Our Trip To Lake Manyara National Park
We found this company when we went to the tourist office in Arusha. They gave us an intimidating list of all the safari companies in the city. There were a lot of them. We did not know who to choose. When we were done at the tourist office, we had to go out into the street. There were 20 to 30 hawkers waiting for us. They looked like vultures. That was an intimidating sight. We decided to get rid of them by hiring one. He led us to a nice building with security guards and we negotiated a small custom tour. They wanted us to take a longer trip but we did not have enough time. The hawker receives a commission from the tour operator and we also gave him a small tip. That made his day.
In the morning we met with Emmanuel, our guide, and his staff. We left for Lake Manyara about 120 km away.On our way we stopped in some small villages. We were surrendered by a number of people who tried to sell us all sorts of goods, necklaces. It broke my heart, I could not buy from everybody. They looked so desperate. They try to put their hands through the window to hand us some of their goods. Emmanuel said that people around there need at least 60 cents to feed their family. If they do not get it, they go hungry.
Once at the Campground, the staff set up our tents and our own sleeping bags while we were touring when we came back everything was set for us. We stayed at the Twiga Camping and Lodge by the village of Mto wa Mbu. Very nice enclosed campground, there is even a swimming pool and a little bar.
Before going into the national park, Emmanuel had to go pay. It took awhile to get through the gate, he said the banks were not working. We waited, it seemed an eternity to get in probably more than an hour. We started chatting with some people to kill time. Some Spanish couple were staying in a lodge in a tree, really expansive . I became jealous. In December the rates were close to one thousand dollars per person. It is all inclusive, a lot is included, including safaris.
It was a very excing safari. Emmanuel was a very knowledgeable guide. He was able to answer our most difficult questions. One of our favorite things to watch was the monkeys and the baboons they were absolutely everywhere. We also saw giraffes, elephants, impalas, hippos. Unfortunately we did not see any tree climbing lions, one of the few places in the world where you can see that behavior. We were particularly happy to see the imposing elephants. This park is also ideal to bird watch. The popular flamingos can be seen on the lake showing a mirage of pink.
It was a very exciting safari. Emmanuel was a very knowledgeable guide. He was able to answer our most difficult questions. One of our favorite things to watch were the monkeys and the baboons; they were absolutely everywhere. We also saw giraffes, elephants, impalas, hippos and much more. Unfortunately we did not see any tree climbing lions, one of the few places in the world where you can see that behavior. We were particularly happy to see the imposing elephants. This park is also ideal to do bird watching. The popular flamingos can be seen on the lake reflecting a mirage of pink.
On our way back we stopped in town at one of those craft shops. Paintings were made in series. One guy was even painting them four or five at the time. Emmanuel told us that every time we stopped at this store, he was able to put his name in a box for a draw to Zanzibar. I really appreciated his honesty. I was hoping that he would win. We took our trips for granted, but for Emmanuel this trip was a dream. Tara tried to buy some animal sculptures, there were so many of them we did not know what to take. She was interested in one, but the price was high. She put it back, the merchant was livid, he ran after her to offer her a better deal he sent another guy, he pleaded with her to comeback but it was too late, I did not get it, why do they try to charge you a ridiculous price to start with. They just think tourists have unlimited cash reserves. When we came back we had an excellent meal prepared by our cook Charles. We washed our meal down with some Safari beer. The world was perfect. The next day we got up the cooks to barbecue us some chicken and prepared us a lunch. We saw plenty of baboons all around the road. We made our way above the Rift Valley...what a view and we went to Ngorongoro.
A beautifeul bird: the grey crowned cranes
The blue and red head agama lizard
Elephants in the shade
Our first sighting of elephants in Africa
Elephants drinking water
Tle lake in the distance
Termite mound used by mongoose
Elephants (I do not know what to say anymore)
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Paintings for sell in Mto wa mbu near Manyara Lake National Park
Baboons are evrywhere in Manyara
A very fascinating animal :the baboons
Birds are everywhere in Lake Manyara
Impalas running on the road
Impalas are everywhere in Manyara Lake National Park
There are many velvet monkeys in Manyara Lake
A pond with hippos
Flock of Cheeked Hornbills
Mark Solomon shopping for art
Mark and me at the Twiga Camping and Lodge
Tara (she had her mouth full), Mark Solomon and me
Shidolya served us very good food