Lake Manyara

When we set out on this adventure we had a list of must-sees and must-do’s. One of those was to explore Africa for a month and another was to do a multi-day, once-in-a-lifetime camping type safari while we were there.  Both were dreams of ours and this trip was our chance to do it.


Since we were meeting friends there, South Africa was an easy decision, but we found it difficult to decide on where our second destination in Africa should be. Finally, at the advice of a trusted and well travelled friend-of-a-friend (Thanks CBR!) and after hours and hours of research, we decided on Tanzania — a decision that I am incredibly grateful for. It is a gorgeous country and our safari there truly was our safari of a lifetime.

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Our safari vehicle with pop-up roof extended for standing inside the vehicle

I’m not going to lie, trying to find a safari on a budget felt impossible for about two weeks, but after a ton of research and about forty e-mails with tour operators, we finally found our safari. It was a four-day, no-frills safari that involved camping in tents in the wilderness for some nights, a safari vehicle with no air-conditioning, eating whatever the cook made in camp that day, and the Serengeti. It was perfect for us in every way.

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“Glamping” on the first night

On this safari we visited three parks, our first being Lake Manyara National Park. The entrance sign advertised it as the “Home of the Climbing Lions”. While we didn’t see any tree climbing lions (or any cats at all, truthfully), we did get to witness many other animals going about their daily life in this reserve. It was a wooded reserve, so it was much different than the plains we would see later, and it was also partially a wetland. This meant a ton of cranes, storks, waterfowl, hippos, flamingos, and many other animals that we had never seen before.

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Giant Kingfisher (in reality only about three inches tall) that we watched bludgeon a crab to death on a rock a few minutes before.
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Yellow-billed Stork

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Baboon, apparently not happy about the picture of the lion on the spare tire cover of our safari vehicle. 
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Acacia thorns

Lake Manyara was a wonderful park and a great start our Tanzanian safari. The scenery between the park and the town of Arusha, where we departed from, was breathtaking. We got to witness the locals going about their daily lives without disturbing them, and that in itself was a treat.

I’ll leave you with the exit sign from Lake Manyara National Park, which made my heart happy.

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See you on our next safari as we drive down into Ngorongoro Crater!

Love from Barcelona,

Cathleen & Christopher


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