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Kilimanjaro: Okita & Team Enjoy Visit to Lake Manyara National Park

Waking up early this morning after our celebratory dinner last night could have been harder had we not had our safari to look forward to.  Day one had us visiting Lake Manyara National Park,  home of the elusive tree climbing lion.
Well, no lion was seen ready to pounce upon our Landcruiser, but we enjoyed a spectacular first day. Even before getting off the highway we had giraffes and zebras run across the road right in front of us, miles from the park. Once in the park our drivers,  Godson and Fabian, proved to be inexhaustible sources of information on everything from the flora and fauna of the region to the culture of the Maasai. And they have such sharp eyes!
We were treated to wildlife sightings around every bend in the road, it seemed. The cute, curious, intelligent baboons were everywhere and some of the first animals encountered, but shortly after that we saw elephants,  water buck, wildebeest, zebras, water buffalo, hippopotamus, impala, monkeys, and probably a dozen varieties of birds.
Liz jokingly commented that she only climbed the mountain to do the safari, and that she really wanted to see an elephant. Well, her wishes came true as we saw perhaps a dozen elephants, some quite close up! Watching a hippo snap its monstrous jaw down (with a reportedly 6 ton force) was another highlight. But perhaps the ever present baboons provided the most amusement as they seemed to like to hang right by the roadside, so up close and personal sightings were common and way too entertaining.
And now we’re settled in to the Plantation Lodge,  an over the top lodge converted from an old coffee plantation that is luxury and swankiness redefined. At least in my eyes. Dinner can best be described as ‘haute cuisine’ and a wine cellar and bar lie in a subterranean set of rooms one can peer into from a circular window set in the floor of the dining room above. Crazy!
Ok, after our ‘kick ass’ day summiting Kili, we deserve this!
Bon appetite.
RMI Guide Brent Okita


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