- Hot showers: 0 (back in camp)
With extreme reluctance and many longing glances backward, we leave Manyara. Several of us make a final run to visit plumbing. Surely there is no sound so wonderful as "flush".
The road to Tarangire starts out non-existant, passing through graded dirt, gravel, and finally reaching actual asphalt. It is astonishing to see a road that actually looks like a road, with a yellow line in the middle and everything. There is actual traffic (of a non-bovine variety), and we were able to travel easily 60 kph. It felt like being on the Mass Pike.
On the way to Arusha, our LandCruiser came into unfortunate contact with a Maasai sheep. It was small and therefore was indistinguishable from the smaller potholes in the road. We weren't able to confirm that the sheep was permanently injured, but we do suspect that mutton will be served in the manyata.
The temperature is much higher at lower altitudes, which has both advantages and disadvantages. In the advantages column, we now hope to get to sleep without wearing the entire contents of our duffels. On the downside, we now encounter tsetse flies. These rather large flies abound near zebras, but seem uninterested in unstriped prey. I confirm the lack of clear color boundaries in my own clothing.
Our camp is located at Buffalo Pool, just under Leopard Rock. While it seems very sensible for a leopard to perch on a rock near a buffalo wallow, one must hope that the camp is not between the two groups. I confirm lack of buffalo characteristics in my own clothing. We are told as we enter camp that the "leopard" of several days ago was actually a serval. I feel vindicated, but manage to contain my triumphant reaction slightly. I feel this is particularly noble, as we are back to pits.
At dinner, we learn that hyenas have been spotted near the camp. The servers come in to the dinner tent, telling us about how the cook had to scare them off from the soup. The tone used is much the one that US housewives would use to complain about ants or helpful husbands -- annoyed, but not concerned. "Sigh, hyenas again."
Those of us from places were hyenas rarely raid the garbage were regaled with stories of hyenas chomping down soap-on-a-rope and carrying off shoes. We were advised to empty our washbasins after we went to sleep, as to hyenas they seem to be very conveniently placed water bowls. Several of us perform an emergency rescue operation, gathering soap and emptying washbasins in the darkness. The noise we make as we crash through the underbrush, waving our flashlights madly and calling out to each other, surely drove away every wild animal in the country. Fortunately, the only laughter we hear comes from other humans. We return triumphantly to the dinner table, clutching our soap proudly.
Later we sit around the campfire, shining bright lights on Leopard Rock, hoping to spy a rock hyrax or two. We can hear them, but they are too smart to pose for the bright lights. As we go to sleep, our precious bars of Dial and Clinique remain safely stashed inside our tents. We leave the tent flap open, hoping for a visit from leopards or hyenas, but no such luck. Steve suggests tying a dik-dik to a tree in the middle of the camp the next night.