Written by: Don Pinnock. Lake Manyara is a Jurassic time machine.
The high groundwater forest shook loose ancient cellular memories of a time when we called the great tropical African forests home.
A velociraptor seemed a distinct possibility, but instead we encountered a family of olive baboons preening each other in beguiling sociability.
Babies bounced around languid mothers and large males yawned, exposing startlingly large canines. Water was pouring down the Rift wall, pushing aside huge trees and boulders and weaving across a grassy skirt into the lake.
Buffalos lounged on the grasslands and frowned at us as we passed. Along the shore giraffes were curled up on the sand, their necks sticking up like telephone poles. First time I’ve ever seen them lying down. Beyond them the lake was tinged pink with flamingos.
We ate lunch watching some hippos doing absolutely nothing and listening to a cacophony of birdsong – 365 species have been logged around the lake.