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Lake Manyara

Safari Day #1

semi-overcast 24 °C

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Finally we found an internet cafe with a decent enough connection to upload these pictures and get caught up on this thing. Tanzania has been by far the hardest country we visited to find a good connection as WIFI let alone internet cafes are virtually non-existent. We are currently in Zanzibar at the moment and it is just fantastic here!! White sand, turquoise waters, clean hotels and great food... all you can ask for in life I suppose lol. To be honest it feels great to be out of the hospital and also out of Arusha (our safari starting point and also where we returned to after Kenya) which we would both rate as one of the worst cities we've travelled to thus far. Lol, on that note:

Top 5 Worst Cities We've Travelled So Far:

1) Ooty, India - lacked in all amenities and atmosphere and was just a atrocious place to be sick
2) Arusha, Tanzania - dirty, drab, spread out, with no restaurants (literally) and overpriced because it's generally the starting point of any safari
3) Safaga, Egypt - shithole lol... enough said
4) Phuket Town, Thailand - dirty, no beach, no sun, no fun... ask Jana and Mike... they seen our hotel room there lol
5) Xian, China - polluted, crowded and dirty... terracotta warriors are actually outside of Xian

From Moshi we caught a dala-dala with our guide Johnny and within the hour we arrived in the "lovely" town of Arusha. It was nice to arrive somewhere new with a local that spoke swahili because the usual bombardment from the "flycatchers" (touts) was virtually non-existent. The harassment in Arusha was by far NOT the worst we've ever experienced but it still was pretty annoying as there is a lot to sell such as safaris, hiking, Masai Cultural Tours, Spice Tours and Kilimanjaro Climbing packages etc, so at any given time just being foreign and walking the streets exposes you to all sorts of sales pitches. We were well aware that the soul purpose for our guide bringing us to Arusha was to help us arrange a safari in order to obtain a commission, but we also were aware that it wouldn't effect "our" price as we asked around quite a bit and had a pretty good idea of what it should cost. We met with a tour operator in Arusha and ironed out the details for the next few days. Our itinerary was for 4 days and 3 nights (camping inside and outside the parks) including transport, guide, accommodation, and food and the price worked out to be around $140 per day per person (which is not bad considering people book online for thousands of dollars before arriving in Tanzania). First stop on our safari was to Lake Manyara National Park which is about a hour drive from Arusha.

Our sweet ride for the next couple of days...

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Before you even enter the park itself your hit with this very over powering smell of bird shit lol... then you look up and understand why.

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Pelicans.... and literally thousands of them. So many that most of the trees are completely white because of all their shit.

After passing by the mass amount of pelicans we proceeded on into the park. We were all pretty blow away by the beauty of the landscape and just at how lush everything was (after all it was the tail end of the rainy season). Then reality hits you... I'M ON FREAKIN' SAFARI!!!!

Monkeys (not sure which species)...

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Spotted this huge looking type of horn bill in the grass (not sure of the name)...

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One of the fastest herbivores on the planet... the Impala...

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After about a hour drive through the park we approached a hippopotamus watering hole where we were allowed to actually exit the vehicle and take a look around. Of course where there are people there are lots of baboons in the parks but when we arrived a fight broke out and they took off into the underbrush. From the very onset of the drive we were patting ourselves on the back for buying a good zoom lens for our camera... you'll soon all see why.

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I noticed that behind several bushes there appeared to be some movement going on, so I snuck past the barrier to capture a few images. Unreal stuff...

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Totally amazing!! Our guide got a bit mad at me for crossing the barrier but it was well worth it lol. He said that it's actually hippos and not carnivores that cause the most human fatalities in Tanzania's National Parks. You can easily see why. I wouldn't want to go toe to toe with one of those big bastards! That was the only time we seen them doing anything other than staying cool in the mud...

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A Kingfisher...

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Some other type of big bird (I tried to find the name of it on the NET but no luck)

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Got a real kick out of this next sighting.... the Blue Balls Monkey... guess why it's named that??

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Kind of sheds new light on the term "Blue Balls" doesn't it lol. We continued on touring the park for about another half hour or so before our next sighting. The Landcruiser is perfectly set up for wildlife watching as the roof lifts off in three sections (front, middle - where there's 2 bucket seats, and above the back bench which seats 3 people). On our safari there were 5 of us that day so Stacey and I got to occupy the whole back seat and have our own personal sunroof. This made for some amazing views and even more amazing wildlife photography!

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Not the biggest elephant we would see but no less magnificent...

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Continuing on...

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Zebras with thousands of flamingos in the background standing in Lake Manyara...

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Another elephant sighting...

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The view from our lunch picnic area...

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Do not feed the animals... but birds are cool right?

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After quickly being blessed with seeing all sorts of different animals you have to force yourself to just enjoy the scenery of the park, which was fascinating all on its own.

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A Baobab tree which are the elephants favourite because they contain so much water...

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After our lunch stop we headed deeper into the park along the edge of the lake and were immediately impressed by the diversity of all the animals... this safari would not disappoint!! Check these out!!

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Giraffes are the ultimate posers... I still love how they just stand there and stare right at you.

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Aside from noticing his gigantic balls lol the easiest way to tell if a giraffe is male or female is by colour (males are darker), or by the extra horn the males have in the middle of their heads. There are only around nine sub-species of giraffe in the world, and the ones in our pictures are called the Maasai Giraffe (one of the largest) and one of only two types found in Tanzania.

Continuing on... another elephant spotting...

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Look at the little baby!! Our guide said he's at least 3 years old because he has already started to grow tusks...

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Giraffes chilling by the lake...

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Another great bird shot...

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More flamingos off in the distance in the lake. Unfortunately the park roads never got very close to the edge of the lake which had just a tremendous amount of wildlife there... probably the reason for the roads not being there in the first place.

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Cool tiny little deer (I believe called a dik-dik)...

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Up very close and personal to the giraffes again....

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Can you believe that tongue?? Apparently it's so long that they can clean their own ears with it... too bad humans can't do that... gross lol.

A family of warthogs (bush pigs I think is the proper name for them) off in the distance...

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At the end of the day we finally got to encounter a whole troop of baboons on the road.

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Also close by we spotted this guy sunbathing on the rocks...

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Monitor Lizard

And that folks was our day touring around Lake Manyara. We left the park at around 4:30pm and proceeded to Panorama Camp where we would be spending the night camping. Why was it called Panorama Camp? See for yourself....

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I still can't get over that view. And that was literally what we saw when we opened the flap of our tent...

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The next morning we awoke fairly early, ate breakfast in the camp and then jumped back in the Landcruiser to start Day 2, which would include driving around the Ngorongoro Crater and through the Serengeti (including a game drive inside the park). It was quite foggy that morning up on the Crater rim so it wasn't exactly great conditions for pictures but we saw quite a lot of interesting sights leading up to the Serengeti. Here most of the land is occupied by a tribe called the Masai (who are really quite world renowned as famous warriors and are featured in numerous docs and movies) who are nomadic herders and are allowed to use the park land as grazing areas for their sheep, goats and cattle.

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Here's a picture of one of their villages...

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And finally a view of Ngorongoro Crater from up on the south eastern rim...

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That's all your gettin' of Day 2 for now lol. Stay tuned for many more fascinating pictures to come! Looking at them now just blows my mind and I can't wait for you all to see them. Up next is the Serengeti... and maybe, just maybe a few big cats as well. Hakuna Matata!!

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Posted by ttbwarren 27.06.2012 11:41 Archived in Tanzania

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