Day 3: Amboseli National Park & Lake Manyara

We started Day 3 bright (or dark to be honest) and early as we had decided over dinner the night before that we should wake up and enjoy the sunrise over Mt. Kilimanjaro. Our waiter at dinner had recommended being outside by 6:15-6:20am if we really wanted to enjoy the whole sunrise, so that’s just what we did as we were leaving for our game drive at 7am anyways. The sunrise was beautiful as Mt. Kilimanjaro slowly was bathed in sunlight and the animals started wandering past on the open grasslands.

Sunrise

Sunrise

Water Buffalo

Sunrise over Mt. Kilimanjaro Zebras at sunrise

Zebras

After breakfast at the lodge, we headed out for an early morning game drive in Amboseli National Park. Our last game drive in Kenya before heading to Tanzania. I was surprised at how cute the baby wildebeest were, and was something I wasn’t expecting at all on the safari. Watching the baby wildebeest play was one of my favorite things we did on the safari. They were absolutely adorable running around and jumping in the air trying out their new legs. They made the funniest sounds/grunts and it entertained me every time. Baby wildebeest can walk/run 15 minutes after being born (obviously they need to in order to survive, but it’s quite impressive). I could have watched them literally all day I think.

Baby wildebeest

Wildebeest

Baby Wildebeest

Wildebeest

Baby wildebeest playing

Baby WIldebeest

Wildebeest

Wildebeest herd

Zebras

Zebras

Zebra crossing

After watching the herds of wildebeest and zebra for a long time, we made our way over to the swamp area. There we saw a small herd of elephants walking through the swamp enjoying the grasses. It was interesting because the area was so quiet that you could really hear all the grasses being ripped out by the elephants and their chewing. It was a lot of fun. My favorite was a young elephant who seemed to not want to get wet in the swamp, who was just walking around only getting the bottoms of the feet wet while the rest of the herd was full on in the swamp.

Elephants in the swamp

Elephants in the swamp

Elephant eating grass

Cute little elephant

Elephant in the swamp

This cute little elephant didn't seem to like to get wet

Cute

Seems so happy

We watched the elephants eating their way through the swamp for quite awhile and then headed to Observation Hill. We were able to get out of the car and walk to the top for a nice view over the park. The hill itself is an easy climb to the top (involves a number of steps), but once at the top the view over the park is outstanding. You can see for miles. It’s a beautiful spot and we saw a lone male elephant wandering along the lake’s shores and some hippos close by. Everything else was further away out in the distance, but it was still such an amazing view.

View of Mt. Kilimanjaro from Observation Hill

A lone elephant

Hippos

Elephant

Panorama from Observation HIll

After we came back to the safari vehicle from Observation Hill, we started making the drive out of the Amboseli National Park. But as we were close to leaving the gate, a group of ostriches and then a family giraffes appeared to bid us good-bye to Kenya.

Ostrich dance

Giraffes

Baby giraffe

Giraffe

Giraffe family

Giraffe

After leaving Amboseli, we had a fairly short drive to the Kenya/Tanzania border where we had to process our exit out of Kenya then cross into Tanzania and get our visas and entry into the country. The Kenyan side was all chaos with people everywhere and not a lot of instruction from the officials. There were lines everywhere and it was definitely not clear what line you were supposed to be in. We were directed to one line and then noticed everyone else in line had yellow forms which no one had given us, so we got back out of line to get those. Our safari guide then got us the right forms and showed us a different line to get in that was going a lot faster (only for exiting Kenya, whereas the first line we were told to go to was for both entry/exit and because people had to pay for Visa’s in that line it took a lot longer).

We met our Tanzanian guide and crossed over to Tanzania.  The Tanzanian side was the complete opposite. Everything was very proficient and fast with clearly marked instructions and lines on where to go. All in all, we were into Tanzania without a lot of delay or time luckily.

From the border, we drove into Arusha for a quick stop for lunch of fish and chips at the Silver Palm Hotel, which was quite delicious. After our short lunch break, we drove the couple hours to Lake Manyara National Park.

Upon entering Lake Manyara National Park, we were instantly hit with how different a park it was than the previous two parks we had visited. It definitely has a more jungle feel to it, which was also evident by the abundance of baboons and other monkeys we saw in the park. Lake Manyara is  also known for the tree-climbing lions, which unfortunately we didn’t see while we were there, though it wasn’t for a lack of trying to spot one. I think our eyes were constantly looking up in the trees to see if we could find one. The park is also located within the Rift Valley. We only had about two hours for a game drive before the sun set, which wasn’t a lot, but it did give us a good taste of the park and we were excited to have the entire morning at the park the following day.

Baboons

Blue Monkey

Blue Ball Monkey Baby elephant

Baby elephant

Mom and baby elephant

Love.

Our last stop of the day was the loop around the hippo pool at Lake Manyara. There were only a few hippos in the pool at the time and our guide told us not to be too disappointed, because tomorrow he was going to take us to an area with a TON of hippos (and indeed he did). But the area where the hippo pool was located was a beautiful setting and the sun was just starting to go down so the lighting was absolutely perfect.

Water buffalo

Hippo

Lake Manyara National Park

Beautiful

Baboons

As we drove to our lodge, Lake Manyara Wildlife Safari Camp, we watched as the sun started going down. The sunset was gorgeous and we pulled into the lodge with just enough time to watch the sun sink behind the Rift Valley cliffs. It was a beautiful way to end the day before cleaning up and heading to the main area for drinks and dinner.

Sunset

Pretty flowers

Sunset

Cool sunset

Drinks at the Hakuna Matata Bar

Animals seen on Day 3:
Antelope (several varieties), Baboons, Blue Monkey, Elephants, Giraffes, Hippos, Hornbill, Ostrich, Vervet Monkey (aka Blue Ball Monkey), Warthogs, Water Buffalo, Wildebeest (and lots of babies playing!), Zebra

Money Spent on Day 3 approx. (2 people):
Tip for guide/driver in Kenya: 3000 KES
Tip for porters at lodge: 100 KES
Tanzania Visa: $200 USD ($100 USD per person)

Day 2

Day 4

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