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1st Stopover: Mto Wa Mbu Town Tour
From your Camp/Lodge head to Mto Wa Mbu Town which is loosely translated as Mosquito Creek nestled in a fertile Rift Valley spreading out from the base of Escarpment and bordering Lake Manyara National Park. Spend some moments by walking into the market where by local vendors selling everything and a good place to stop for Red Banana. Depart from the Mto Wa Mbu town, the road which is lined with boutique for arts and craft.
2nd Stopover: Engaruka Ruins
From Mto Wa Mbu via Kingongoni junction, take the rough road but fairly easy to reach Engaruka Village. From Selela come across to an Oasis village called Engaruka; part of the village has green vegetation throughout the year because of being just below the Rift Wall where a stream pours down from the Ngorongoro highlands Escarpments. Learn the history of Engaruka by visiting the Engaruka ruins which date back about 500 years. Also Engaruka harbors a number of bird’s species such as Abdim’s storks (Ciconia Abdimii), Somali Bunting (Emberiza Polioplura), Pink breasted Lark Mirafra Poecilosterna and Red-faced Apalis (Apalis Nefifrons).
3rd Stopover: Ngaresero Village
Between Engaruka village and the Lake, the road is difficult and unmarked where it crosses the dusty plains below Mount Oldonyo Lengai. Around noon, you reach the Active volcanic Oldonyo Lengai (Mountain of God in Maasai Language). Drive through big valleys with temporary rivers from the rains and reach the Ngaresero village which is means a river that vanishes into thick forests. You will have your picnic lunch but don’t miss the grilled goat meat which is very delicious at the Ngaresero on your way to Lake Natron. Pass through thick forest of predominantly acacia and fig trees with magnificent scenery and hear voices of birds such as African Black- headed Oriole, Square- tailed Drongo and several voices of different species of forest doves. Suddenly, you come out of dense forest and the view is astonishingly beautiful. You will see the white- and blue- Lake blanketed with enormous flocks of birds, the lesser flamingos.
4th Stopover: Lake Natron
Lake Natron is a shallow soda-lake in a closed basin on the floor of the Eastern Rift Valley and extends 58 km south from the Northern Frontier. There are considerable seasonal fluctuations in surface area of the Lake between the middle of the dry season (November- December) and the end of rains (May). The surrounding land is dry bush dominated by acacia thorn-tree and inhabited by pastoralist Maasai.
The Lake is the most significant and regular breeding site for the majority of the World’s population of the Lesser flamingo (Phoenicoptens minor). The Lake also seasonally holds significant number of other water-birds such as Greater flamingos (Phoenicoptens ruber), Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellas), the Chestnut- banded plover (Charadris Padidus), and the little Stint (Calidris minuta). The flat land isolated from the shore like small Islands being the place where the flamingos breeds, have deep enough water to prevent access by predators like baboons.
In the evening, touch the water of the Lake and take as many photographs as possible and do not forget to take some stones to carry home as souvenirs of your visit, leave this wilderness environment to your camp/lodge in Lake Manyara.
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