15-17 JANUARY - Depart on a game drive to Lake Manyara Tree Lodge for a stay of three nights.
Was told there are about 120 tribes in Tanzania, of which Masai are not the largest. Swahili is common language. There are lots of orphanages, presumably because of AIDS. About 50% of the population are farmers and have about 5 acres of land.
After about 3 hours arrived at gate to Lake Manyara National Park. The park is 230 sq. km. but the Lake is about 200 sq. km. and salty.
The Lodge is the only lodge inside the park, (but there are camping sites) and is 45 km from the gate at the end of the park. It takes a minimum of 2 hrs. on a dirt road/track to reach the lodge. Since the lodge is not fenced off, we have to be walked to and from our room at dusk by Masai warriors with spears.
On the game drive to the Lodge: Baboons, Bushbuck, Burchell’s Zebra, African Elephant – hereinafter just called Elephant!, Brown Snake Eagle with a snake hanging from its beak as it was flying, Greater and Lesser Flamingos, Masai Giraffe, Klipspringer, Warthogs, Impala.
Arrived about 2-ish for lunch of spicy gazspacho, BBQ pork spareribs, rice, bean salad, pasta with onions and herbs.
Afternoon game drive: Cape Buffalo, Impala, Hammerkop, Eastern Wildebeest (Gnu) (Eastern are lighter and Western are in Serengeti), Abdim’s Stork, Grey Headed KF, Saddle Billed Stork, Grey HB, ? Wooddove, Crowned HB, Common Bulbul, Ground HB, about 20 Banded Mongoose, 2 Klipspringer, a Hot Springs where it is said one could boil an egg in 15 mins., Read Headed Weaver, Silvery Cheeked HB, Baboon troop on road.
We were assigned our own butler/waiter. The room is about 7 or 8 feet above ground with a large wrap-around porch. The ceiling is banana leaves and covered in thatch. The beds again have mosquito netting, there’s a desk and chair, a couch and cocktail table, closet, and the bath has two sinks, a tub, and a toilet. The shower is outside on the porch but fenced off with bamboo. It is very elegant. Dinner was Sirloin Steak, salad, green beans, zucchini, carrots, rice and dessert of banana fritters. And Robert, our butler/waiter took very good care of us.
Jan. 16 - Breakfasts are buffet style with fruits, tomato, juices, cereal, eggs any way you want them or an omelet, pancakes/crepes, bacon or sausage, toast, coffee, hot choc., yoghurt, etc.
All day game drive with lunch boxes of chicken, homemade buttermilk type biscuits but better, pasta, and butterscotch fudge. We had tablecloth, cloth napkins, silverware, metal plates, and the items were in metal containers. Only thing missing was candles!
Baboons, Waterbuck, Strangler Fig, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Red Headed Weaver, Zanzibar Bishop, Brown Snake Eagle, Little Bee-eater, Klipspringer, Ground HB, Helmeted Guinea Fowl, Pintailed Whydah, Paradise Whydah, Egyptian Goose, Hadada Ibis, Vervet Monkey, White Browed Coucal, Impala everywhere, Masai Giraffe, Crowned Crane, Dikdik, Vervet Monkeys, Elephant, Zanzibar Bishop, Speckled Mousebird, Zebra, Elephant, Masai Giraffe, Masked Weaver, Elephant, Herd of Impala, a wide panorama along the lake of herds of Zebra, Elephant, Warthogs, 1 Impala, Cape Buffalo, and Wildebeest. Namaqua Dove, the largest Baobab tree I have ever seen, Superb Starling, and Elephant.
Dinner was pumpkin soup, cashew encrusted tilapia, rice, veg. tortilla, bean moussaka, and pineapple crumbles for dessert.
Jan 17 - All day game drive: Greater and Lesser Flamingos, some flying in choreographed formations along the lake, Marabou Stork, Hippo, Grey Headed KF, Monitor Lizard, Flamingos in the lake, Baboons, Terrapin, Zanzibar Bishop, Giraffe against lake background, Augur Buzzard, Dikdik, Impalas, Blue Monkey, Crested Guinea Fowl, Water Monitor, Hippo Pool with Red Billed Oxpeckers, Silvery Cheeked HB, Baboons on canopy top of Acacia tree, Elephant and 3 year old who trumpeted at us just after we passed trying to show off!, Grey Heron, and Little Bee-eater.
Lunch was chicken with lemon sauce, apples, rice, bean salad, biscuits.
When we got to the room, there was a drawn bubble bath in the tub. Neither Ellen nor I like baths so it was wasted effort and water. We went to the pool and read after sticking our legs in the cold pool.
Dinner was champagne, roasted veg. soup, endive and green peppers with lemon dressing, tenderloin of beef, carrots, mashed potatoes with coconut milk, peppers, onions and chickpeas, and dessert of honey cake with banana glaze.
When we got back to the room, there was a Bushbaby on the porch railing and he quickly scampered up to the roof and into the tree. During showers we frequently see monkeys in the trees nearby. We could hear hyenas in the distance. We were told that Elephants frequently visit the Lodge environs but we never saw any.