Just back from a week in Arusha as a guest of NECTA - the National Examinations Council for Tanzania. This follows some work I did for them reviewing papers, my boss knows their boss is how it came about. In fact, Stephen referred to it in his guest blog post - that was the reason we went to Kunduchi Beach Resort, as that was where the reviewing was going on. Wonderful to meet so many people across Africa, and also some people from the UK, I hadn't previously realised that examination security in Africa, eg. special envelopes which show if they have been tampered with, and certificates which are disproportionately difficult and expensive to copy accurately, is largely in the hands of British firms.
It is, of course, essential that such a conference includes a day out. Having previously been to Arusha National Park, written up in this post, I chose Manyara Lake, again a national park with a large lake in the middle. Some distance from Arusha along roads which are somewhat variable in quality, In the park itself it was necessary mostly to stay in the bus on tracks which at times really needed a 4x4 - you'll appreciate this made things somewhat hair-raising (any jokes about not having enough hair left to raise will have to be funnier than anything I can think of....)
Hadn't quite realised how spoiled I'd been at Arusha National Park in being in a 4x4 with a roof that raises, but we did see elephants this time, both in the park and also, quite amazingly, from the road going back.
But the highlight of the day was undoubtedly seeing two lionesses up a tree, quite amazing to be 3 metres away staring eyeball to eyeball. This memory will need to live on in my heart because, as you can see, the photographic evidence is truly appalling, I'm almost too embarrassed to include it here, but here goes!
So, I’ll not be waiting by the ‘phone for a commission from National Geographic. Anyway, one of the attractions at Manyara is the hot spring, the photo here is better but you have to take my word for it that it really is hot, really can’t leave your finger in for very long at all to test:
This picture perhaps make the point better:
A couple more pictures of the place:
So an interesting day out. To be honest, not the ‘wow’ factor of the Arusha National Park visit, but that was a bit special. And seeing elephants and the lioness was a bit amazing. Which reminds me, I owe George, the winner of the competition I set up after the previous visit, an apology. In correspondence he talked about lions climbing trees and I replied that I didn’t think they did. Well, sorry George, you were right and I was wrong, lions – or at least lionesses – certainly do climb trees, I’ve now seen this with my own eyes!
One more week now before some leave, not that I’m counting the days (or hours). I’ll be back soon!