It’s hard to believe our adventure is just about over. Our final outing this morning was to Lake Manyara National Park. This lovely lake is surrounded by groundwater forest that is a truly lovely lush green with many kinds of trees. I was particularly struck by the trunks of the ficus sycamore trees with their incredible textures. Among others were Cape mahogany trees, a variety of acacia trees, and palm trees.
One big highlight of this trip was that we FINALLY saw a leopard! It was draped over a tree limb at least 30 feet off the ground, all four legs and tail just hanging down. I may have gotten a decent picture with my point-and-shoot digital camera, but I won’t know until I get home and get it on my computer. There were many, many safari vehicles jostling for a good angle to see, but they actually did a reasonable job of moving on and making room for others after their passengers had gotten a good look and taken pictures.
We also saw one of the tree-climbing lions this park is known for. This is unusual behavior for lions, generally speaking. On one side of the road two lionesses were finishing up their lunch and a third, having finished eating, went across the road, climbed up to a comfortable branch, and stretched out. You can click on this photo to see it much larger and in clear detail.
In addition to the wonderful cat sightings, we saw quite a few birds. These included three types of hornbills: ground, crowned, and Von de Decken. An African Pied wagtail sang to us as we drove over a creek.
There were baboons, including moms with really tiny babies. Even though they are really young, they can cling tight to mom’s belly as she walks. This has two benefits: they can suckle in that position, and they are safe from eagles. We also saw Sykes blue monkeys and vervet monkeys. Fun fact: while the vervet monkeys are tan with black faces and hands, the males have bright blue balls. Really.
We leave for home tomorrow, flying from here to Nairobi and then off from there in the middle of the night. It will be another LOOOOONG travel day, and it will no doubt take two or three days to recover, reset our sleep schedules, and adjust back from the seven-hour time difference. After I get settled, I will be going through all my hundreds of pictures and creating photo-journal posts for you to enjoy.
The group we’ve been traveling with have been a fun, lively group. It has been delightful to get to know them, and I’ll leave you with a group photo taken as we were about to leave the Migration Camp.
Left to right: Peter and Barb, Randy and Patsy, Mary, Susana (kneeling), Jaycee, and Lloyd, Steve, Mick, Ann, Joe, and Kathleen. The only person missing is Elphas, our amazing guide on this adventure. I’ll make sure I get a picture of him before we go.