Day 10: Lake Manyara NPMarch 15, 2011 in Tanzania
We checked out early and met our safari guide for the next 3 days, a young guy named Edwin with decent English. Our steed for the journey was a beaten-up old Toyota Landcruiser. It wasn't much to look at, but seemed mechanically sound enough.
We left Springlands around 9:30am and headed west through Moshi, past Kilimanjaro airport, and then into the larger city of Arusha where we stopped at a big Western-style supermarket called Shop-Rite. We stocked up on water, soft drinks and a few snacks for a total of 5850 shillings (about $4.50).
We then headed into the north-west of Tanzania, stopping briefly for lunch at a tourist tat shop slash picnic area. By mid-afternoon we reached our destination, the Lake Manyara National Park.
The lake itself is entirely rain-based, swelling massively during the wet season and gradually shrinking during the dry. Right now at the end of the dry season it's pretty small. We had a read through the info rooms while Edwin finalised our papers, then set off into the park.
Lots of animals were around - big groups of monkeys and baboons near the entrance. Further into the park we came across some scattered giraffes, a small herd of zebra and a briefly-glimpsed elephant in the trees. Moving closer to the edge of the lake we saw some submerged hippos, but they were too far away for good photos. Also nearby were impala, water bucks, dik diks and warthogs. Lots of the animals were close to the car and seemingly unafraid. As dusk approached we left Manyara towards the Highview Hotel, our inn for the night. It was on a hill (surprisingly!), and near the mountain town of Karatu. After leaving Manyara the road had curved steadily upwards onto the Great Rift Valley escarpment. I had no idea, but the Valley runs all the way along eastern Africa, from Jordan in the Middle East down to Mozambique.
The hotel was very modern, though only about 10% full due to the low season. We had a nice buffet dinner in the twilight, entertained by some traditional Maasai dancers, singers and drummers. Off to bed early before a long day tomorrow.Read more