Some photographs of Manyara
No, the pool in the foreground is not Lake Manyara. The edge of the lake can just be seen in the middle distance. Sunday 27 November2011 pm. Nikon D7000.
This was the start of the safari. Having spent some of Sunday morning in Arusha getting bottled water, packed lunches, local currency and filling the two tanks of the modified Toyota Land Crusier (it was stretched and had a lift-up safari roof) we went to visit Manyara national park first. Sunday night, I would spend at Jambo Lodge, Mto-Wa-Mbu a town on the northern shore of Lake Manyara. I know the family that owns the lodge, the Njake Group of companies, and they provided us with two tents for camping out on the rest of the trip, as was my wish, but for tonight I would sleep in luxury.
I had arrived at the start of the rainy season and during the night it rained heavily. It was no night to be in a small tent In the morning we found the main concrete bridge at Mto-Wa-Mbu was flooded and blocked with trees and boulders that had come down the river in the flash floods. This forced us to spend much of the day 28/11/2011 travelling overland and making a crossing further upstream where it was shallow. The original intention was to start at Ngorongoro and move north into the Serengeti exiting at the north gate near the Kenyan border. Now we would do the trip in reverse and arrive at the other side of the blocked bridge in three or four day's time when hopefully it will have been cleared.
Most people in Arusha speak several languages including english, swahili and local or tribal languages. Tanzania was a former German then a British protectorate/mandate before becoming independant.
My driver/guide for the trip was Emanuel who had perfect english and was preparing to set up his own safari business.
At the start of the safari it was difficult to judge what photo opportunities lay ahead with the result that I often took photographs of animanls that were just too far away. In this case the animals are too close to the front of the vehicle so that a clear shot was not possible.
It had been a long night, a Cape buffalo spent some time pulling grass from under my tent. I could hear the grass slipping over its tongue, my head was just centimetres away on the other side of the fabric. In the morning, I looked out into the dark half expecting to see the light from the eyes of some lion waiting for its breakfast. As soon as I could see enough I got up and checked to see if the Land Cruiser door was locked. it was not locked. I searched to find the machete but it was gone. Later if found that the driver had it in his tent, lol. As the sky started to clear I was able to get some photos.
I had just read the book "The Man Eaters of Tsavo" before I came to Africa. It is a true story about man eating lions at the end of the nineteenth century. They killed over thirty railway workers just over the border in Kenya. There is a film based on the book. The film is called "The Ghost and The Darkness". It is worth watching but not if you don't like blood.
In this photo the far horizon is over 100km away in the east. The rays of the sun are hitting the bottoms of the clouds and they appear fully lit. A little closer the clouds are only receiving the dawn light on their top surface and appear to be backlit. Overhead the clouds are low enough to receive no direct light from the sun's rays. Being further west the dawn has not yet arrived for them and they appear inky dark, slate in colour. The ground is still in darkness. The clouds show the boundary between night and day.
From the beginning of mankind, people would have started each morning to a scene such as this and would have spent some of the hours of darkness listening to the wild sounds of the night. Later I would visit Olduvai (Oldupai) Gorge where the remains and footprints of early mankind have been found. It is widely accepted, by the scientific community, that it is from near this region of east Africa that early mankind set out towards north Africa where he crossed to Arabia before spreading out to populate the world. It's all very interesting.
Olduvai should originally have been spelt Oldupai with a "p". Oldupai is the Maasai word for the wild sisal plant which grows here.
Photo taken from the observation platform above the gorge. It was here that much work was done on the origins of mankind. Different layers dating the evidence found.
It is an interesting and sometimes controversial subject. There is plenty to be found on the Internet, in many books and video documentaries.
Dr. Alice Roberts has made a series for the BBC,
I almost did not get this photo. I was trying to get the giraffe as it walked. The space between the trees was the only window I had before the Land Cruiser safari vehicle would have to move and the moment would be lost. The zebra was being a real pest running up and down in a skittish manner between me and the giraffe. My heart was pounding as the opportunity was disappearing like sand through the fingers. Then just before the giraffe went behind the second tree I saw a composition and clicked. I like the other animals in the background, perhaps a garden of Eden.