baboons grooming on termite mound

Lake Manyara

The first stop on our safari was Lake Manyara National Park.  Lake Manyara is an alkaline lake — so alkaline that most animals can’t drink the water.  Instead, they drink from streams flowing into the lake.  In the national park, our land cruisers had to stay on the road.

Baboons are social animals.  They spend a lot of time grooming each other, checking for fleas and ticks.  They’re sitting on a termite mound.

baboons grooming on termite mound
Hold still!
Home sweet home

Lions of Lake Manyara can climb trees.  Look for the tail and legs hanging from a tree branch.

first lion in tree
First lion in tree

Our car moved ahead, and we saw the lion’s tail.

First lion with tail showing

As more cars left, we were able to move forward again.  Now we could see there were three lions in the tree!

three lions in tree
Three lions in tree

It’s not known why these lions climb trees.  Tree-climbing lions are rare — almost always female, and limited to a few regions of Africa.  Climbing trees can be difficult, especially turning around with four feet to get down!  Falling from a tree could cause injury, hampering the lion’s ability to run down prey and and get food.

Lake Manyara is home for hundreds of kinds of birds.  This superb starling sprawled out on the ground next to our picnic table at lunch, so we could admire its superb, iridescent feathers.

superb starling on display
Superb starling on display
Silvery-cheeked hornbill
Silvery-cheeked hornbill
African fish eagle
African fish eagle

Finally, we visited the hippo pool. There are four hippos in view: the large one on the right, a smaller hippo next to the large one, a pair of ears showing, and a pair of eyes showing.  Hippos look very relaxed, but they can be dangerous.  In Africa, more people are killed by hippos than any other animal.

hippo pool
Hippos listening to the tourists

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I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

5 thoughts on “Lake Manyara”

  1. You get some great shots – I’m a big believer in equipment only taking you so far with your images ( for example my husband is much more talented with his camera than I am with the same piece of kit! )

    Beautiful shots. We got some giraffe shots here that looked like something from a Dali picture, and saw a black mamba.


  2. Thank you. We used a 100 – 400 mm telephoto lens, and you need the long reach for most photos. I practiced taking pictures of hummingbirds in the backyard before the trip. A most humbling experience, I have to say. I found so many ways to mess up a picture.

    I really liked your Uganda gorilla pictures and posts. Felt like I was kind of there. I’m happy to not be seen by a black mamba. 😉


    1. He cleared a path pretty quick thankfully! It was a work trip so sadly we were hurtling along at 50mph to get to our next stop – good thing he was a quick mover!

      Only snake we’ve seen in Africa – despite G hunting high and low for them in Uganda!


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