Lvg Nairobi via shuttle(we were picked up at our hotel and taken to shuttle, which happened to be the bus that picked us up!), there were 7 of us on the bus with capacity for 28...2 S. Koreans(guy & gal), guy a civil engineer who had quit his job, gal a writer travelling for 45 days in Africa 6 days climbing Kilimanjaro(5892 m. high) and then on to Dar es Salaam where they meet up w/ tour group to continue to S. Africa. Also 2 Thomasite Christian Nuns form India and the 3 of us on the bus.
Heading S. lots of construction, urban sprawl, highway under reconstruction...flat plains, lots of traffic, mostly transport/industrial haulers heading towards Nairobi. We passed the largest portland cement plant in Africa and large herds of cattle in between and along the roadway grazing.
After an hour of driving (9am) we got to agricultural lands which are expanding into the savanah w/ tree farms, tea plantations, corn fields, large produce plots, grazing livestock, greenhouse operations & wire fences. Water must be from wells since there is no evidence of surface water(surrounding country is dry w/ low growing acacia & brown grasses). Further S. land becomes more green, vegitation more abundant (3'-10' high). Tea is Kenya's largest export commodity.
Two hours from Nairobi we reached rolling hills & mtn. foothills, road is progressively worse w/ potholes/rough patched and now no fences. Saw a few waterholes where lg. populations of livestock & herders were gathered. Also saw more bags of charcoal along the road for sale & denser stands of acacia.
Kenya is 80% Christian, similar to Ghana but not as intense, in-your-face, tho still God sayings abound on transport vehicles(minivans/taxis). Rural housing usually is corrugated tin siding & roofs, the 'wealthy' use cement block.
Crossing into Tanzania suddenly countryside is very lush/green. Maasai huts are both round and rectangular made of stick sides, horizontal ie parallel to ground attached to poles and filled in with cow dung(lathe and plaster style). Grass over poles makes the roof and their compounds are totally surrounded with brush/stick fences. As we drive S. acacia are 15-25' tall and in closer proximity to one another. Passing Mt. Maru the base all round spreading out in all directions are fields of corn and wide expansive pastures...great amount of agriculture but no fences.
Agave lines roads, many/most just now blooming w/ their tall, tree-like spikes & flower branches-they look like giant fences which is exactly the function they serve!
We arrived in Arusha at 1pm...the town is surrounded by many hills & is built upon them. Roads in Tanzania are better in this area(no potholes). We meet our guide, Moses, & cook, Kefis. Lvg. Arusha at 4pm fields of coffee ie plantations everywhere. We are unable to go on late afternoon safari in Lk Manyara!!!
THE PARK: Quite green w/ many acacia, the dominant feature here is the lake which supports huge #s of greater & lesser flamingos. We went to the hot springs where we saw them from afar covering large areas of the lake. Also unique was the leopard tortoise we spotted, about the size of a small dog.