Sunday, February 1, 2009

Big Baby~ Tarangire Park & Lake Manyara Safaris

Lake Manyara

The last day of my three day safari was spent at Lake Manyara. This unusual park lies in the shadow of the Great Rift Valley whose reddish brown escarpment wall looms 1,950 feet high on the eastern horizon. Waterfalls spill over the cliff and hot springs bubble to the surface in the south. Much of the park often appears to be in a heat haze created by the soda lake called, Lake Manyara. The Maasai also lived in vase numbers on the land of Lake Manayra, named for the large numbers of Manyara Trees, of which they built their huts out. The lake attracts considerable bird life, and its surrounding terrain contains such a rich mosaic of different habitats that it supports a large number of animals.
The park is accessed by road via the village of Mto wa Mbu, an eclectic market town where several tribes have converged to form a linguistic mix like nowhere else in Africa.
The unique surroundings attract species such as monkeys, antelopes, zebras, hippos and crocodiles, buffalo, giraffe and a high density of elephants. The park is particularly known for its tree-climbing lions, who may be seen sleeping off the heat of the day on a branch instead of a shady spot on the ground like most other lions.
Fish-eating birds inhabiting the lake include pelicans, storks, cormorants and Egyptian geese. Flamingos colour the lake pink as they arrive to feed at the lake during their migration. One unforgettable sight is a giant flock of red billed quelea who gather in their thousands and waft over the water like a giant swarm of insects.
After three days of safaris just when I thought I had seen it all. There was one more incredible animal appear, on more geographic wonder looming in the horizon and one more once in a life time photography moment to be enjoyed.

Tarangire National Park

Driving from Moshi to the Tarangire National Park took three hours. However, I found myself so amazed with the sites, the people, and Africa in general. There are hundreds of people walking along the highways with nothing in sight. I had to wonder just where were they going, and how long it was going to take them? There were so many small children grazing herds of cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys along the roads. All the sites brought so many questions to my mind. It was like being in a different world, a world I have only seen in the National Geographic.

Soon we, my guide, Emanuel, and I were at the Tarangire National Park, site of my first safari. After obtaining all the permits, we were off. Only two minutes into the safari, there stood a herd of giraffes just fifty feet from the Land-Rover. The giraffes were so majestic and graceful as they walk towards us as if to say hell-0. They look so different in their natural habit, rather than a zoo. I told Emanuel about Brykn wanting me to rope an elephant for him. He laughed and said he'd see what he could do to hope fulfill Brykn's wish!!

There were also so many termite mounds in the Tarangire National Park, some of which were huge and had mongooses running in and out of them. The mounds are much different than I supposed they would be, I really thought they would be like an ant mound. No where close!

The natural landscape of the park was breath taking, and seem to go as far as I could see. The Acacia Trees a symbol of Africa, are very thorny with little leaf cover. Funny the baboons never seemed to mind the thorns and could be seen preached high in the branches.

Beneath a Baobab Tree, (the tree of life) a lioness and her cubs were taking an afternoon nap. Once I'd seen the lions I realized, I am in Africa. The lioness never acted annoyed with us, but did keep one eye on us and one eye on her cubs.

Each time I seen a different animal, I was so taken with the whole experience. I was wishing someone else could have been there with me to see the amazing sights of East Africa.

Along with the many, many different animals in Africa there are just as many birds. All of which are very colorful and sing such beautiful songs. The entire first day of my three day safari was spectator and a little unreal, as I never thought I would ever have the luxury of going on a safari.



Mom left on her Safari and she finally got a picture of an elephant! Kelli and I decided that we didn't care if she had to go to a zoo to get a picture of an elephant because Tate and Brykn haven't quit talking about them! It sure looks like the safari is a blast.
From Mom: Well, it's day 5 and I am off on safari. I slept better last night, but I can hardly move this morning. My feet, legs, and hips hurt so bad. Lots of hugs.
From Mom: First day of safari was great, but tell Brykn those elephants are too big to rope! I am at the Farmhouse now & what a beautiful place. Doing good, except my legs and feet are in bad shape from climbing Kili. Happy Birthday, Mom, I love ya.

From Tiffany: I bet! Brykn luvs the elephant picture. I am glad the Farmhouse is nice. If you can, get on your blog. So many people are following your journey. Wish I was there. Luv you!

From Kristina: Hopefully you packed some good meds! Or, could you even take aspirin into another country? Sounds like you planned a way fun trip! Stay safe, Love Kristina.