Sunday, December 30, 2012

Day 14 - Lake Manyara National Park and Lake Manyara Wildlife Lodge

Happy birthday Mum and Sachin!

Day one of safari...OMG, what an awesome day!

Adam, Louis (a different one to the one I usually mention) and Doc arrived at the house to pick us up in the safari trucks. The trucks have six seats in the back (three rows) and a front passanger seat so everyone gets a window seat. The roof also pops up so you can stand on the seat and look out through the top! I travelled in a car with Aynsley, Sarita, Daisy, Debra, Tash and Taz. I got the front passenger seat and Adam was our driver and guide.

We headed off and our first stop was a supermarket in Arusha. We needed to stop for snacks and alcohol! We will be away for New Years Eve so a few of the girls are planning to have a couple of drinks.

We then headed for Lake Manyara National Park. I think the trip may have taken about 3 1/2 hours excluding the snack stop but I don't know because I wasn't paying any attention to the time. I slept for some of the trip but for the rest of it I just looked out the window and tried to take it all in. I enjoyed the drive. The scenery was similar to times it reminded me of the drive to Dalby but it was also very different. There were Masai all along the way with their cattle and goats. The Masai are a Tanzanian tribe who are quite distinct therefore easy to recognise. They wear colourful 'robes' and lots of beaded jewellery and they often carry a stick. They graze their animals along the side of the road. Their homes are also easy to spot. The live in cute little round straw huts!

When we arrived at Lake Manyara we stopped for a packed lunch before heading off further into the park.

The first animal we saw were monkeys...lots of monkeys! As we drove around we also saw elephants, giraffes, wilderbeasts, flamingos, one zebra, baboons and little deer like things but I can't remember their name.

The experience was amazing. At times the animals were only metres away from the truck!

After we left the park we went to a souvenier shop. Mum, I was able to get you an African doll like you had asked for. I was pretty impressed with my bartering skills too! I asked how much and was told $20USD (the shops are more expensive here because it is a touristy area and for some reason they like to work in US dollars!) but in the end I worked them down to $9.50USD. $9.50USD is equal to 15 000 shillings. I could have got a similar doll cheaper in Moshi but the ones in Moshi are a bit smaller and not as well made so I figured it was worth paying a bit extra.

I went to the campsite with the girls to drop them off and then Adam drove me to the 'lodging accomodation'. Well, the lodging turned out to be a beautiful hotel! There are four of us, Leonie, Sandy, Tania and myself, who chose the lodging accomodation while the rest opted to camp. We were giddy with excitment when we saw where we were staying and that continued for the whole night! We wandered the grounds and took some photos and then went to the pool bar for a drink. The view is absolutely amazing. We are on top of a cliff overlooking the national park we just drove through. We then went to the restraunt where a buffet dinner was served. Dinner was great and it was nice to have something different for a change as we have been eating pretty much the same thing everyday for the past two weeks. After (way too much) dinner we returned to our rooms (I am sharing with Leonie) and I had the best shower I have had since leaving Australia!

I am now tucked up into bed and am about to go to sleep. I have no idea where we are going tomorrow but I am looking forward to it!

Love you all <3

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