Unfortunately we didn't have time to schedule a day at Tarangire -- we continue west tomorrow towards Serengeti.
This National Park is a narrow strip of land running between Lake Manyara on the east and the Gregory Rift Wall (escarpment) on the west. Like the Momela Lakes in Arusha N.P., Lake Manyara is alkaline. Birds are plentiful, but large game (like their famous tree-climbing lions) are hard to see in the wet season -- the greenery is dense. Guide books say to expect baboons, zebra and buffalo, various antelope, and hippos in the Hippo Pond (obviously).
It was about a 2.5 drive from Arusha to the northern gate entrance of the park.
From there we would drive south with the lake on our left, and the tall escarpment on our right.
Along the road from Arusha tp Manyara we saw many termite mounds mixed in with highway markers.
Just like Arusha, as soon as we entered Lake Manyara Park we saw baboons and their babys.
This little one had a very relaxed pose!
On the park map, you'll see a few road loops just south of the entrance gate. We went there to the Hippo Pool.
As usual, we had to keep our distance from the hippos and use the full reach our our longest zoom lenses.
From the Hippo Pool we continued south, spotting impala under the protection of trees as it approached midday.
We saw some roadside vervet monkeys, who appeared to be doing... well, not much of anything:
We were fortunate to see a tiny Dik Dik in the tall grass and leaves - one of the smallest antelope (30cm tall).
It's a male, because of the horns. Frau A though he was cute, and asked if we could bring him home!
Further south, the land opened up - dry plains between the dirt road and the lake. Here we found zebra.
Many of the zebra were juveniles, and quite active. (We will see zebra babies in future posts...)
There was quite a bit of "roughhousing" from the guys, kicking up dust as they play-fight with each other.
As the road continued on, it returned into forested areas, where baboons stayed in the shade to keep cool.
A female elephant and her young one emerged briefly from the brush and then disappeared again.
In African Elephants, females have tusks too. The males are more often solitary (no little tag-alongs).
The road through the forest and brush looked like this, with thick greenery and interspersed tall trees:
A few minutes later, some other elephants emerged on our left. This lady had two children in tow:
Our guide stopped the Land Cruiser, and the elephants crossed the road right in front of us!
A trailing member of the party stopped to scratch himself (or herself, I think) against a tree before crossing.
Frau A took this next photo from the back seat of the Land Cruiser, looking forward. We could either point our cameras out the side windows, or as in this case, stand on the seats and through the openings in the roof.
I had extra sun protection (neck cover, long sleeves) after the intense exposure the prior day in Arusha.
They're very relaxed near the cars. They see us as part of the car, and don't get spooked or aggressive.
We mostly took photographs, but did capture about 25 seconds of video as they emerged from the trees and then (after crossing the road) re-entered the woods. That's one of the difficulties - encounters like this happen so fast.
Some elephants turned back onto the road, walked ahead a bit, and then back into the forest on our left.
We were excited to see our first elephants, and so closely! The afternoon in Manyara is still to come (next post)!
And finally... this was our honeymoon. For the wedding, instead of registering for physical gifts (e.g., china, silverware, etc.), we registered different parts of this Tanzanian safari. For this blog post, we wish to heartfully thank:
- Nia H, for the morning game drive in Manyara. The elephants were just amazing to see. THANK YOU!
- Don, Karen, & Joshua D, also for the game drive with our first impala sighting & the cute dik dik. THANK YOU!
We hope our friends and family enjoy the pictures and story as much as we did living it.