Lake Manyara
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<Serengeti Plains>          <Ngorongoro Crater> 

01/07/03
I was definitely looking forward to a day of sitting down and doing nothing but looking out the window. Got just that in the back of a Toyota LandCruiser modified with a pop-top for game viewing. After about 6 hours in the truck (most of which was on rough, organ-bouncing roads) we got to Lake Manyara and past the guard at the gate that carried an automatic rifle over his shoulder. Right off the bat we saw warthogs, 073-lake manyara.jpg (300833 bytes) monkeys, and baboons. The monkeys were grooming each other and the baboons were humpin' in the road! Not long after there were elephants all around. Pretty freakin' wild. A couple families of elephants crossed right in front of our LandCruiser with a baby elephant in the middle of the bigger079-lake manyara.jpg (148965 bytes) ones. They were huge and I couldn't belief how close we were to them! Out into a field where giraffes were lumbering about pretty close. In the distance were tons of impalas and zebras too. 
081-lake manyara.jpg (75835 bytes) Lots of different birds around, even one that looked like a flying mustache! We stopped near the lake and there were three elephants with the lake right behind them, and some big ridges behind the lake. Could've spent all day there and seemed almost surreal. We were watching some elephants in front of the truck when all of a sudden one came charging from the103-lake manyara.jpg (88395 bytes) side. Just as he was about 10 feet away our driver, Max, realized what was going on and got out of there real fast! Seeing so many animals and most of them so close was way more than I expected. Little did I know that it would be like that for the next couple days also.
Twiga camp was under water so we drove out of the park and up high on a ridge that overlooked the lake to another camp. Definitely different coming into a camp with 12 foot barbwire fences around to keep the animals out! Waking up the next morning and overlooking the lake while the sun came up I was thinking how cool it would be to hear some animals. Almost on cue, there was an elephant way off in the distance.

074-lake manyara.jpg (200903 bytes) Warthog; Monkeys 075-lake manyara.jpg (126982 bytes)

078-lake manyara.jpg (141214 bytes) Schweeeet Ass!; Another elephant 080-lake manyara.jpg (123661 bytes)

082-lake manyara.jpg (64985 bytes) Giraffes; Uumm, more elephants! 083-lake manyara.jpg (147005 bytes)

084-lake manyara.jpg (143333 bytes) Yep, an elephant; A pissed off elephant charging our truck 085-lake manyara.jpg (111647 bytes)

104-lake manyara.jpg (111876 bytes) Gazelles; Elephant, a lake, and ridges, Pretty cool 105-lake manyara.jpg (61913 bytes)

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