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Our June 2012 African Vacation Diary

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"Leave only footprints, take only memories" (...and maybe some pictures)
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6/23/2012 6:30am Joined by Sallyann & Fred for another early breakfast.  Again I really can’t express enough how good the food was or how much variety there was. 6/23/2012 8:00am Bags packed and placed outside room next to door.  Amazing.  You place your suitcase outside your hotel room door and in a matter of minutes it is transported to the lobby waiting your departure.  Okay.  It isn’t magic or slight of hand.  They know what rooms are leaving and all bags have a tags on them denoting the tour they belong to.  There are workers assigned to wait for the luggage, carry it to the lobby and place it in the proper pile. 6/23/2012 8:30am Tour group is once again clustered in lobby area awaiting orders from Robert the tour director.  He herds us into the correct vehicles once again and we are off. We do some game viewing on the drive out of Tarangire. We saw: Lilac-breasted roller, crowned plover, elephants, palm trees, blacksmith plover, Tarangire River, king fisher, striped swift, spotted stone curlew, white-backed vulture, monitor lizard, ox pecker, vulture nests, giraffes. After leaving Tarangire NP we head towards the next park, Lake Manyara. We saw:  pied crow, yellow-billed stork (from Holland), maribu stork, a heron that looks a lot like a great-blue heron, warthog, zebra, wildebeest. 6/23/2012 11:30am We drive through the village of Mto wa Mbu (Mosquito River).  As I understand it, the village came into being as a result of the tourist trade in the area.  We were warned that there could be many people trying to sell us items we would not want, just plain steal from us or just begging.  We are offered a walk through after we have seen some of the village but the four of us decline. 6/23/2012 11:40am We stop at a local shop (village co-op) where paintings, cloth and carvings are offered for sale.  While others went into the shop Barbara and I waited at the truck.  We had a very young girl (maybe 5 years old) approach and ask for… money, a pencil, a pen, anything. While waiting for the shoppers I took many pictures of yellow-billed storks and a few maribu storks.  There were also a few herons that I need to look up.  They were nesting in the surrounding trees by the hundreds, if not thousands.  There were so many nesting birds that the trees, leaves and branches, were turned white by the droppings. 6/23/2012 12:30pm Arrive and check into the Lake Manyara Serena Lodge.  The ride from the level of the lake to the top of the ridge the lodge is on is steep and winding. 6/23/2012 2pm Time for lunch and afterwards a little relaxation. 6/23/2012 4pm An afternoon game drive.  The drive back down the cliff face doesn’t seem nearly as bad as the drive up. We saw: Lake Manyara, manyara plant (used to make glue), waterbuck, termite mounds, olive baboons, warthog, sycamore fig tree, hippo pool, white storks, yellow-barked acacia, white pelicans, zebra, elephants. 6/23/2012 7pm Back a little early to the lodge so that the group can make a 7pm meal time.  Normal time is 7:30 but tonight we are in and out early.  Most of the group decided to go on an add-on night safari.  The add-on is booked through and paid to the hotel, but the tour is performed by Wayo of Africa. That is the same company that did the Arusha tour for the four of us. 6/23/2012 8pm We meet up with the Wayo guides at 8pm in the driveway near the  hotel office.  The night drive was in Lake Manyara National Park.  The trucks were different than the ones we used on the normal daytime drives.  This vehicle seemed wider, behind the driver were three rows of seats for the passengers.  Each row looked like it could hold 3 or 4 people.  The trucks had no roof and no sides to speak of.  What side there was only came up to about your hips, enough to keep you from falling out of your seat.  Drove back down the hill to the park entrance where we had to wait while the drivers took care of some paperwork.  When we were ready each truck (there were 2) got its own armed park ranger.  For the night drive each truck had a driver, an armed ranger and a guide sitting in a jump seat attached to the front passenger fender. (that means, from my view, he was sitting on the left side of the truck since Tanzania drives British style). We saw: bush baby, baboons, silver-cheeked hornbills, monitor lizard, hippos on land, wildebeest, impalas, elephant (he was standing in road eating from the side.  He was very annoyed that we wanted by.  When we got too close we could hear him rumble then trumpet.  Wow was that loud!), southern cross (stars in the sky).
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Panoramic view of Lake Manyara