Camping Safari in Lake Manyara, Tanzania

Greetings,

As some of you know, went on a camping safari in Lake Manyara the other day. It was a grand eye opening experience and one of those things I shall never forget. We drove from Arusha about 2.5 hours to Lake Manyara National Park. Once we arrived we drove about 50KM into the bush and settled at a camp site near the edge of the lake.

It cost ~$30 to get into the park and $30 to camp which basically means another day in the park. It was exhilarating to see all the animals up close and personal and some what “intense” falling asleep with only a thin tent protecting you from some of the predators that often come out at night. I was out like a light, amazing sleep.

We found a great spot and immediately setup camp, had the entire place to ourselves. The 3 people I went with had done this before and must say, one of the more comfortable camping experiences I’ve had. Unfortunately it poured all night, torrential if you will. Everyone got soaked except yours truly who for some reason only got his right foot slightly damp, luck I was.

At night you hear lots of noises and even the occasional “something” walking by your tent. Quite the experience to really be “out there with the animals”. Ensure you pack all meat etc back in the containers, then cooler then car… Last thing you want are some hyena’s digging through your gear.

Woke up at the crack of dawn to a massive herd of zebra about 150m away. Had breakfast then drove further into the park, saw countless animals and checked out the natural hot springs which seem to be a hot spot for many animals. On this trip we saw hippos, baboons, giraffes, guinea fowls, elephants, zebras, impalas, dik diks, a massive hare, some lizard I do not recognize and other things that now elude me.

Giraffes are without a doubt the coolest animal I’ve ever seen. Incredibly curious and graceful creatures. Even when they are “on the move” it looks as though they are barely moving / barely working a sweat. The reason is the legs are so long, naturally. If you’ve seen one move you’ll know what I mean.

Ended up driving for a while and we spent several hours just taking different lanes seeing different animals. I will note if you take a safari, do a private one with yourself and friends. Saw many trucks that looked like a real mismatch of people. You only have x amount of time so make sure you get to see what YOU want to see, it will cost you a pretty penny either way if you have a guide and use their vehicles.

In closing, it’s worth it, if you get a chance go for it. The private safari / camp is a good combo as you spend more time in the park and get to do what you please. Draw back is you need your own vehicles so if you don’t know people it may be more difficult to arrange. Also if you get attacked by flies, move further away from the bush and by all means, do not forget bug spray!

Tips hat,

35 Comments

  1. Lorraine

    January 13, 2011 at 8:37 am

    I absolutely loved reading about your camping trip. What an amzing experience. I would not have the guts to do it. I would not like to hear wild animals walking by my tent at night. your pictures are amazing.

    • Rob

      January 13, 2011 at 10:57 am

      It was odd, not sure if I’d be in a hurry to do it again. Really sets in as it starts getting dark.

  2. James Shannon

    January 13, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Surreal landscape photos and the ones of the animals speak for themselves … bit off-topic, but how have you handled the anti-malaria pills Rob?

    • Rob

      January 13, 2011 at 10:57 am

      Still on them, may give me weird dreams but they were weird to begin with. Thanks

  3. reg

    January 13, 2011 at 11:27 am

    sick shots lonnie.

    • Rob

      January 13, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      Thanks sweet tooth.

  4. Age

    January 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    awesome bro! safari is at the top of my ‘must dos’.. Props to the giraffes, always liked those lanky dudes.

    • Rob

      January 13, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      Good to hear from you, they are most definitely sweet. Definitely a worthwhile experience.

  5. PHIL BASSTARD

    January 14, 2011 at 6:36 am

    ITS ALWAYS GOOD CAMPING WHEN EVERYBODY ELSE DOES THE WORK !! LOL

    • Rob

      January 14, 2011 at 9:40 am

      I cannot refute that.

  6. Andi

    January 14, 2011 at 7:38 am

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now that’s a once in a lifetime experience. AMAZING!

    • Rob

      January 14, 2011 at 9:41 am

      Could not agree more!

  7. Michael Hodson

    January 14, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I soooo miss Africa. Bothers me that I won’t be going back in 2011, but it is high on my 2012 list for sure. Thanks for all the pics.

    • Rob

      January 14, 2011 at 10:24 pm

      It really is a cool place, glad I made the trek over to this continent.

