Day 4: Lake Manyara

We woke up and had an early breakfast at the lodge before heading back to Lake Manyara National Park for a morning game drive until we returned to the lodge for a late lunch. We had another amazing day at the park. There is really only one main entrance to the park, so we entered at the same place passing by a lot of baboons and other monkeys, before heading off to the other sections of the park that we didn’t visit the previous day.

Baby baboon

Cute baboon
















Then came my favorite moment of the entire trip (though it is a toss up with several other things), but as I love elephants this is probably my favorite. We had stopped the car and watched a small herd of elephants incredibly close to our jeep. They walked all around us eating their way around the forest. It was an incredible experience. I loved watching their trunks move all around searching out the good food. Eventually we noticed another herd (or perhaps the same herd just moving slower through the forest). But either way this herd of elephants was huge and they just kept coming, at one point it was over thirty elephants before we lost track. At the very tail end of the herd came a small group of elephants with a very young baby elephant (our guide estimated about 1 months old). It was amazing to see the herd of elephants surround the baby elephant until they could scout the situation with the car. It was the one moment that was a little tense on the safari as the older female kept her eye on us for a long time (we were completely surrounded on all sides and if she deemed us unsafe for the baby, there would have been nothing we could do). But it was just so neat to see that young of a baby elephant so close and the way the whole herd is bonded together. In the end the older female deemed us okay and eventually the whole herd moved away, but it was such a neat experience that I will never forget getting to observe.




Elephants moving through the forest Elephant eating





Elephant Elephant eating


Elephants in the forest

So amazing

Baby elephant

Elephant family I fell in love with this little elephant Baby elephant Elephant herd Baby elephant Little clumsy

Clumsy still















So cute! Cute little ears Elephant love
















After the elephants moved off into the forest, we moved further into the park. First stopping at a nice viewpoint/picnic area that overlooks the park, where you could get out of the jeep and walk around a little bit. I liked that all the parks had those areas because it was nice to be able to get out and stretch your legs and use the restroom. Now not all the restrooms were super clean (as one wouldn’t expect them to be), but they were all decent enough not to be grossed out.

Lookout point over Lake Manyara

After the lookout point, we made our way towards the southern end of the park. We encountered a wide variety of animals, but none of which were as enthralling as the herd of elephants. And to our disappointment, we didn’t see any lions in the trees.


Young impala playing Giraffe This giraffe was crazy tall













Baby baboon getting a lift

This little baboon was very nervous about the safari jeep Warthogs

We made it to the southern end of the park and encountered what seemed like hundreds of hippos. Hippos in the zoo are nothing like hippos in the wild. Hippos in the zoo have a somewhat clean pool. But hippos in the wild, stink. They smell awful and seem to really enjoy lying in the mud and poop. They were hilarious to watch though flicking the mud goop over their backs and farting. While the smell wasn’t fun, we did have a good time observing the hippos.


Wildebeests on the move


After getting our fill of hippos, we headed back to the hot springs area. It had been full of cars and people when we originally drove by the first time. Now luckily, the area was completely empty and it was just our jeep there when we arrived. Apparently the hot springs boardwalk is new (the hot springs have been there, but the boardwalk over the area was just recently completed). It was a nice little spot to get out and walk around and the boardwalk offered some great views over the area.

Nice view from the board walk Cool view View from the boardwalk DSC_0073c
















As we were getting ready to leave the boardwalk area, we saw a herd of wildebeest running towards the waters edge. While no where near what The Great Migration would be like, it was neat that we were able to least watch a decent size herd of wildebeest running towards the water.

Wildebeest Wildebeest on the move

Wildebeest at the waters edge

Water Buffalo and Wildebeest

After watching the wildebeest herd for awhile, we made our way back towards the front of the park, but didn’t really pass much of interest on the way to stop and observe. We ate a nice late lunch at our lodge from the previous night before and relaxed for a little while at the pool until 3:30pm, when we left to drive towards the Ngorongoro area. On the way we stopped at a nice view point overlooking Lake Manyara and the Rift Valley and a couple gift shops.

Lake Manyara viewpoint

We then drove to our lodge, Ganako Lodge near Karatu (gateway to Ngorongoro Conservation Area). We had chosen to not enter the NCA area and instead to stay right outside the area, as you pay a fee per 24 hours. It didn’t seem to make much sense to pay the extra day’s fee when we weren’t actually spending two days inside the Ngorongoro Crater. Ganako Luxury Lodge was incredibly nice. We were practically the only people there that night. It has only been open a year or so, and outside of high season they aren’t busy yet. The prices were very affordable now according to the website, but I would imagine in a few years once they get some more publicity and word of mouth spreads, the prices will sky rocket as the lodge is very luxurious. We had an excellent dinner and enjoyed walking around the grounds before dinner.

Drinks at Ganako Lodge

Animals we saw today:
Antelope, Baboons, Dik-Dik, Elephants, Giraffes, Hippos, Impala, Mongoose, Warthogs, Water Buffalo, Wildebeest

Money spent today approx. (2 people):
Souvenirs: 92,000 TZS (chopsticks, sandals, Christmas ornament, coffee)
Souvenirs: 30,000 TZS (2 soapstone animals)
Local bananas: 1000 TZS (our guide bought them for us to get us the local rate, tourist rate he said would be 5 times more)
Drinks at lunch: 7500 TZS
Drinks before dinner at Ganako: 10,000 TZS
Tip to porters at lodge: 5000 TZS




Day 3

Day 5

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