5 September 2009
We have arrived at the Lake Manyara Serena Lodge. We’re perched on the edge of the Rift Valley, overlooking the Lake Manyara conservation Area, The huts are designed after Maasai villages and each hut has four rooms; two on each level. My room is on the second level with a breathtaking view of the valley.
It’s quiet here, but for the sound of a large variety of birds singing their evening songs. There was some entertainment tonight at the outdoor pool and bar. In this little area at the top of the Rift Valley is a tribe called the Iraqw tribe, originally from Ethiopia. They did a song and dance for us.
6 September 2009
The next morning, the lodge did all my ‘Mountain Laundry’ for $18 and while I was eating last night! Now I am clean, and so are my clothes! I was starting to feel really grungy, especially with the other travellers I joined for the Safari having just arrived fresh on their first days of vacation with clean clothes and lots of energy. I was still feeling the fatigue from the Kili climb! At this point, Kilimanjaro seemed a distant memory. It almost felt as though I had dreamt the whole thing!
We visited the conservation area this morning and I got my first taste of baboons, elephants, giraffes, hippos, warthogs and zebras in the ‘wild’. It was absolutely amazing, and I couldn’t get over all those animals cohabiting in one area without fences or gates!
We drove to the Serengeti after lunch and were late arriving at the hotel because there were so many animals to see along the way. We saw san ostrich and stopped to check it out, and when our driver went to restart the engine, there was a BANG! like a gunshot and the truck wouldn’t start! We had to push and jump-start it, but when we stopped to look at a group of hyenas, our driver accidentally turned off the engine. I heard him say “Oops!” and all of a sudden felt very vulnerable our there in the plains. Luckily, the hyenas were afraid of us and bolted when the driver threw rocks in their direction.
At the hotel, we had armed escorts to take us to our rooms. We were told to call for an escort to come back to the main building for dinner, as buffalo and other large animals often wandered onto the property! What a day! I was beat, but couldn’t pass a hearty meal and some lounging on the terrace.