Day 15: Lake Manyara
Today was our last full day in Africa. We all leave tomorrow. This morning we checked out of the crater lodge and drove to Lake Manyara, a lesser-known wildlife park. The new lodge was spectacular, obviously they saved the best for last. Spectacular views of the lake and mountains, a beautiful pool and grounds and lovely rooms. A few opted to stay by the pool, a few of us went on our last game drive. The geography was completely different, it almost seemed like a rainforest with its heavy canopy of trees and winding curvy roads. Thousands of white butterflies everywhere, monitor lizards in trees, blue-balled monkeys (yes...and they are turquoise...). We had to search harder for the animals as they were hidden, unlike the plains of the Serengeti or Ngorongoro Crater, but the elephants would cross the roads in front of us disappearing into the trees and others were found by the watering holes. We watched the giraffes for quite awhile. To drink, they have to spread their legs as far apart as they possibly can to get their mouth close to the water with such long necks and legs. Because this is a vulnerable position, they take turns with the others standing guard for predators. It was amusing and a reminder that we all make do with what we have and the limitations of our bodies. I think the giraffes with their long eyelashes and elegance were my favorite.
We spent the afternoon by the pool taking in the stunning view and realizing that this little group that had become so close had experienced something few people would; we were taking many memories back to America.