Lake Manyara Travel Blog› entry 11 of 81 › view all entries
Our eight o'clock safari started at 11:00. Cultivated farmlands - primarily coffee plantations - gave way to smaller maize fields and beehive huts of the Mbulu tribe as our LandRover bounced west out of Arusha.
Vegetation greened and thickened as we crossed the Rift Valley. After a hearty lunch at a lodge on the shore of Lake Manyara, we ventured into the bush. All eyes carefully scanned every tree, bush, creek-bed, and hillside. Juliana called out "Elephant!" The beast was strolling along a dried-up watering hole. It munched on straw and leaves, carefully shaking the sand off with its trunk to preserve its teeth. In two hours Scott and I photographed cape buffalo, hyena, lion, warthog, rhino, giraffe, zebra, and an equally wide variety of colorful bird life.
We climbed out of the Rift Valley onto the Serengeti Plain where the land became more parched and barren then continued to distant hills which formed the eastern rim of Ngorongoro Crater. For a better vantage point, we took turns sitting in the passenger-side window frame of the LandRover holding our cameras above the roof. As we whined up the dirt track in low gears, I spotted three lions on an embankment. They laid eye-level in straw-colored grass about twenty feet away, casually watching our slow progress. We finally reached a lodge which over-looked the crater.
Scott and I shared a modernized beehive hut which boasted a cement floor, white plaster walls, electricity, and beds with sheets and pillows - all under a tightly thatched conical roof. Our group enjoyed sizzling wildebeest steaks with all the trimmings and cold White Cap beer. The fine meal and accommodation were included in the price of the safari, otherwise both well beyond our own meager budgets.