“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving”.
After saying good bye to our new friends from Panorama, most of them travelling with tour operators and mobile camps, we left for the very nearby park entrance gate. Most of these people were Americans and many were their queries about our vehicle, the dangers and the planning involved in our trip. Perhaps we have a few self-drive converts.
It was very difficult at Manyara Entrance Gate sorting out which of the camps were special campsites and what public campsite choices were available. I knew we wanted Endabash but managed to half-establish that there are 2 other public campsites, both near the gate. One I think is called after the nearby picnic site, Msasa. There are a number of special campsites, but according to all reports these are really not necessary as you are very likely to be alone at Endabash and this proved to be the case. The northern area of the park near the entrance is rather busy with game drive vehicle day trippers but as we drove south to the hot springs and the picnic site and flamingo viewing “jetty” there, they diminished. We are both thoroughly enjoying this small but beautiful park.
Obviously the soda lake makes up much of the park’s surface. Initially you drive through lovely forest and here we saw a great specimen of a black mamba climbing down a tree. I enjoyed seeing silvery-cheeked hornbills for the first time as well as the rare blue monkey again. Thereafter the drive is between the lakeshore to the east and the impressive looming escarpment to the west. As expected being dry season, the lake waters had receded considerably and the closest one could get to the large wading flocks of flamingo, was about 500m, most actually far further away. Nonetheless this was our first ever sight of flamingos en mass and it was most impressive. General game viewing was good with decent herds of plains animals. We thoroughly enjoyed exploring this park with an environment completely new to us. Be warned however, there are areas with tse tses but not really in the campsite.
Endabash Campsite is well signposted and mapped, it is only about 15km from the entrance gate if you take the most direct route, but further if you take all the recommended loops. There are a number of scenic picnic sites, those closest to the gate, the busiest. This is only a small park so there is no opportunity for wide ranging game drives, but we did not drive as far south as the newly added Marang Forest. The Endabash Campsite is amongst fairly thick trees but with a dry river bed on one side. There was no sign of a single soul. Just beware though that under the larger trees are substantial amounts of baboon excrement and we avoided camping under these roosting sites. It is a moderately sized site and could accommodate 2 largish groups. There are flush toilets and cold showers in good condition. We loved the isolation as we were once again alone in camp. I think we made the correct decision to spend one, not two, nights in this park.
However we did meet a very friendly young man Wayne J. from Johannesburg, travelling on his own. I am sure we will cross paths again and look forward to doing so! We were able to exchange notes as to our future plans and past exploits. (We were in fact to team up with Wayne for substantial parts of the trip, including the Lake Turkana leg. He is a great young man and was really great value).
• Entry Fee US$45 pppd.
• Camping Fee US$30 pppd.
• Vehicle Fee US$40 pd.
• They run a 24hr clock system and you can pay with Mastercard or Visa.