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Entries about american tourists

Ndutu: lion in a tree - Lake Eyasi

Goodbye Ndutu, hello Lake Eyasi

View Baby Boomers - Tanzania 2020 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Having enjoyed our picnic breakfast, we set off again for more game viewing.

Dik Dik

We are heading back to Ndutu Lodge to use the facilities before we leave the area, but the route Malisa wants to take is impassable. “There used to be a road here” he explains.


A Greater Spotted Thick Knee doing her best to hide from us

Malisa drops us off at the lodge while he goes off to get fuel for the car.


Meanwhile, we spend our time walking around the grounds, looking for birds and taking it all in for the last time.


Northern Grey Headed Sparrow

Great White Pelicans flying in formation

I can't believe how overgrown the gardens are at Ndutu Lodge, after all the recent rains.

Hildebrand Starling

I am really impressed with the individual terry towels in the 'public' toilets at Ndutu!

Malisa returns and we make our way towards the gate that takes us out of Ngorongoro Conservation Area, of which Ndutu is a small part.

Black Faced Sandgrouse

Lesser Flamingo

Southern Red Bishop

Lesser Masked Weaver

They weave the most exquisite nests!

Strange horizontal rainbow


Malisa hears on the radio that a lioness has been spotted in a tree near the lake – it sounds like our lady from earlier this morning. We go to check it out.



The lioness looks most uncomfortable and keeps shifting her position.


Under the tree is a male lion, who is periodically sniffing the air, hoping for his mate to come back down.


Meanwhile tourists are busy taking selfies with the lions – I wonder if you can actually see the big cat in that photo, or just the outline of a tree?


Much as we'd love to stay and see what happens with our two kitties, we have to leave in order to get to the gate. Permits are strictly timed and any overstay faces a heavy fine.

There is still quite a lot of flooding in Ndutu.








Just less than an hour ago we travelled through heavy flooding, now the roads are annoyingly dusty!


The dust covers everything in a thin layer of dirt – look at the state of my camera!


The dirt being thrown up by passing vehicles also plays havoc with the windscreen of our Landcruiser. A crack developed earlier on the trip, and now, every time we meet a car travelling at speed, Malisa has to hold on to the glass in fear that it would shatter if a stone was to hit it.



We join up with the main road through Serengeti, where a new gate post has been erected since we first started coming here, with tourists lining up to have their photos taken, and vendors hoping to sell them some souvenirs.

The original gate

The new sign

Ndutu Lodge also has a new sign, with the new brand created since the lodge changed ownership.

Sculpture advertising the Museum of Mankind at Oldupai - also new

A would-be vendor heading for the tourists


Lots of giraffes - we count twenty of them!


We stop at Seneto Descent Road (the entrance to Ngorongoro Crater) for a picnic lunch, as are several other people. This is the most crowded I have ever seen this spot. It seems it is not just the camera that is covered in dust – my face was pretty dirty too!

The cloth after wiping my face


We see a small baby playing, but as soon as we stop, the parents gather him up and leave.




There are more baboons at Lodoare Gate (the exit from Ngorongoro Conservation Area), including one that jumps on the bonnet of the car while I am in the loo. David tries to quickly grab a shot with my camera.




Once we're through the gate, we hit the sealed road – the first time for eleven days! Not for long though, a mere five kilometres down the road, we turn off right, onto another fairly rough dirt track. This is all new and unexplored territory for us now.

We later turn off the dirt track to an even smaller and narrower lane, winding its way through small hamlets and into the wilderness. This is real off-the-beaten-path stuff, and a completely different type of vegetation – thick and verdant, more jungle-like - to anything we've seen in Tanzania before.



Kisima Ngeda Lodge

As we pull up in the lodge car park, an army of helpers appear out of nowhere. Unless we really want to, there is no need to carry any of our own luggage. After a welcome drink while signing in at the reception, we are shown to our room.




Our room is, in fact, a large tent on a wooden base with a thatched roof. The room is well furnished and there is an en suite western style toilet and shower at the rear of the tent.



The local guide, who will be with us tomorrow for our excursions, arrives to give us a briefing. As he walks up onto our balcony, I get an instant feeling of recognition. He looks familiar. As he introduces himself as Alex, my mind starts ticking. I am not even sure what I am trying to think of, but suddenly it hits me. “Alex” I ask, “what is your surname?” As soon as he replies “Puwale”, I smile – we are already friends on Facebook! What a small, small world!

Alex's Facebook page

After a quick shower and change, we pop down to the bar for a drink, delighted that we can walk about freely without having to call an askari (a Maasai security guard armed with a spear) to protect us from any potential wild animals. It's the first time on this trip that we've had some time to spare before dinner, and Malisa soon joins us.


There is one other group of tourists staying tonight, six people from from the US. I am horrified when I overhear them asking their guide if hunting is allowed, as they'd really like to be able to kill something. Malisa's face is a picture, and I really feel for their guide having to explain to such misinformed and misguided visitors. They are also querying the availability of public conveniences during their trip to see a hunter-gatherer tribe tomorrow. What do they think this is? Disneyland?

As they start to discuss US politics (they are all ardent Trump supporters – there's a surprise!), we try our best to ignore their conversation, which proves rather difficult due to the volume at which they speak. We have a good laugh with Malisa, however, joking about the overheard comments by Whatsapping each other across the table. Little things for little minds.


Tomato soup for starters, followed by pork medallions with creamed potato and vegetables, and finished off with a passion fruit mousse.


As always, I am impressed with the arrangements Calabash Adventures have made for us – they really are the best in their field.


