Manyara Saturday

Manyara Saturday

Saturdays are crowded in Lake Manyara National Park, but we still got a couple hours of fun game viewing in.

One of the really encouraging signs in Tanzania is how Tanzanians are using their own national parks more and more. I remember not too many years ago, you’d never see anyone but a foreign tourist exploring these national treasures.

Of course, development and time have helped. So have many foundations, like the William Holden Wildlife Foundation which take Kenyan school children into the national parks.

But it means that weekends are crowded. So I try to reduce the game drive to its main features, and that’s the hippo pool and views of flamingoes on the lake.

The hippo pool was much better than two weeks ago when I was here. Another mystery, since the lake was down. But again, the streams into the lake were flowing better than two weeks ago, the pelicans and yellow-billed stork were back (which means there’s fish in the lake, again). And so there were many more hippos, and they looked healthy… unlike Tsavo.

The cars were parked at one point three astride as visitors, locals and many school kids put their arms on the wooden fence and watched the 60 or so hippos in front of a backdrop of many other animals and birds.

At our picnic lunch Hayley jumped up screaming! Well, it wasn’t a cobra (remember, we’d just been at the snake park), but it was ants. And fortunately, not the really bad kind, just the really annoying kind.

We stopped at the viewing point on our way out of Manyara towards Ngorongoro. It seemed greener, although the lake was lower, but the few westwards along the escarpment was worth a portion of Bill’s camera photo chip!