Sunday, March 9, 2014 – Safari in Lake Manyara National Park

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Today was a wonderful day. It had nothing to do with the fact it was my birthday (as I am unfortunately away from my family), but rather I am somewhere that I have come to love as a second home and doing something that I think is meaningful and helpful to others and enjoying every minute of every day doing it. And while having all of that I am still able to get away and do several things that I also truly love – to drive on my own in East Africa, the cradle of humanity, and to take a group of friends on safari with me as their driver/guide to one of the most beautiful parks in Northern Tanzania.

We got up very early so we could get to the park, but stopped by the hospital to see our young seizure patient only to find him having another seizure. We had to give him some more valium and reeducate the nurses as to what a non-convulsant seizure looks like and to treat it with diazepam.

The weather for our safari was awesome. Not a cloud in the sky until the end of the day. We got through the gate at about 7:30 am and I think we were probably the first vehicle in other than the few tourists who had stayed at one of the two pricey resorts within the park. We immediately saw tons of monkeys – baboons, blue and vervet. They were just about everywhere and lots of little babies since this is the right time for them. We even saw a large group of blue and vervet youngsters playing together which is something none of had ever seen before. There were large herds of Cape buffalo, zebra and wildebeest and we got a good view of some hippos and their babies albeit from a distance (not nearly as close a view as Danielle and I had last March in the Crater).

Then as we came around a turn there was a large female lion just walking right in our view and I think we all screamed. She walked into some bushes and we drove forward a bit but couldn’t find her. Just about that time another vehicle came from the other direction as we were backing up to the original spot and we told them what we saw. We looked for her once again and then went back again to the original spot and the other vehicle had spotted the pride sitting under some trees. There were eight in all and three of them were larger cubs! We sat and watched them mostly sleeping for quite a while. We came back later in the day but they had moved to another location by then.

We eventually saw a number of elephants and giraffe along with many herds of impala, both harems and the bachelor herds. Lots and lots of birds which made Megan quite happy as she is definitely a bird person having a cockatoo at home as a pet. The large hornbills were fabulous.

We eventually left the park at 5:30 – ten full hours of safari!

The young boy in the ward had three seizures during the day which broke with valium and we’ll reassess him today. In between his seizures he’s awake and normal. We’ll have to get him under control soon.

Love,

Mike

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