Morning came early and shortly after 9:00am we were on our way to Arusha town and then on to Lake Manyara. First stop was a great little store where we made some souvenir purchases. John pointed out the perfect T-shirt for me that says ‘Shida Happens’ – you can imagine what it says in English! And the best part of all, it is in my neon green, how perfect is that.
Next stop is to pick up Livingston and head out of town. The drive to Lake Manyara is the same direction as Tarangire and you guessed it, we are in for more ‘African’ massages as the road construction and diversions haven’t changed much since last week. Possibly Ricky is a better driver or we are getting used to the roads as I didn’t notice the ruts and bumps as much.
We arrived at what I thought was a shopping or lunch spot but as it turns out it was our hotel for the night. We had initially decided on a one night camping safari in Manyara and then a hotel stay for the second night in Ngorongoro. When we came down from Kili, we had enough of camping so John called the hotels in the area to get us rooms. This had been the only one available. It just wasn’t what we had paid for so we checked again with the Serena Hotel and we were in luck – it was available! Although at a bit of a premium but was it worth it.
It was 5* luxury and the meals were fantastic! We had great rooms that overlooked Lake Manyara and the Rift Valley. The pool was an infinity pool complete with bar and patio. The rooms were small cottages with patios and grandiose mosquito nets over the bed. I felt I was on the set of a romantic African movie.
After checking in, we jumped back in the Land Cruiser and headed to Lake Manyara National Park to see if we could spot a Hippo or two. We saw scores of baboons, zebras, Cape buffalo, impala and an elephant (yes a lone elephant) but no Hippos. Close to sunset we went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.
Dinner was a rather formal affair with full waiter service, and a very humorous waiter at that. His name was hard to remember as it was so unique and he looked Maasai to me, however he was too small to be Maasai. He told us that he had personally caught a wart hog that day so that we could have bacon tomorrow morning with our ostrich eggs. He joked with such a straight face that he was almost believable and really enhanced our evening!
Finally around 10:00pm we headed back to our lovely rooms and to bed.