After a leisurely breadfast we chatted with the head gardener of the Arusha Hotel. He told us his father was a faarmer who would not send him to school. When his father died, he sent his younger brother to school and leared from him how to read and write. A very admirable man. He worked for English-speaking families as a grdener and caddy
and als9o learned to play golf and tennis.
Our luggage was loaded and we climbed into 4 land-rover safari wagons for the ride to Lake Manyara.
Lorrie, Cathy, Dave, Larry and I rode with Boniface. He told us that the last 2 years and especially this past year, the wet season hasn't provided enough water, and so the Masai are particularly in trouble. The cattle are dying from lack of food and water and cattle are their livelihood.
Part way along the road, Boniface got a call that the 3 missing suit cases were on their way. Cathy, Gail and Elsie were delighted to learn that.
We stopped at a very large Curio shop to wait for the cases and shopped until they arrived.
I've already expanded my suitcase; I think Larry will have to do so as well.
Along the highway we saw many Masai villages. Some houses are round and made of thatch and sticks, while others are brick or cement block and iron. The latter apparantly belong to those who've gone to the city and have some cash.
We saw heards of cattle and goats and many many beautiful, graceful people walking or riking bikes.
they all wore brightly-coloured clothing - either kangas or western dress.
The landscape looks completely dessicated and we saw swirls of dust everywhere.
There were some larger towns where shops and market were concentrated.
Eventually we turned and drove up a long mountain road to the Lake Manyara Serena Lodge.
We could see Lake Manyara stretched out below as we climbed. The lake is greatly reduced in size with salt deposits over large areas that used to be lake. As a result, the flamingos have left.
After a quick lunch, we had a safari in the Lake Manyara National Park. Boniface pointed out some of the wildlife, but we've become pretty good spotters ourselves.
We saw giraffes, Vervet monkeys, olive baboons, wildebeest ( by the hundreds ), an elephant and many hippos.
The park is lovely and green and fresh compared to what we saw along the road.
We had another bit of bad luck with a vehicle today, when we had a flat tire in front of the hippo viewing area. The drivers of all the vehicles from the Lodge pitched and changed it quickly.
Before dinner we enjoyed the singing of a cho8ir by the pool. A great African sound with 15 or so singers and a keyboarder.
For dinner we trekked though the dark to an open area set up for our dinner. One of the guides showed us some of the constellations of the southern hemisphere and then explained our location here on the western edged of the eastern brach of the Great Rift Valley.
It's an interesting place. We were the freturn to the first to decide to return to the lodge and a guard with a stick for a weapon and flashlight walked us to our lodging.
A long, lovely, but tiring day.
Photos: Click show for larger view: