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Lake Manyara

Tuesday , June 27

We left the hotel with Abbas and headed to Lake Manyara National Park for our 2nd safari day. It felt very different immediately as we were in a wooded jungle like area. The day started out cool and overcast and got warmer and sunnier by afternoon.

We enjoyed the baboons and beautiful birds that we had never seen before. We saw many elephants and some were very close to us. We came to an area with an expanse of shallow water and beautiful white and pinkish birds that were flying and settling again and again. Such a whirlwind of pelican, storks, and ibis activity. It was magical and we hated to leave it.

We went farther down the dirt road and were thrilled to see several giraffes off in the distance, our first sighting. Despite our excitement we turned our attention to a safari bus full of children from a local orphanage. Their excitement over seeing the giraffes exceeded ours and we were happy to see Tanzanian children given the chance to enjoy their country's treasures. Ashley remembered the donated soccer balls in the back of our vehicle so a gift was made right there from outstretched arms. As the handoff occurred we looked up to see a really tall majestic giraffe, "twiga" in Swahili, sauntering right by us. They move so gracefully for such a large animal.

Later in the day we saw several more giraffes and once we even saw a group of them running across a small field. At many times, we were watching giraffes walk casually on a wide open beach near the zebras, with beautiful and huge Lake Manyara shining behind them. Past the lake were small mountain ranges to frame it perfectly. Add light pink flamingoes to the shallow water with their wings opening to reveal hot pink and black markings. A perfect scene that I'll never forget.

It had to end sometime so we reluctantly closed down the safari lid and drove on small highways back to Arusha. Even the road was interesting as there were so many Maasai people along the way with their elegant traditional dress and many cows. We were halfway to Arusha when "eagle eyed" Abbas spotted a large bull elephant in the trees off the road. He turned off the road into the dirt area to give us the most amazing look at our last treat of the day- the largest elephant of all.

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