Posted by Grete Howard 15:59 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds pelicans wildlife africa safari rainbow tanzania zebra birding lions baboons flooding sparrow flamingo giraffes trump ngorongoro dust starling weaver diesel bird_watching ndutu calabash calabash_adventures seneto seneto_descent_road ngorongoro_conservation_area oldupai thick_knee lions_in_a_tree sandgrouse wildlife_photography windscreen lake_eyasi red_bishop american_tourists ndutu_lodge african_animals african_birds alex_puwale animals_of_africa birds_of_africa cracked_windscreen serengeti_gate lodoare lodoare_gare museum_of_mankind kisima_ngeda trump_supporters Comments (2)

Lake Manyara: Tree Climbing Lion, Leopard -Treetop Walkway

Some great sightings in a park without high expectations

View Baby Boomers - Tanzania 2020 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Breakfast Picnic, Lake Manyara National Park

We find ourselves at a large picnic site overlooking the valley below, with several picnic tables dotted about, and thankfully no other tourists.




Last night the chef asked us what we wanted for our packed breakfast for today, and he suggested that we might like some croissants with bacon. It didn't expect three of them, plus boiled eggs and bacon, two yogurts and three bananas. We are certainly not going to starve on this trip. The croissants are, as you'd expect from an establishment such as the Kilimamoja Lodge, freshly made this morning, and were still warm when Malisa collected the boxes at 6am.


We are joined by an army of ants.


Later three cars with American tourists turn up. They are not the least bit interested in the view or other surroundings, they all want to see, feel, lift and have their photos taken with Big Bertha (my 600mm f/4 lens). It's a bit like having a puppy that everyone wants to stroke – she is certainly a talking point and a way of meeting people.

I use Bertha hand held to take this picture of elephants in the river way, way below us. With the 1.4x converter and the 7DII body, it makes an effective focal length of 1344mm. Bertha is really a bit too heavy to hand hold, so I used a 1/4000 second exposure, resulting in an ISO of 1000. Unfortunately the 7DII doesn't fare well with high ISO and the image is rather grainy as a result.



Not even Malisa and his super-skilled driving can manage to get us across this ravine where the road has been washed away as a result of recent heavy rain.


We, and the three cars behind us, have a bit of a job trying to reverse back to a place suitable for turning.

Tree-Climbing Lions

Lake Manyara National Park is supposedly famous for its tree-climbing lions. On neither of our two previous visits to the park did we see a lion, let alone one aloft any branches. Malisa hears on the radio that one has been spotted not far away, so sets off in hot pursuit.

We are not alone, and initially we can't get anywhere near the cats!


With a bit of skilful manoeuvring, however, and the goodwill of others drivers, we do eventually get to see one of the famous tree-lions of Manyara!




Under the tree we pick out two more. No, three. Actually, there are FOUR!


She doesn't look comfortable in her tree, and fidgets a lot, trying out different positions.



Neither are we. The pesky tsetse flies are irksome to say the least, and I feel like I am being eaten alive.


So, do we hang around here, hoping the lioness will jump down, or do we follow the news on the radio that there is a leopard in a tree too? We opt for the latter.


She is some distance away from the road (and my camera), and very well hidden in amongst the tree branches, making it very hard to focus. She too is unsettled.


Not long after we arrive, she starts to make her way down from the tree. We are very lucky to have got here just in time. She didn't hang around for me to get a clear photo of her.



Blue Monkey

On our way out of the park, we spot the Blue Monkey, a species that we have seen rarely on our previous safaris.




Treetop Walkway

A new treetop walkway has opened up, just a five-minute drive from the main gate, and we stop there on our way.


First we take a short walk through the woods, and our guide explain a few things along the way.

Mahogany Pod


So this is what the baboons were picking up from the floor and eating earlier.

Golden Orb Spider; a common insect in the forest

A gentle slope leads up to the first of ten platforms, and the start of the hanging rope bridges.


I start off nonchalantly, almost cocky, on the first bridge. Until it starts to sway. Considerably! Fear grips my like an iron glove and I feel myself starting to panic. Concentrating on breathing heavily, I stop and let the bridge settle down before continuing, this time much more gingerly and much less confidently.


I made it! Still shaking, only eight more bridges to go.


Even Malisa wavers a little at the swaying. To be fair, he is carrying my big camera in one hand, David's video camera in the other and his own over his shoulder.


It is the first treetop walkway in Tanzania and with a total of 370 metre,s one of the longest in Africa!



There are nine bridges and ten platforms.


By the time I get to the end of bridge number four, I have regained my confidence, and am beginning to enjoy it.


Having been on several of these in the past, I have no expectations of seeing any animals or even birds from it; I am just here to 'enjoy' the experience. I am therefore very surprised to see a couple of Blue Monkeys.



Look at the length of that tail!


The walkway’s highest point is 18 metres above the ground.


It's all downhill from now on.





Just a short walk through the woods back to the car and we'll be on our way for the third part of today's adventures. Stay tuned!


Thank you Calabash Adventures for arranging all this for us.


Posted by Grete Howard 13:12 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds wildlife elephants breakfast africa safari spider birding picnic lions flooding ants manyara leopard fear blue_monkey detour bird_watching panic lake_manyara big_bertha calabash_adventures tse_tse_flies big_cats breakfast_picnic ravine breakfast_box wildlife_photography picnic_site kilimamoja_lodge canon_600mm american_tourists tree_climbing_lions treetop_walkway canopy_walkway hanging_bridges rope_bridges manyara_treetops_walkway mahogany_pod Comments (2)

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