Travels with V
Tanzania, Zanzibar & Pemba
It’s us against the Masai
Safari part one, Lake Manyara
We fly from Dar es Salaam to Arusha, the hotspot for travelers going on safaris in Serengeti and/or Ngoro Ngoro. The town itself looks worn down and dirty, almost hostile. So we just take a short walk from our hotel up to a giant white complex that houses the special UN court that deals with war crimes in Rwanda.
Now we meet up with Daniel who is our guide for the next four days. Daniel is a big, friendly man and a fantastic wildlife tracker. He takes us around in a Toyota Landcruiser with plenty of leg space. The roof can be lifted so we can stand up and watch with binoculars or take pictures without having to leave the safety of the car. Which is good when you encounter lions and cheetahs and leopards…
On the way to our first national park, Lake Manyara, we stop by a masai village where we learn a lot about this tall nomadic people who traditionally follow their giant heards of cows or other cattle searching for fresh grass.
The village consists of 10 -15 round mud huts. The masai men and women all wear red or blue cloaks, the men always carry a stick. The women wear wide collars decorated with pearls, and often have spectacular large earrings.
Masai are also famous for high jumps, a sport they challenge us in. With success.
We continue to Lake Manyara, a smaller national park where we catch our first glimpses of elephants, zebras and giraffes. We also see vervet monkeys and blue monkeys, and to aur great joy and surprise, a couple of rock hyrax, a sort of badger-like animal that we’ve seen once before, in a desert kibbutz by the Dead Sea in Israel. It’s absurdly enough related to the elephant and is supposed to be common all over Africa and south-west Asia. But seriously, when did you last see a rock hyrax?
We spend the night at Lake Manyara Wildlife Lodge, a classy hotel with fantastic views of Lake Manyara. But we’re almost the only guests, only a pair of elderly English ladies also stay here. It’s a bit spooky to move around in the empty halls and rooms. But on a veranda with the best views of the lake we’re able to sit down and have a beer.