Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lake Manyara

As we were headed down to the lake, we couldn’t help but think they were couldn’t possible see anything new. Somehow we were both exhausted after three days of driving and safari, but when we arrived we saw that this park was again totally different from anything we had seen in the past few days. Most of the park is occupied by the huge lake and the remainder is dense forest; a jungle of undergrowth, acacia trees and baobab trees.

Right from the start we saw a totally different group of wildlife. Lots of baboons, black-faced and blue monkeys. (Who we were delighted to find out have permanent blue-colored balls.) Although the density of wildlife in this park is lower than our two previous destinations we were excited about the specialties – hippos, elephants and the elusive dik dik, which was Chris’s only goal of the trip.

First we visited the hippo pool. The shallow pool of thick mud and water is home to more than twenty hippos. They make some pretty funny noises. Watching the huge heads immerge form the mud, I couldn’t help but think of the game hungry hippos. The road through the park weaves in an out of the forest. It was a great change from the scorching heat of the plains. We saw lots of impala in the woods and came across lots of birds. The lake is covered with pink dots like in Ngorongoro, lots and lots of flamingos.

Without question the highlight of the day was the family of elephants. There must have been around thirty of them and we got to see them walking down to the river. They had babies! The tiny little guys were some of the cutest things I have ever seen. All floppy ears and trunk, which they can never seem to keep upright, they ran around and played in the water. We sat and watched for a good 30 minutes.

We were eventually making our way back to the entrance as dark was approaching when we heard about a lion sighting from another driver. Like we were on a mission we went speeding through the forest in search of the spot. Lion sightings seem to be the big money maker on these safaris. They are not to be taken lightly, in fact we passed a few other vehicles that had also heard about the lion and followed us down the road. Granted this was a special sighting – a large male in a tree! Who knew? Tree climbing lions. It was pretty awesome to see. He was just hanging out on one of the branches, lazily opening an eye once in a while to check out all the cars lining the road.

Definitely a great sight to end our adventure on.


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