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October 15, 2011
From journal Why Not Add Tanzania?
Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
June 6, 2006
Day 1 Safari – Lake Manyara National Park.The first day of our safari takes us to Lake Manyara National Park. A fairly small, but very beautiful park right on the shores of salty Lake Manyara. Manyara in Masai language means the finger tree – Elmanyara. The faults of the East African Rift Valley are right here causing a displacement of the higher western side with its steep slopes and the flat plain eastern side. A ride in the open roofed Land Cruiser brings us closer to lots of hippos spending the hours of sunshine in the river water close to the lake. Giraffes, zebras, and wilder beast also can be seen in the distance. I’m glad I have a pair of binoculars given to me as my farewell present when I left Qatar. Thanks guys!! I really appreciate it. Next to the road we watch giraffes grazing on the tiny leaves of acacia trees or just watching us as they chew on their food. The expression on the giraffes face, their eyes with long eye lashes, calm and unimpressed, reminds us of camels... A really similar "I really do not care much" expression. Anke says she could watch them forever…On we go... An accumulation of tourists lets us stop. It’s always a good sign of something more rare… And this time two lions were spotted lazing out on a tree. According to out guide, Lake Manyara National Park is known for their tree-climbing lions. Only the female ones can climb, the male ones being heavier don’t make it. I don’t think I would mind being a female lion. I spend 20 hours in a day sleeping, and the other 4 hours either walking around or eating. When I’m bored with the male species, I just climb a tree and sleep… hehehe... sounds like a good plan. We also saw lots of baobab trees. These trees retain water in their trunks like sponges, which makes them look like weird tree-mushroom mutants.
A grazing herd of elephants impress us next to the road. Storks making noise in the trees. The storks come here from Europe during the European wintertime. I’d put it as them having a vacation in Africa when it's winter back home…
Full of impressions and pictures in our mind, we return to the camp on the western mountains of the rift valley. Amazing enough, our tent is not only facing east, which provides us with a beautiful sunrise, it also has two beds. Did I say beds?? Yup, I did say beds. Two beds and mattresses. This is the first time I see beds in a tent. The cook, Martin and our guide, Gerald are feeding us well. Popcorn and biscuits for snacks at tea time, and pasta for dinner. We are getting spoilt already.
From journal Beaches, Safari, and Kilimanjaro of Tanzania
February 14, 2005
From journal African Safari--Kenya and Tanzania
October 15, 2004
The drive to the lake was exciting; we passed lone elephants and giraffes munching on the trees, baboons loitering like surly teenagers in the road, and a troop of shy, chirpy blue monkeys. As the road began to follow a stream, the bird-life got denser, and we saw lots of the splendid sunbirds, as well as several species of toucan-like hornbills. Two kinds of kingfishers, one sapphire, the other emerald, dipped into the stream, and an African hoopoe flashed by. White cattle egrets trotted after some zebras, and oxpickers, with red and orange bills, sat on the backs of hippos. Swallows chased after the mosquitoes, and black glossy ibises shone like oil slicks.
And then we got to the lake and entered bird heaven.
There's a gravel car park where you can get out of the jeep at the edge of the lake. The water of the vast lake begins a few feet from the edge of the gravel, weedy and odiferous, and about 20 yards away sit the beginnings of an apparently endless carpet of birds: white pelicans and pink pelicans sitting motionless on a sandbar, cormorants, sandpipers in the mud, dozens of kinds of ducks, hideously wattled marabou storks with six-foot wing-spans, a thousand gray herons stalking fish, yellow-billed and saddle-billed storks and spoonbills stirring up the bottom, and a pink stripe of flamingoes along the horizon. One lone fish-eagle circled overhead; I can't imagine why there weren't more predators, maybe they were all full. There were Egyptian ducks, looking like they've been tastefully painted, and dark and light ibises looking like Egyptian wall-paintings. Distant impala and buffalo grazing on the reedy shore were shadowed by cattle egrets.
Lake Manyara was the last park we visited. After all our encounters with lions and cheetahs, we had expected an anti-climax. We were wrong.
From journal A Safari in Tanzania