Tanzania Diary – Day 3

Day 3 – May 28th
We woke up in the morning to the sound of the Ibises squawking away. We got dressed and went down to breakfast. On the way to breakfast we saw some Sunbirds although we couldn’t find out what type they were. For breakfast I had beans on toast and omelette. Whilst having breakfast we saw 2 African Pied Wagtails hopping around outside. They look similar to the ones we have in England but the pattern of black and white is very different. After breakfast we packed our bags, said goodbye to GordonBob and went to meet our guides who were waiting for us at the entrance of the hotel.

There were two jeeps and we decided to split with the children in one jeep with with Maravit or timeschair as his name means in Swahili and the adults in the other jeep with Hermann. We then drove to our campsite in Mto Wa Mbu near lake Manyara NP. On the way there I saw loads of birds including Cattle Egret (lots), Augur Buzzard, Black-chested Snake Eagle, another Black Kite and all the usual stuff which now included Ring-necked Dove. Also there were 12 Giraffes feeding beside the road and a dead Hyena on the road.

When we got to our campsite we set up our tents and had lunch. Above the campsite lots of birds were soaring including 3 Marabou Storks and about 10 Pelicans although we couldn’t tell what type they were. At 3.00PM we set off for our afternoon game-drive at Lake Manyara NP. Although it only took 5 minutes to get there on the way we saw some Marabou Storks and I saw a Grey Heron and a Great Egret in a field.

When we got to Lake Manyara the first things we saw were a troop of Baboons in a tree and an Elephant on the hill behind. We carried on and had amazing views of the lake with thousands of Flamingos although from this distance they were only pink dots. We then passed a small pool where we saw some Hippos and a Dik-Dik was beside the road a bit further on. Small herds of Impala began to become regular and in the sky I saw a Saddle-billed Stork amongst the numerous Marabous.

Then we saw some Lions in a tree with 2 cubs. Lake Manyara is famous for its tree-climbing Lions although now they have begun doing it in the Serengeti and we saw many doing it there as you will find out. The Lions do this to avoid termites and things on the ground and also to get a good view of an area so that they can spot their prey. Next to the Lions several Elephants were feeding and a bit further on we found a lot more and several very small ones. Then whilst watching some more Elephants a party of Giraffes came along and also about 15 Cattle Egrets were feeding around the Elephants. A bit further along we saw a large herd of about 40 Impala and also a Grey Hornbill.

Then we drove down to the Hippo pool where we saw a lot of birds. There were Marabou Stork, Fish Eagle, 2 Martial Eagles (that sat on a dead tree and gave amazing views), Yellow-billed Stork (at least 30), Egyptian Goose, Pink-backed Pelican, White-backed Pelican, Black-winged Stilt and Great Cormorant (the type we have in England). Also there was 1 Buffalo and 3 Giraffes on the plain by the pool. By this time it was time to go back to camp. On the way back there were lots of suicidal Crowned Lapwings who kept walking around on the road and then only flying away at the last minute. Also we found a large group of Vervet Monkeys going around their business all sitting in a patch of trees.

When we were driving back to the hotel we saw the Marabous again. When we got back we had a nice dinner of fish and then went to bed. Around the paths that we walked along to get from our tents to the place where we ate there were a lot of little frogs so we had to be careful not to tread on them.

Lake Manyara was a beautiful park and it was wonderful to see so many Elephants. Also the scenery was amazing although it was disappointing that we could not get closer to the lake.

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