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Lake Manyara National Park: monkey nation

September 7, 2010

After a short drive we reached our next campsite, just outside Lake Manyara National Park. Even though we were only a short distance from Tarangire National Park this area was a lot more green.  In fact our tent was set-up on a nice grassy area next to many palms. There was a nice screened-in building with electricity where we could eat dinner. This campsite even had sit-down toilets (definitions of luxury sure do change…) and hot showers. Heaven. Unfortunately, as we found out in the morning we were also in close proximity to what seemed like a gazillion roosters, and many barking wild dogs. Hello 5 am. After a short time setting up at the campsite we were off for a game drive for what was left of the morning and the afternoon.

If the theme for yesterday was elephants then today is definitely monkeys. The park is a perfect place for monkeys – lots of lush trees. There were baboons, velvet monkeys and blue monkeys. They were everywhere! I was glad that they decided to stay out of the jeep. Apparently sometimes the monkeys try to get into the jeep for food. They also like shiny things – not the camera! We also saw more elephants, impalas and giraffes. One giraffe was eating the leaves out of a tree only a short distance from our jeep. It constantly amazes me that the animals are so unfazed from the jeeps. They are not the most stealthy vehicle.

Just before lunch we came to the hippo pool! This past Christmas I was really taken with the Telus commercial with the hippopotamus. So much so that I received two plastic hippos and a framed picture of the Telus hippo for Christmas. So you can imagine that I was really excited to see some hippos.

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
No crocodiles, no rhinoceroses
I only like hippopotamuses
And hippopotamuses like me too

Oddly enough even though we were not ever supposed to get out of the jeep in the park, there was a well-defined area here to get out and look. In front of one of the most dangerous animals in the park – even though they are super-cute they are also aggressive and territorial. So I won’t be hugging a hippo anytime soon. We were a fair distance away, but it still seemed odd that this is the place to get out into the open air.

The majority of the afternoon was fairly devoid of wildlife. Well in comparison so what we’ve seen so far. Dave even fell asleep in the jeep for a little while. Toward the end of the day we saw an interesting animal that I don’t remember it’s name. It basically looks like a large gerbil. Now imagine 20 of these guys come streaming out of a tree. They were everywhere! Tree-climbing gerbil-things. Crazy.

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