13.06.2009 - 14.06.2009
In what will rapidly become an extremely boring tradition, todays snippet of African news comes from another newspaper though i have forgotten which, but mentions that a big but struggling South African TV station has paid a huge sum of money to the grandson of Nelson Mandela for exclusive rights to the funeral of the great man, reasoning that coverage of the funeral will magically solve all the stations problems. Now whilst i know that he is not the youngest of people, I didn't think he was dead just yet, and buying funeral coverage for somebody still alive (and not even from the person in question) just seems very wrong to me.
I miss Fred
And there is nothing I can do about it as he is now enjoying constant attention, booze and saunas in Finland.
With thoughts of doom in my head, and increasingly not wanting to actually be involved in what I had just spent 540usd to do, we left Moshi just after a lucky break in the clouds had allowed me to see the summit Kilimanjaro towering over the town.
Though it was never clear enough to see in all it's glory, i did at least get to see the peak of Kilimanjaro sneaking through the clouds
My spirits were hardly raised when we collected the other 4 people on our tour: an American couple plus their daughter and her friend, and I discovered that (a) they were from Iowa – not necessarily a bad thing, but in my case there are 2 separate stories in the midsts of time there – and (b) the father, Jeff, had never before left the USA. I admit that a feeling of dread started to descend over me. The fact that they spent the next several hours pretty much discussing every college student and shopping mall in Iowa in great detail, and lots of religious discussion did not exactly help. Happily, I need not have worried. They all turned out to be really nice people, and the tour guide Simbo was also superb.
I actually enjoyed the tour. After driving to the small town of Manyara we set up camp and headed out to Lake Manyara National Park. The Lake takes up a fairly large proportion of the park, meaning the area to drive through is fairly compact. But it also has a good variety of wildlife, of which we saw lots: elephants, giraffes, buffalo, flamingo, antelope of various breeds, zebra and several species of monkey amongst much else. But what Lake Manyara NP is famous for is Tree Climbing Lions, which are very rare in the wild. Apparently, the lions climb trees up to 4 or 5metres in order to avoid being attacked by certain insects which proliferate around the alkaline lake.
And we saw some. They were great, though I am not sure I have ever seen animals looking quite so content and uncomfortable at the same time. Though obviously at ease with the tree, they were also resting with paws literally holding on for grim death: they reminded me of a small child who has happily climbed a tree without fear before suddenly looking down, realising what he has done and then refusing to move/climb down again, out of a massive sudden fear of falling.
Now, if only we can find that elusive giraffe climbing a tree, we'll be all sorted!