Day 10 - June 4th
We got up, had breakfast and packed our bags. Whilst packing our bags I saw a Hartlaub's Turaco outside, a species endemic to East Africa. We then went and loaded our bags into the jeep and set off for Arusha National Park with Hermann. All the families except one came on the trip. It took about 40 minutes to get there.
When we arrived the first area we got to was a small clearing known as the mini Serengeti, here we saw a large heard of Buffalo as well as Zebra, Warthog, Giraffe, Augur Buzzard, Egyptian Goose, Grey Heron, Sacred Ibis, Black-headed Heron. Carrying on through the forest we found several Blue Monkeys, a target species for this trip. Also we found 2 very large troops of Baboons sitting, grooming and playing in the road as well as a single Waterbuck.
Then we reached the first wetland area. Birds included Sacred Ibis, Hadada Ibis and Yellow-billed Stork. Then whilst driving around more lakes we saw White-naped Raven, Cattle Egrets, Great Egrets, African Spoonbills and many more Ibises. Mammals here were mainly Waterbuck and Buffalo with a few Giraffe and Zebra.
Then further on we found a single lake where a juvenile Black-shouldered Kite showed superbly flying around in a falcon like way terrorising the small birds. Also here we saw the most the previously mentioned mammals and birds, Red-knobbed Coot, Cape Teal and Blacksmith Plover. Then we had lunch at a picnic spot. Here we saw a Malachite Sunbird as well as a pair of Little Grebes on the lake below.
After lunch we drove through more forest, here we saw a Grey-headed Kingfisher as well as more Baboons. Then we arrived at another set of lakes, which I presume were salt lakes as there were hundreds of Lesser Flamingos. Also at least 3 Bushbuck were feeding around the edges and a marshy area had several Black-winged Stilts as well as Great and Cattle Egrets, Hadada and Sacred Ibises and Yellow-billed Storks. Then whilst driving past more flamingo filled lakes a Tawny Eagle flew over the jeep and a White-fronted Bee-eater was perched on a post.
The highlight of the drive was yet to come though. We had still not seen our second target species, another type of monkey, despite several sightings of Blue Monkeys. Then as we were driving back to the entrance gate we finally spotted a group of 6 Colobus Monkeys. They were sitting in two trees and were delightful to watch as their long tales dangled down from the branches. But we had to leave or we would miss our flight so reluctantly we left them and set off for the airport.
When we arrived we said goodbye to Hermann and to Maravit who had brought the Dalys, the family who hadn't gone to Arusha NP from the hotel. The flight went smoothly and despite a few delays we arrived in Adis Ababa in the evening. However here the delays we really bad and we were stuck in the airport until past midnight. Then finally, tired, exhausted and relieved we got on the plane and left for England....