East Africa, Part 15: Traveling to Lake Manyara.

On our last day at the Acacia Farm Lodge, The Moomins insisted on taking a picture with this massive palm.

And I thought this furry pine was neato.

This was our view from the breakfast balcony.

While we were eating I saw mangoes! Flying mangoes! With beaks! They’re actually called lovebirds but I like to imagine them as sentient tropical fruits.

I neglected to mention something I’ve never experienced before. While staying at the lodge there was a pervasive sound of a man speaking into a loudspeaker coming from the valley and when I asked someone what it was, he said it was a church revival. Not to be disrespectful but the preacher sounded like an infomercial spokesman, he had the exact pattern of speech. I kept waiting for him to say, “But wait, there’s more!”

We mostly drove all day and sometimes it was through towns. Here’s what some of the cabs look like.

Although some people still go old school. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Let’s talk about the Maasai and their livestock, specifically the cows. It is their everything. I mentioned earlier that they drink the cows’ blood and milk for nutrition, they use the cows as currency, the little kids make cows out of clay as toys. Seriously, everything. One day we were driving down the road and we saw a group of men running past us. Not running, more like jogging with intent and in perfect synchronization, similar to soldiers running in bootcamp. Several of them were carrying machetes and others were holding beautifully-designed bows and arrows. Our driver Jacob (this is back when we were in Kenya with Jacob) asked one of the men where they were going and he said a man had stolen some cows and the group was going to get them back. I said, “Oooooh noooooo,” because even though I’m a middle-aged white lady from New York I know not to mess with the Maasai’s cows. I guarantee you they 100% killed the thief. And there were no police anywhere to be found which made sense. The cow situation was about to resolve itself, no need for them to get involved.

Here’s a picture of a Maasai man walking his livestock from one grazing area to another.

Market day! You can get anything you need on market day, from bananas to shoes.

Supplies get around Tanzania via truck and many of the trucks had copious designs relating to bible quotes or Jesus. I caught this one from the back:

And as we drove by I took a picture of the side.

Here are two other pictures I found on the internet.

In the early afternoon we arrived at our hotel, located next to Lake Manyara with a view of the Great Rift Valley. That’s the mountain range-looking thing in the back there. The Great Rift Valley is where two tectonic plates are smooshing together and pulling apart. I find the movements of the crust of the earth fascinating so I spent a good period of time staring at it.

The hotel had animals sauntering around, doing their thing, and it was up to you not to mess with them. I’m sure someone gets hurt every so often for being real stupid and walking up to a giraffe. The one animal you can get close to are the gnu because, as I have mentioned before, they are as thick as a living thing could be. I think you can eat them and still be considered a vegetarian because broccoli is smarter. Here are the gnu on the path to the pool.

In order to get to the pool you walk on that path and the gnu will anxiously run away. I’m like, “You have horns, guys. And hooves. There’s many of you. Why you fleein’?”

There was a warthog mere feet from me, eating vegetation and getting all tangled up in its tusks. Not a pretty eater, but charming.

I liked these puffs on what appears to be a fever tree.

The gnu (which look different than the last two types of gnu because, again, we’ve traveled many hours and it’s a whole different ecosystem) look like they have straight horns when they’re young.

The moment when I lost all respect for the gnu was during this afternoon. There were large puddles, really deep, like 4′ deep, but the mouth wasn’t more than three feet across. So they looked like regular puddles but they were a lie. Lying puddles. The gnu would regularly fall into them and then pop right out like corks. Two gnu friends were walking and one fell in, bopped right out and continued walking like nothing happened. His friend stopped in front of the puddle and… didn’t know what to do. He wanted to be reunited with his friend but he couldn’t figure out how. The concept of walking TWO STEPS IN EITHER DIRECTION flummoxed this poor fella so he decided his best course of action was to stand there and bleat helplessly. Eventually other gnu came up and he witnessed them walking around so he followed them but it’s entirely possible he could have stood there forever until he wasted away from sheer stupidity. It could happen.

After enjoying sitting in the outdoor lounge and watching the sun cross the sky we headed back to our bungalow, escorted by a group of impalas heading that way. Which is where we caught the monkeys.

If you look over to the left, that’s our front door. And that is a vervet monkey.

I call these three pics “Uhhh, yeah, we didn’t think you’d be back so soon.”

We waited patiently because getting bitten or scratched by a monkey would really put a damper on our fun times. As the sun started going down the impalas and monkeys drifted to wherever they spend the night and we got to enjoy the sunset in peace.

Next post: Tarangire, home of elephants, baobabs and lions that climb trees.

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