FYI 99% of all the photos were taken by my wife so all photo compliments belong to her
She used a Sony alpha 6000 and switched between a 35mm Zeiss and the 70-200mm Sony G Series telephoto lens, typically with a 2x teleconverter attached.
Ok so we arrived at Arusha Coffee Lodge which was meh but basically required since we couldn't get anywhere else before sundown and the travel agencies seem to prefer we travel during the day. The next morning we met our tour guide/driver for the next week, Mohamed. We quickly set out to our first animal spot: Lake Manyara.
Young baboons hitch rides on their moms. The youngest will ride underneath the mom while the older ones will ride on top of their moms.
Baboons with some antelopes. Notice the female in heat in the bottom left.
Classic African photo!
Baboons hanging out on a termite hill. There are just an untold number of termite hills throughout all the national parks. You'll often see animals hanging out on top of them, especially in the flat plans in certain areas in the Serengeti. They use the hills as lookout points to search for predators or prey.
Their ducks are better looking than our ducks.
We got super lucky to see this family of hippos out of the water in the middle of the day. Typically hippos stay in the water throughout the entire day and come out only at night to graze in the grass for food.
Don't remember the name of these birds...
Crowned Crane. Beautiful unique looking bird that you see pretty regularly
Giraffes! This was my wife's favorite animal. I loved watching them move at a distance. They sort of just flow across the savannah.
nom nom nom
First sighting of the Big Five Game. We find this guy eating solo deep in the forest.
I could watch monkeys all day. The way they interact is so human like. Well I guess that's why we spent a few days in Rwanda doing just that
African Blue Monkey. Kinda hard to spot since they blended in pretty well.
Ok so that was basically it for Lake Manyara. It was a great introduction to the animals. It definitely got us excited about what was to come but just didn't compare to any of the other parks.
On the way to the lake our guide had mentioned that there was a market for the Maasai tribe taking place that day that only occurred once a month. Since we were were on a private guided safari we took advantage of the flexibility and asked him to show us around the market.
First a bit about the Maasai people. They're a semi-nomadic tribe of hundreds of thousands of people in Tanzania and Kenya. They've been around the area for hundreds of years and some people claim they originally came from the Middle East. They perform circumcision on males at age 15 to about 20, depending on which cycle a male has been assigned to. During the actual circumcision the male must not even flinch while the process is occurring. Oh and they don't use any anesthesia. Unfortunately some still practice FGM though they do receive strong pressure to drop that custom. They are mostly cattle herders and don't use any electricity. There's lots more info about them but it could honestly be a post on its own.
Maasai people will wear distinct deep colored clothes (usually red) as seen in this photo.
A group of people drinking Banana Beer. I hesitated to try it because of fear of drinking their unfiltered water. I would not have wanted to get a stomach virus this early on in the trip.
The Maasai people believe they are direct descendants of one of three of God's sons, the shepherd. Therefore, all Maasai males carry a stick around with them. They also believe that all cattle belong to them, so if they come across a non Maasai person's cattle they don't believe it's stealing to take the cattle since they see it as simply reclaiming the cattle that belongs to them.
Since they only herd animals for livelihoods, they get everything else via trade, including their clothes.
Gotta love that color contrast!
Seen here are the Maasai sandals. If you would pick one up and turn it over you would quickly notice that it has tire tread marks. That's because all Maasai wear sandals made out of cut down motorbike tires. And it's not like they do it for recycling reasons, a good Maasai sandal will come from a brand new tire recently cut down to size.
After we left the market we drove past this sign on the road. Gotta love it.