Final Day of Safari

January 30, 2008 - Lake Manyara, Tanzania

Lake Manyara

Today was the last day of our 7 day safari.  We would be visiting our fifth and final national park, Lake Manyara.  We drove back throuh the Masaai village stopping to hand out pencils that to school children. Mark and Terry brought a couple of boxes from home.

Before even entering the park, we saw dozens and dozens of yellow-beaked storks just outside the park.  The storks were flying back and forth from a spot, carrying twigs and leaves in their beaks.  We suspected they were building a shelter for themselves.  We saw more storks later on in the park and while they flew we could hear their wings cutting through the air, sounding like finely tuned racecars speeding around a track. 

The ride through the park was fun but it would be our last time standing on the seats of the truck with our heads above and outside the truck while we drove.  We did see a variety of animals in the park, however, we especially saw a lot of birds and baboons.  The cutest were the baby baboons.  They would move around on their own but often times would also travel on the backs or hanging off the bottom of the mama baboon.  At one point, while a baby baboon was walking on its own, we could see that the mama baboon wanted the baby baboon to jump on but the baby baboon refused.  We then saw the mama baboon grab the baby baboon as she walked (it was very human-like).

We left the park shortly after lunch but not before seeing a baboon try to grab the lunch of one of the guides at the rest spot in the park.  While a guide had stepped away from his lunch, a fairly large baboon, who had been apparently watching this, jump down from a tree to grab the lunch.  The guide came running back when he saw this and actually fought with the baboon, so far as to kick the baboon.  Even the other guides in the area came running to help out and started to throw things at the baboon as it ran away.  In the end the baboon got away with some of the lunch and the rest of us ran to our trucks, scared we'd be attacked next.

We arrived back in Arusha late afternoon.  We had zero cash on us so we headed to the ATM to withdraw some money.  Once again we had trouble taking out money from an ATM, and were only successful on the 4 or 5th ATM.  We were obviously frustrated.  We had a fairly early dinner (at the Indian restaurant next door to the VE office) as the lunch-box we had earlier in the day was not at all satisfying.  As Bariki put it, "it was the worst box lunch he ever had". The Indian food took a while but was worth the wait!

Dave and I had planned to stay in Moshi on our last night rather than Arusha.  Moshi is a small town at the base of Kilimanjaro (and not too far from the Kilimanjaro Airport from which we were flying from the next morning).  We figured if we weren't going to hike "Kili" we would at least stay at the base of it while we watched the actual hikers get ready for their trek.  Unfortunately in the end we did not make our way to Moshi as it was getting really late but we were able to catch a glimpse of the mountain when we went to the airport the next morning.  It was foggy unfortuantely so we weren't able to see much. So in the end we stayed back in Arusha with Mark and Terry but "upgraded" our hotel from $15/night to $25/night.  The lovely Arusha Centre Tourist Inn. It was a least a bit cleaner than the hotel we stayed at on our first night and it had an ensuite bathroom but no where near the standard we had gotten used to on the Sarari.  This was now the end of our safari (which was a little sad) but next we would be heading to Zanzibar for some R&R on the beach which wasn't so bad!



Splurging in Arusha - $25/night!!!
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