Entries in Lake Manyara (3)


A Schnitzelbahn History: the Tanzania honeymoon safari

We've received some feedback from readers that we should add "index" pages for specific content.
An index page is better than the Categories ("Navigation" on the right side of this page) because
you don't have to scroll through blog entries you've already seen -- intead, just go to the entry you want.


So, here is a brief index of our blog entries about parks on the northern circuit in Tanzania (plus Mafia Island):

Arusha National Park  (Day 1,  Day 2)

- Arrival and overnight at Karama Lodge

- Morning in the Park:  baboon babies, walk across the plain, a small waterfall, and lots of giraffes

- Afternoon in the Park:  canoeing on an alkaline lake, flamingos, and black & white colobus monkeys


Lake Manyara National Park  (Day 3)

- Morning in the Park:  more baboon babies, impala, dik dik, zebra, and lots of elephants

- Afternoon in the Park:  vervet monkeys with babies, baboons, golden weaver, plus the Rhotia Valley


Ngorongoro Crater the Ngorongoro Conservation Area  (Day 4)

- Morning in the Crater:  zebras, hyena, wildebeast, warthogs and babies, ostrich, black rhino, eland,
  bush buck, Thompson's gazelle, birds (ibis, stork, and kori bustard), elephants, and lounging lions!  

- Afternoon in the Crater:  yellow-billed kites, weavers and pelicans, elephant, water buffalo,
  ostriches in a mating dance, warthog babies, lions, and the Rhotia Valley Children's Home! 


Serengeti National Park - Walking Safari  (Day 5,  Day 6,  Day 7)

- Drive into Serengeti N.P.:   saw lions mating (!), and an uncountable number of wildebeast in the herd

- Drive to the Walking Safari Camp:  agama lizards, superb starlings, marabou stork, and our campsite
  on the banks of the Orangi River in the central Serengeti (with recent hippo tracks near our tent!) 

- Info about the designated "wilderness area" for walking safari:  the camp, the surrounding landscape, etc.

- First day (morning walk):  lots of animal tracks, water buffalo (one alive, one just a skull), and an impala

- First day (afternoon walk):  an antlion, two jackals, and a mongoose family in an abandoned termite mound

- Second day (morning walk):  a klipspringer, reedbuck, giraffes, topi... and a black-necked spitting cobra!

- Second day (afternoon walk):  a short trek through the larger kopjes and rainy goodbye to the mobile camp


Serengeti National Parl - Game Drives  (Day 8,  Day 9,  Day 10)

- Drive from walking camp to the game-drive camp:  leopard tortise, herd (or pod) of hippos, impala, giraffes,
a silverbird and some weavers, a leopard (finally!), vultures, mongooses, water buffalo, and a lion near camp

- Info about our "special campsite":  lodging options in Serengeti National Park, our tent camp in the shadows of one of the Moru Kopjes, baboons and giraffes at breakfast, light painting at night, and a landscape view with rainbows.

- First Day (morning game drive):  hyrax, lion perched on a kopje, bearded woodpeckers, and lots of elephants

- First Day (afternoon game drive):  a sensational view, with video, of a pride of lions gathering at dusk.

- Second Day (morning game drive):  leopard in a tree, lion in a tree, many animals feeding (giraffe, vervet monkeys, warthog), many birds (secretary bird, pearl spotted owlet, gray hornbill, lilac breasted roller, lovebirds). 

- Second Day (afternoon game drive):  coming soon


Mafia Island (Chloe Island)

- First Day:  coming soon

- Second Day:  coming soon

- Third Day:  coming soon

- Fourth Day:  coming soon

- Fifth Day:  coming soon


It was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure -- thanks to friends and family that gave wedding gifts to make it possible.




Tanzania Holiday 5: Lake Manyara National Park - afternoon drive and Rhotia Valley

The morning in Lake Manyara National Park brought us our first encounter with elephants.  We stopped briefly for lunch at a picnic spot somewhere in the middle of the park (near the central Ranger station on the map, I think).

Source: tanzaniawildlifesafaris.com

About this time, clouds rolled in and when we climbed back in the Land Cruiser, some showers were falling.
Despite the weather, we drove by vervet monkeys gathering food in the grass -- they had babies too!

They weren't bothered by a light rain, but looked less happy when the intensity of the showers increased.

This was the last monkey still in the open -- we got this photos just as he was heading for the trees.

The rain soon stopped.  We drove on, and saw these giraffes as we rounded a bend in the dirt road.

Further down the park, an adult baboon was feeding at the side of the road.  He paused to inspect us.

Nearby, a mother was carrying her baby away from the road in into the protection of the forest.

A slightly older baby baboon took a moment before running to mom, and gave us a nice photo.

Our driver and guide, Prim, was amazing at spotting animals.  His sharp eyes found this golden weaver:

Eventually, we circled around and headed north - back to the park entrance.  From here we drove west, and up to a lookout point on the escarpment that is effectively the western wall of the park.  It's a nice view to the lake below.

Note: above photo was bracketed and HDR/tonemapped using Photomatix

From Lake Manyara N.P., our guide drove us to where we would spend the next two nights: Rhotia Valley, near the town of Karatu.  It's about 45-60 minutes from the Manyara park entrance, and about the same distance from the entrance gate to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (tomorrow's destination).

When one thinks of "Africa", hot and dry places come to mind by default.  But Rhotia Valley defies this stereotype.  It lies at 1700m elevation, so the climate is cooler (and well above the line for Malaria risk).  The soil is rich, and many terraced farms take advantage of the fertile environment.

We climbed a bit in the Land Cruiser to reach our destination, and could look out over the valley.

Note: above photo was bracketed and HDR/tonemapped using Photomatix

We arrived at Rhotia Valley Lodge just as the sun was getting low in the sky.  This is what our hut looked like:

We checked in, washed up, and found seats on the deck.  They had a new beer brand, Tusker, for us to try.

The lodge had a few cats around.  Most were still sleeping the day off, like this one:

From the lodge's deck, you can see some of the valley -- lots of green!  The lodge tries to source as much food and material from the local farming community as possible, so ingredients are local and fresh!

Note: above photo was bracketed and HDR/tonemapped using Photomatix

It was very warm at Lake Manyara today, but we wore fleeces tonight at the higher altitude (it felt great).

Note: above photo was bracketed and HDR/tonemapped using Photomatix

Across the way from the lodge is a children's home -- a group of ~24 kids, all orphaned from towns in the area.
Proceeds from the lodge help support the home.  Our hosts will bring us over tomorrow to meet them! 

Note: above photo was bracketed and HDR/tonemapped using Photomatix

So we settled down for dinner, and another beer, and watched the sun go down.  Tomorrow is Ngorongoro crater!

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:
   -  Jaclyn F, for the lunch in Manyara.  We were soooo hungry after snapping all these photos.  THANK YOU!
   -  Landrea R, for the overnight at Rhotia.  The beer... the view... see how happy Frau A looks?  THANK YOU!

We hope our friends and family enjoy the pictures and story as much as we did living it. 


Tanzania Holiday 4: Lake Manyara National Park - morning drive

Our first active day in Tanzania was spent in Arusha National Park, in the fields and on the lakes.
Early the next morning we continued west along the "northern circuit" to Lake Manyara National Park.  

Source: Official Site of Tanzania National Parks

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. 

Source: tanzaniawildlifesafaris.com

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.