  8. Rebecca

    January 15, 2011 at 3:47 am

    Photos are amazing – can’t believe all the animals you saw! Love the pic of the baby baboon on its mum’s back – looking back at you – and also the baby elephant. I’m going to Africa in October so can’t wait to go on safari.

    • Rob

      January 15, 2011 at 6:03 am

      I was excited to go but had no idea it would be as “wow” as it was. The animals are just awesome and so many of them, all over. It would be like going on a submarine tour under the ocean, wonder if that exists!?

      Where in Africa are you going?

  9. teasastips

    January 15, 2011 at 6:06 am

    Wow is all I can say! I do enjoy photography and have lots of equipment, however I don’t think I’m ready to get that close to the wildlife! LOL!!!! But thank you so much for sharing, it’s always a great experience to live vicariously through someone else. oh, BTW, I’m marketingstar on SU.

    • Rob

      January 15, 2011 at 6:09 am

      Going on a normal safari with a guide and sleeping in a lodge is probably your best bet then. That way you’re always in the truck and sleeping somewhere, somewhat safer. That said, still in the park.

      Are you on Plurk as well?

  10. Dalene

    January 15, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Wow! I love the picture of the giraffe beside the vehicle. Freaky, but oh so cool!

    • Rob

      January 15, 2011 at 8:54 am

      The weirdest part is when it gets dark and you realize you only have a tent and a fire.

  11. greg urbano

    January 15, 2011 at 9:54 am

    what a fantastic looking adventure!

  12. Migrationology

    January 15, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    There’s nothing like camping in Africa! I used to go camping quite frequently in Kenya and we would fall asleep to the squeals of hippos and wake up to the footprints of leopards! Awesome adventures!

    • Rob

      January 16, 2011 at 3:20 am

      It’s intense, supposedly the rained out people heard lions. Heard them earlier in the night and guide said they were spotted near hot springs which was a few KM from where we rested. It’s a rush.

  13. Bean

    January 17, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Awesome . Were you that close to the tiger? lot bigger than racoons. Beansterman

    • Rob

      January 20, 2011 at 4:49 am

      Lions and hard to tell in dark. I didn’t recognize anything.

  14. Dave and Deb

    January 19, 2011 at 3:56 am

    That looks like an amazing experience. Super photos too. I am glad that you stayed dry. Who was the poor sucker in the wet tent? We camped our way through Africa and absolutely loved it. There is nothing more cool than sleeping under the stars in Africa.

    • Rob

      January 20, 2011 at 4:51 am

      Were you on an overlander or driving?

  15. Dirk

    December 6, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    This is the best way to experience Africa. No frills, no false sense of security, just out there in the bush – true Africa! Great post and nice pics.

    • Rob

      December 7, 2011 at 5:57 am

      Couldn’t agree more, just being out there with them was an event in itself.

  16. Athanas

    December 30, 2012 at 1:53 am

    Manyara is my home and where my permanent camp is, realy nice to hear from you about all that were amazing and sharing it with people around the world

    • Rob

      December 30, 2012 at 5:43 am

      Beautiful place!

  17. TravelMusts

    May 24, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Wow!~ Those are some truly amazing pictures! I havent been on a safari yet, but I guess I will have to take part in one soon! Your pictures made me wanna do it like… right now! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Rob

      May 25, 2013 at 11:31 am

      You’ll love it!

  18. Digital Nomads

    August 29, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Hey Rob, great post! I know it’s been a while but we are planning our Tanzania trip and we prefer to do that on our own. Do you have recos? We don’t drive (no license) do you think we can hire a driver w/ a car? Will it be affordable? Also, what camera did you use? Hope not too much questions!

    • Rob

      August 29, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      You should be able to get a driver or even the bus then taxi if you look into it. You would leave from Arusha.

      That said, we used the cars to store food and we got deep into that park. Also, truck acted as security if some animals went nuts and we had two trucks incase one got stuck. I wouldn’t recommend showing up ill prepared. I also went with a group of bush pilots who live in the area.

      I had a Fiji digital something with mega zoom, nothing special and all shots were on auto as I had no clue what I was doing; take 98%+ shots of a camera phone.

      I hope this helps and doesn’t burst your bubble but safety first my friends, it is real out there and to say miles from help is an understatement. We also has 4 cellphones between the four of us.

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