Friday, August 22, 2008

Tanzania Preview, Part 1

I purchased an airline ticket today for my vacation next year - a 17 day safari through Tanzania arranged by my undergraduate mentor, Dr. Vin Lawrence. To ease the pain of shelling out that much money (the airfare had gone up almost $600 since I last checked a month and a half ago!), I thought I'd write about the trip to get me excited again. So, this is the first of a series of posts previewing the various spots we will be visiting on Safari. I leave Washington Dulles aboard Northwest Airlines at 5:35 pm on June 1, arriving in Amsterdam at 7:20 am on June 2. After meeting up with the rest of the group, we depart Amsterdam aboard KLM airlines at 10:30 am, arriving in Kilamanjaro, Tanzania at 7:55 pm. A total of sixteen and a half hours flying time, with a 3 hour layover. Upon arrival we transfer to the Klub Afriko Hotel (actually a series of 7 bungalows) outside the town of Arusha. On our first full day, we travel to Lake Manyara National Park for two nights at the "rustic" Migunga Forest Camp. Lake Manyara lies at the base of the Rift Valley Escarpment in Northern Tanzania. Smallish in size, Lake Manyara NP covers only 127 square miles, about two-thirds of which are the lake itself. The rest of the park is comprised of ground water forest, acacia woodlands, open grassland, and lake shore habitats. The name Manyara comes from the Maasai word for the plant Euphorbia tirucalli, which is used by the Maasai to construct living fences for livestock enclosures. Lake Manyara NP is best known for its baboon troops, and as one of only two places in the world with a population of "tree climbing lions". The lions of Manyara are well know for their ability to climb and slumber in the acacia trees around the lake.

Tree Climbing Lions in Lake Manyara NP.

The park is also home to hippos, elephants, buffalo, impala, warthogs, and giraffes, and over 380 species of birds have been recorded within the park.

Hippos in Lake Manyara

Woodland Kingfisher, Lake Manyara

Southern Ground Hornbill, Lake Manyara NP

Giraffes, Lake Manyara NP

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