We were met at the Arusha Planet Lodge by our new guide - Richard together with his shiny Toyota Landscruiser. These vehicles are custom-made for African safaris with stretched wheelbase, extra seats, pop-up roof and extra spare tyres. We saw hundreds
of identical vehicles. From the hotel we headed west through Arusha, past the local airport and out into the grasslands where the Maasai people roam with their cattle and goats. We drove through villages and market towns before entering the Lake Manyara
National Park. This was our first introduction to game "drives" with the roof of the Landcruiser popped open so we could view the wildlife at close range. We had a picnic lunch overlooking the lake before continuing on to the Ngorongoro Farm House for our overnight stay.
The Road to Lake Manyara
From Arusha the road west was in surprisingly good condition, paved and wide. (We later realised the contrast when we met the rutted dusty roads in the Serengeti.) But the road was also the corridor for the Maasai people to move cattle, goats and donkeys,
locals to undertake roadside commerce and for baboons to sit in the sun.
Meeting Richard, our guide, and the Barking Zebra Landcruiser.
Passing a range of modern buildings in Arusha
Cripes! Pretty coloured traffic lights.
Fuel pump. SHD2816/litre is about NZD1.85 or USD1.15
Passing the Cultural Centre again.
Agave trees used for fibre.
The start of the grass plains.
Wheel on a stick is a timeless toy.
Hand-made brick factory.
Fuel is cheaper out here.
Maasai boys herding cattle.
Incongruous road signs.
The road goes onwards west.
Lots of trucks stopped at a weighbridge.
Paul's family compound ahead.
Tree with termite mound.
That's a lot of watermelons!
Best Espresso Coffee in Tanzania. Well... he did have an Italian espresso machine, and he did fill up our Thermos with boiling water.
Saw many women casually carrying large loads on their heads.
Lots of bicycles.
Tuktuk taxi - a common sight.
Mother and baby looking at fruit.
Lots of green bananas.
Sugarcane, bananas and avocados.
Drive-by camera shots of bright cloth and bananas.
After passing the village of Mto wa Mbu (with the espresso coffee machine) and waving to Richards's mother, who by chance was standing on the roadside, we turned off into Lake Manyara National Park.
Our first look at baboons on the roadside.
The entrance to Lake Manyara National Park
The ranger station where Richard had to present our passes.
"Tree climbing lions" - we didn't see any...
The road through the park - trees red from dust.
A troupe of baboons cam strolling along...
There are aninals out there... somewhere!
Fierce-looking spikes on these bushes.
Watering hole but no residents.
Bush melons growing in the trees.
Signpost ot the picnic site.
Glimpse of the lake.
The picnic site.
You are being watched.
We were not alone at the picnic site...
There's something moving on the beach: mongooses!
What's that ugly creature...
The smallest of the gazelles - the dikdik.
Dikdik eyeing us up!
A crash in the bush and out they came.
The elephants came strolling by...
On to Ngorongoro Farm House
By late afternoon we had driven around the north and west of the lake so it was time to leave and head towards our accommodation for the night at Ngorongoro Farm House. This was a large establishment with large accommodation huts scattered
around the main buildings. It had a swimming pool and outside bar area, as well as a large dining room and outside barbeque. It was also a working farm with an extensive garden where they grew most of the fruit and vegtables for the kitchen as well as their own coffee.
Line-up of Landcruisers at the Ngorongoro Farm House