Lake Manyara

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Day 3

From our hotel we leave at 8 am to head for Lake Manyara National Park.  There is some interpersonal scuffle over how to keep our lunch food organized and refrigerated in the two coolers in the jeeps as almost all of us are trying very hard not to eat any uncooked vegetables and only peeled fruit.  The safari companies usually just pack up sandwiches for everyone and put them in cardboard boxes, together with fruit and dessert, not concerned about the temperature of the beef or chicken sandwiches, usually made with mayonnaise, the small containers of yoghurt, or the hard boiled eggs which would sit in the vehicle unrefrigerated for 4-5 hours.  We insisted that the perishable food be put in the cooler, rather than the water bottles or drinks which usually occupy that space, and, when it was lunch time, we in fact had delicious cold sandwiches.

On the shore of Lake Manyara

The highlight of today is our one and only out-of-jeep walk in a National Park.  We have paid extra in advance for our permit and for the two armed guards, with large rifles at the ready, who accompany us for a walk along the lake shore. We walk in single file, with one guard in front and one in back, with the lead man providing explanations to us about the trees, bushes and wildlife that we see.  This is not a smooth flat walk around the lake but a rough jig-jagging down from a road over a narrow uneven path with many bushes and shrubs underfoot on the sometimes steep decline.

Starting Down the Path (photo by Judy)

The landscape is very different from that we visited yesterday.  This is heavy green growth, although low and without large trees.  The most common flower seems to be the white morning-glory-like petaled flower on a vine that is crawling all over the landscape.  Another effusive flora here is the thorny acacia with sharp needles. The needles may deter some animals, birds and insects but we are told this tree is a favorite treat for the elephants. Because the bushes are low on the ground, and Drake unfortunately is wearing knit fabric pants, he became caught on some acacia needles and was scratched by one, which drew some blood, necessitating a brief band-aid stop.  After some hesitancy by Drake to continue, Joseph lifted Drake on his shoulders and walked with him uphill until we reached a clear road. Drake said that he highly recommends Joseph because he helped him and also recommends Oreteti Safari.

Our guards Mustafa and John (photo by Judy)

At one shore of the lake, we find our jeeps and a group of water buffalo, not domesticated for milk like those in India, but wild animals that need to be treated with respect and are considered dangerous. This season has seen unusually heavy rains, creating havoc for farmers and temporarily expanding the extent of the already large lake.

Baboon along the road, one of many (photo by Judy)

Once back in our vehicles and on our way out of the park, we are excited to stop along the way and see many animals, including great numbers of elephants, bushbacks, giraffes, a variety of birds, blue faced monkeys and lots and lots oof baboons. Near the end of today’s journey, a whole family of elephants crossed the road right in front of us and around us, including some babies behind their mothers.  What a wondrous experience of the diversity of our animal life!.

Back at our resort in Karaku, some of our group go swimming in a clean but unheated and col pool while others of us take a much needed nap before dinner.

We all fall asleep early. Tomorrow we leave for the Serengeti!

Elephant Family