clear days we could eat a fresh lunch along the banks of the Kilombero, cooked to perfection using the wood brought down by the river in high water during the rainy months. As the angler is an artist with the fly, the chef is an artist of flavor. Alongside the Tigerfish, we found many Yellow fish, Alestes, Labeo, razor fin Catfish, and Vundu. During the two weeks I stayed, the only thing missing was an extraordinarily large tigerfish, the one of legends. Many trophy fish were caught but not the one myths were made from. That is until the final day of fishing when we had a single goal in mind: to hold this beast from the deep. We weren't even 30 minutes into the day when something in the air changed, it was as if the wind through the baobabs called the fish to feed. Sore arms and weary smiles could not have prepared us for the fish that came next, the myth we had sought and searched for. The Tigerfish holds much power and is a formidable opponent, yet it brings harmony alongside the calming nature of the lodge. So deep in the jungle, yet simply Majestic.

Credit: Sam Christman



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