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!