Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Holiday - Day 1

I'm sorry to put you through this but at least you don't have to read it if you don't want to!! It's one of those holidays that you just don't want to stop talking about and a totally new experience for my wife and I.
After arriving in Arusha, Tanzania late on Saturday the 19th Feb. we set off, not too early, the next morning, with a lovely couple from Wales, a very entertaining man from London and our guide Wilson. For me the excitement started almost straight away, having never set foot in Africa before the anticipation was a bit higher than wondering what might be on the lake at the castle!! The drive took us through Arusha and about 2-3 hours to our first destination, Lake Manyara. Along the way Wilson stopped and pointed out Augur Buzzard, a Black Chested Snake Eagle and Yellow Billed Stork to name a few, a quick stop to get our entry tickets produced my first Bateleur of the trip. We dropped off our stuff and had lunch in Kirurumu tented Lodge, here there were the colourfully named Scarlet Chested Sunbird and an African Paradise Flycatcher.
Once in the park we were greeted by Olive Baboons and Blue Monkeys which were reasonably inquisitive!
Blue Monkey - Lake Manyara
Arriving at a large pool we encountered our first Hippos, Zebra and Thompsons Gazelle as well as a good array of birds, Little Bee-eater, Black Egret making it's distinctive 'umbrella' to lure it's prey into the shade plus various plovers including Spur Winged and Blacksmiths, as well as a very familiar Ruff! and a not so familiar fly through Pied Kingfisher. Continuing through the park our first Giraffes were really close and provided great photo opportunities.
The excitement continued when we came across about 4 or 5 parked safari vehicles, our first Lion was lounging in a tree, it was a little distant but still thrilling nonetheless! The park had more birds to offer especially at a deserted picnic site where Purple Grenadiers, Blue capped Cordon Bleus and Eastern Violet backed Sunbird were all in close proximity. Northern White Crowned Shrikes were numerous and a couple of Southern Ground Hornbills were bigger than I expected with their large red wattles contrasting with their all black plumage. An African Hoopoe was a nice surprise as we left the park as was Waterbuck. We saw about 15 different mammals today and about 80 bird species of which nearly 70 were new as you would expect. I nearly forgot one of the main attractions at Manyara are the huge numbers of Greater Flamingoes they did create a nice pink hue which stretched all the way across the lake, we couldn't get very close to the lake but the effect was enough, although the photos we took didn't quite capture it. So here's a view from where we stayed instead!
The view from our Tented Lodge over Lake Manyara


Rachel J said...

Welcome back! Sounds really exciting! Look forward to more photos and reports. Best bird of the holiday?

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Rach,

I hope I can convey just a fraction of how exciting we thought it was, we were really lucky. Best bird is a tricky one, I'll have to think about that!! :-)