Posts Tagged ‘Lake Manyara National Park’

Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” – Eddie Cantor

Lake Manyara sunset was the first of many Africa gifted Kim and I. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

African Safari: Lake Manyara Continued

I know I said we were going to drive to the Serengeti today, but I decided to linger a bit longer at Lake Manyara to share some of Kim’s photos with you.

She took hundreds, if not thousands, compared to my relatively few, and sent me a slide show of the best of them shortly after we returned from Africa. But they were in a format that I couldn’t download onto my computer.

Kim and I in front of our Serena Lodge rondeval. -- Photo by Kim Perrin, using timer and tripod

An orchid growing around the lodge. -- Photo by Kim Perin

Finally, last night, she found a way to send me the originals that I can copy and use for this recap of our 2007 African safari. It would seem a shame to waste her efforts, and all my efforts downloading them this morning, to skip showing you at least a few of them.

I hope you enjoy. And tomorrow, I promise, we’ll drive to the Serengeti.

In addition to lions and elephants, Kim and I also took time for smaller things, like this awesome chameleon we watched as we ate our lunch. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

A mama lion and two cubs in Lake Manyara National Park. — Photo by Kim Perrin

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 A Wild Race to Lake Manyara’s Park Gate

This was our first truly close-up look at an elephant. There would be many more before the trip ended. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“…nature has ceased to be what it always had been, what people needed protection from. Now nature tamed, endangered, mortal, needs to be protected from people.” – Susan Sontag

African Safari: The Ugly Poaching Business

There is no nighttime wildlife viewing in Tanzania’s national parks. That’s when the poachers come out, Bilal told us.

It used to be, he said, that the poachers made war on the park rangers, but now the park rangers are shooting back. And Tanzania doesn’t want tourists caught in the crossfire.

This is a Masai giraffe, the largest of the several subspecies of giraffe found in Africa. It is a bit darker than the other subspecies, has jagged spots and tuft of hair on its tail. -- Photo by Pat Bean

But despite the government’s crackdown, according to several recent news articles that I’ve read, poaching is still a major problem in Tanzania, as well as some other African countries, and in some areas is even increasing.

What Tanzania’s official crackdown on the illegal activity meant to us in 2007 was that the park closed its gates at 6:30 p.m. – and there was a big fine for not checking out of it by that time.

Perhaps because of some great last-minute sightings of an elephant dusting herself off and a mother giraffe with a young one that were too terrific to pass up, Bilal may have lost track of time. That was one of the great things about our guide. He always seemed as excited at watching wildlife as we were – well unless it was small, nondescript birds.

Anyway, all of a sudden Kim and I found ourselves being

Yellow-billed oxpeckers. We would see these on the backs of giraffes and water buffalo. -- Wikipedia photo

bounced around in the back of the Land Rover, holding on tightly but with grins on our faces, as a worried Bilal put the pedal to the metal in a race to get back to the entrance before the deadline. It was a deliciously wild ride that added a touch of adventure to our already full day.

We made it with two minutes to spare, and we could audibly hear Bilal exhale a sigh of release, and see the smile return to his face.

He slowed down for the drive back to our Lake Manyara Serena Lodge, and stopped to let us photograph our first spectacular African sunset.

Blacksmith plover: We would see many of these during our drives across Kenya and Tanzania's grasslands. -- Wikipedia photo

I’ve heard artists and photographers talk about Africa’s great light, and now I was getting to see it for myself.

What a great day.

Bird Log of New Lifers: Little egret, white stork, sulphur-breasted bush shrike, common bulbul, tawny eagle, white-rumped swift, emerald-spotted wood dove, blacksmith plover, grey-headed kingfisher, Egyptian goose,

African spoonbill -- Wikipedia photo

black-headed gull, grey-headed gull, great cormorant, lesser flamingo, great white pelican, yellow-billed egret, yellow-billed stork, black-winged stilt, African spoonbill, pied avocent, two-banded courser, southern ground hornbill, yellow-billed oxpecker, fish eagle, long-tailed fiscal, silvery-cheeked hornbill, crowned plover, marsh sandpiper, Hilderbrant’s francolin, helmeted guinea fowl, dark-capped yellow warbler, great reed warbler, cliff chat , August 22 afternoon drive in Lake Manyara State Park.

Next: Drive to Serengeti National Park

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 “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value ..” – Maya Angelou

One of Lake Manyara National Park's famed tree-climbing lions. -- Wikipedia photo

African Safari:Where the Wild Things Are

At the entrance to Lake Manyara National Park is a sign that reads: “Take nothing from the park but nourishment for the soul, consolation for the heart and inspiration for the mind.”

The next few hours would provide Kim and I with plenty of all three.

As a normal rule, lions don’t climb trees. But if we were lucky, we were told, we would see some tree-climbing lions in Lake Manyara National Park.

Southern ground hornbill.

We were lucky.

And along with lions sprawled out on tree limbs, we saw oxpecker birds gleaning insects from the backs of giraffes, watched the comical antics of baboon families, including one small one that would taunt his bigger cousins then rush back to his big male papa for protection.

We saw a few lingering flamingos of the millions that feed on the lake before migrating elsewhere, and dozens of colorful birds. And we came across zebra and gazelles dining together, with a few keeping watch for lions and cheetahs that wanted them for dinner.

Zebras and gazelles dining together in a grassy plain area of the park. -- Photo by Pat Bean

In fact, I don’t think there was even a single moment during our afternoon game drive when we were out of sight of wildlife going about their business. So accustomed to Land Rovers were they, that we were totally ignored, which would not be the case, Bilal warned us, if we were on foot

Lake Manyara, named after the Masaai word manyara for a plant that is used to grow stockades for livestock., has a quite diverse habitat, which accounts for its broad range of species. The landscapes go from lake to jungle, and includes an acacia woodland forest, open grassland, and a swamp.

Lesser flamingoes at Lake Manyara -- Kuru Travel photo

At one of our stops, we had southern ground hornbills strutting around on one side of us, giraffes on the other side of us and both elephants and water buffalo nearby.

I didn’t know which way to look, but I think the hornbills got the majority of my attention. These large black and red birds have voices that some say sound human.

And according to a Masaai  folk tale, their conversation is as a man speaking to a woman. He says: I want more cows, and she replies: You’ll die before you get them.

Next: A wild race to the park gate

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