21 January 2007

Safari Post VI

We had to leave Lake Manyara National Park. The sun was going down and it was time to get on up the hill to the lodge. Lake Manyara Lodge overlooks the lake and park. I don't know who runs the thing, possibly the Tanzanian government, but it was fairly nice. We were surprised to see that, rather than four rooms, we had only two. We'd arranged for "a double and three singles." What happened instead was a room for a double, and a room for three singles. Our room was a little tight, but we adjusted quickly. Besides, what exactly were we going to do in our room apart from sleep? The electricity cut off after ten and you couldn't drink the water.

So the first thing we did was grab our cameras and go outside. Standing at the edge of the rift valley escarpment we saw the very same herd of elephants we had driven by on our way out of the park. Of course from this distance they were more like dots than elephants, but if you're creative you can make them out. I like the colors in this photo; the horizon is somewhere out there between the lake and the pink line of clouds.

Then I turned around and took a picture of the lodge itself. It was wonderful out, in the seventies, and had been all day and would be most of the week. The pool looked inviting, but it was extremely cold. Behind the pool is the dining room. Every day, we got dinner and breakfast at the lodge, and made a boxed lunch for the trip. All the meals were paid for; unless you wanted booze you didn't have to pay anything out of pocket for the entire safari. Pretty sweet deal. On the left side of the picture, behind the palm tree on the second floor, is my room.

To the south down the escarpment... it was really freakin' pretty out. You can see the lake, the plain, the forest, and then the face of the escarpment beneath those incredible late evening clouds.

Same time of day, looking to the west. You can see the northern end of the lake, and the forest.

So that evening we had a wonderful dinner, and a nice cup of tea (I had a nice cup of tea about fourteen times a day on safari), and sat out on the patio to read and chat. And then... then there were the dancers.

Previous visitors to Lake Manyara had raved about the tribal dancers. So we decided to stay and watch. They were going to be performing native ceremonial dances. Native. Ceremonial. Um.

I was not, personally, aware than the bump 'n grind was a native ceremonial dance among the Maasai people. Or the dance where the guy acts like he's starting a motorcycle. Never would have guessed. Then they passed the tip bucket around. We... um... slipped out through the dining room.

The next morning there was a glorious sunrise. I have 23 pictures of it. Here are four of them:

Next time: Off to the Serengeti!

Safari Post I (Introduction)
Safari Post II (Nairobi)
Safari Post III (Arusha – The Safari Begins)
Safari Post IV - Lake Manyara A
Safari Post V - Lake Manyara B
Safari Post VI - Lake Manyara Lodge
Safari Post VII - Off to Serengeti!

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