Today we begin our last game drive of our trip. I wish we could do another week, but the beaches in Zanzibar are calling our name. We stayed in the Lake Manyara Hotel last night, my favorite hotel of the trip (not counting the tent camps we stayed in). There is actually wifi here as well, so Amy and I can finally check in with home and let everyone know we’re still alive. There’s only a few other people staying here, so we pretty much have the place to ourselves.
They have Tanzania Premier League on the TV which I try to watch, but it’s hard to see from our table. I’ve asked a few locals why they all loved the English Premier League (Tanzania is a former English colony, having been acquired from the Germans after World War 1) when they have their own league to watch. Everyone always responds that the Tanzanian teams just aren’t very good. But you still see Tanzanian football (soccer) jerseys everywhere!
Lake Manyara is a much smaller park than the others we’ve toured, so we leave later than usual. We’ll do a game drive this morning and head to the airport after lunch.
We see a blue monkey, a dik dik (the smallest of the antelope family), a bushbuck and plenty of birds.
And to complete my goal of seeing elephants every day of our safari, I give you these guys. I’m so happy I succeeded!
This is a monitor lizard. I mostly note him for my dad who calls one of my dogs a monitor lizard because she can’t stop licking everything, including the air. It was really cool to see a real one.
But the real reason we are touring this park is to see flamingos! It’s the only place you can see them as they eat the algae in the shallow lake. The algae is what gives them their pink color.
Because we’re here in the dry season, the lake is smaller than the wet season, so this is as close as we’re able to get. In the wet season when the lake is higher, the flamingos are much closer to the roads. Still, I’m blown away by how many there are. There must be tens of thousands of them all over the lake!
We watch them for a short while, but since they are so far away, it’s hard to really tell what they’re doing. Then we find a picnic spot for lunch.
This is our driver Abdul. He is absolutely amazing and his knowledge seemed unlimited. Safari guides attend school for 2 years to learn to track these animals, be able to identify them and answer any and all questions we may throw at him. After spending a week with him, we understand why it takes 2 years.
Alas, it’s time to go to the airport! I had so much fun on this adventure and what I thought would be a once in a lifetime trip, I now sincerely hope to be able to visit again.
As we take off, I see Mt Kilimanjaro from the window. I am still in disbelief that we made it to the top, and so incredibly grateful for the last 2 weeks. It’s truly been incredible. But now it’s time for the beach!