Thursday, January 31, 2013

On the Serengeti and Lake Manyara

The "African Massage" continued as we traveled to the famed Serengeti Plain.  This was the tail end of the dry season, and we were constantly dusted by the red dust of the countryside.  Prior to entering the park we stopped at Oldupai Gorge where the Leakeys had first made their discoveries.  In the museum were the actual 3.6 million years old footprints made by primitive man that had been cast and preserved in volcanic rock.  The museum was fascinating and walking on the location where this great discovery was made was one of the many highlights of the trip.
Part of the location where the Leakeys made their dig and where they spent the majority of their lives.
Below is the actual casting of the footprints discovered by the Leakeys and preserved in volcanic ash.

We traveled on to the Serengeti and arrived at another excellent Serena Lodges.  Standing on our deck we could see the Serengeti stretching out before us and there was no fencing around the lodge.  Consequently animals roamed freely right underneath our deck.  At night an escort was required to accompany us to our private accommodation.  It was not uncommon to see elephants and other creatures roaming the grounds.  We were told that the elephants came into the grounds and drank from the swimming pool.  Touring began the next day.

The view of the Serengeti from our back deck

Our bungalow at the Serena Lodge on the Serengeti.

The next two days we toured early morning and late afternoon taking a break for lunch and short nap before going out again. The pictures below are on the tour and speak for themselves.
This is one of our favorite pictures.  She totally ignored us and a small pride of lions with cubs was laying under some rocks off behind us.
Our van was within 8-10 feet of this sleeping lion.  It was a group of eight all taking a nap.  Notice the tracking collar around the neck.
Looking out over the plain and the beauty of the Serengeti and the Acacia trees.
At each location we saw many giraffes.
Our guide told us that this group of elephants were asleep and that they sleep about 2-3 hours per day.
Female ostrich

The blue flag above is a trap for the Tsetse Fly.  No one in our group went to inspect the trap.  We saw no flies, however, we were told that the trap does work and if you are bitten by the fly, getting sleeping sickness is very rare. 

After two days on the Serengeti we were off to another location in Tanzania called Lake Manyara. 

Lake Manyara is one of Tanzania's smallest and most diverse parks.  Here elephants graze beneath baobab tree, lions doze on the branches of umbrella trees, monkeys leap from treetop to treetop, hippos loll on the lake shore, and masses of flamingos paint the lake a colorful pink.  Bordered by the dramatic Western Escarpment of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Manyara is especially notable for its abundant bird life (some 400  species), diverse vegetation, rare tree climbing lions and hippos.
silvery-cheeked hornbill
The elephants walked so close by our vehicle that we could have reached out and touched them. 
Our touring vehicles.  Holding six to seven people, the roofs lifted up and we could stand and gain an excellent view of the scenery and the animals.

Leaving Lake Manyara, we traveled through Tanzania viewing the scenery and the beautiful mountains.  Pictured below is an extinct volcano surrounded by clouds.  Arriving back in Nairobi, Kenya we visited an elephant orphanage for abandoned baby elephants.  The orphanage keeps the elephants in their private park nursing them back to health.  Upon reaching close to adulthood, they are returned to the wild.
We viewed many such mountains throughout the countryside.

The baby elephants came running at feeding time.  Some rolled their trunks up and knew the drill.  Others had to be helped. 
Leaving Nairobi at 11:30 PM, the trip back home took a mere 30 hours.  It was a long grueling trip but was worth it.  This was a trip of a lifetime!
Duck season is on along with turkeys and it is time to get out in the field and harvest some more food for the winter.Text
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Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank


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