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Update from Manyara Ranch Conservancy

The rains have set in, but there is plenty of action on the Conservancy. Elephants are around every corner and a large number of bull herds have been sighted. Excitingly, a recent walking safari was fortunate enough to encounter over 120 eland. The calls of the camp lions have been heard by staff nearly every night. The three lion clubs are looking big and strong, with one male cub developing a lot quicker then his siblings. Our own migration is also occurring on the Conservancy. Hundreds of wildebeest are calving and guests have sighted large numbers of newborn calves.

Elephant Rescue on the Ranch

It was all hands on deck last week when an injured bull elephant was discovered near camp. In need of urgent attention camp staff called for Dr Chuma from neighboring Tarangire National Park. With the support from camp staff and the Ranch’s anti-poaching team, the elephant was successfully darted. Dr Chuma identified the injury as an old snare wound that had worsened over time. The team worked quickly to administer long lasting antibiotics and cleaned the wound to prevent further infection. Thirteen minutes later, the elephant woke and was reunited with the rest of his herd. The Conservancy would like to thank Dr Chuma, the anti-poaching team and camp staff for all their help and team-work.

Dr Chuma treating the elephant's wound

Productive Night Drives

Night drives are one of our feature activities and one that has been very productive so far. Two nights ago, our 5 guests continued on a night drive after enjoying a bush sundowner only to come across a cheetah with an impala kill just 800 yards from camp. It’s not the first time we see cheetah at night. In June we took a film group on a night drive who filmed an ostrich being killed by cheetah a little further from camp. We know there are 3 male cheetah that specialize in hunting ostrich on the Conservancy – already a rarity in itself, but we are now believe there are other single cheetah in the area. We will be collecting photos of the cats to determine how many live in the area and so are pleased that we managed to get  some good shots, some of which appear below.

Cheetah on a night drive

Manyara Ranch Cheetah at night

Cheetah at night

Night drives on Manyara Ranch

Filming with the African Wildlife Foundation

This past weekend, Craig Sholley and John Butler, both from the African Wildlife Foundation’s Washington offices, visited the Conservancy for 4 nights. They collected footage for AWF’s 50th anniversary which will include a piece on the importance of Manyara Ranch Conservancy and the cooperation with nearby National Parks. We also had guests in camp and so they obtained some good footage of our tented camp camp, the environment and wildlife in the area. One particularly good scene was a family herd of elephant crossing over the open plains from Tarangire just before sunset which I have included below as I think they are rather good.

Viewing elephants on Manyara Ranch Conservancy

Late afternoon game drive

Elephants at sunset on Manyara Ranch Conservancy

Elephants at Sunset

During the stay, we had visits from the Tanzania AWF and TLCT management who were also interviewed for the film, not to mention the Park wardens of Tarangire and Manyara National Parks between which the Conservancy is situated and therefore positively impacts both areas.

We look forward to seeing the final film which should be released later this year.

Bird Check List

Dr. Colin Beale from the University of York (UK), visited Manyara Ranch during three days at the end of July to explore birdlife in the area. Dr. Beale is carrying out research into the changing distributions of many savannah bird species as part of an EU funded project looking for impacts of climate change on savannah habitats. As well as searching out nesting colonies of weavers, he started compiling a checklist of birds of Manyara Ranch to help visitors appreciate the diversity of birdlife in this area.

Three days of walking and driving resulted in a total of a little over 170 bird species, including a number rarely seen on the northern safari circuit. A total of well over 300 species is likely for the ranch, so there are many still to find as migrant birds from further afield join the resident crowds. Dr. Beale will be back to bring the bird list up to date.

Download the latest Bird List (150KB PDF File)

Lions move in

A pride of lions are making regular night-time appearances in camp after visiting the waterhole situated a hundred yards in front of the dining tent. They seem very happy with the presence of Zebra, Wildebeest and other game that now hang out by the camp. Chris our camp manager, says there are 4 lions in this particular pride, with another pride of 6 about a mile away where the lodge will be built.

Bernard Kissui who studies lion in the Tarangire ecosystem, is a frequent visitor to the Conservancy and has been monitoring lion in the area over several years. He will be particularly encouraged by this news and the presence of another pride of 22 lion that Chris encountered within the conservancy about 10 days back. Their presence is a sure sign of the rapid recovery of wildlife in the area.

Wild Dog Sightings

Once an area where wildlife feared to venture, Manyara Ranch Conservancy is now a haven, with many species taking up permanent residency. Surveys conducted in 2004 revealed a number of wild dogs denning in the conservancy, and today we continue to sight this rare and vanishing species of East Africa.

Recently, six dogs were sited in an area deep inside the conservancy. With the help of AWF, game scouts continually protect and monitor the Manyara Ranch Conservancy allowing the conservation of endangered wildlife and their habitat.

AWF & TLCT Partnership

The pioneering Tanzania Land Conservation Trust (TLCT) is an initiative led by the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), in response to the potential threat of the Manyara Ranch privatization in 1998.

AWF led the process where a task force chaired by Monduli District Commissioner was encouraged to develop land conservation trust that would be used to acquire and manage the ranch.

Today, the TLCT board is made up from the following members allowing for a diversity of ideas to flow through.

  • AWF (African Wildlife Foundation)
  • TANAPA (Tanzania National Parks)
  • Tanzania’s Wildlife Department
  • Monduli District Council
  • UNDP – GEF (Global Environment Fund)
  • WWF (World Wildlife Fund for Nature)
  • The local community

The object of the trust is to promote the nature preservation and conservation and economic activities compatible with conservation for the benefit and trust of present and future generations throughout Tanzania. The trust also aims to support local community development. A local steering committee, whose memberships include representatives of the local community, serves as an advisory board and effectively links the community with the ranch management.

Today, despite many challenges, the Trust has produced several positive results including: averting cultivation and fencing off of the Manyara Ranch area, extensive and progressive community consultation, improved security of the corridor and consequently an increase in wildlife numbers, improved services for communities services, which includes a new school and support to their livestock production activities, and lastly, great interest in the new Manyara Ranch Conservancy tourism enterprise.

Luxury Tented Camp Opened

Manyara Ranch Conservancy is excited to announce the opening of our East African style luxury tented camp, located only an hour’s drive from Arusha. Guests can enjoy a romantic bush setting, delectable bush cuisine, and a warm and hospitable service – set within 35,000 acres of exclusive and private wilderness.

Benefit from an authentic safari experience with all the modern luxuries such as a comfortable double bed, ensuite bathroom, hot shower and a flushing toilet. Each tent also has a private viewing deck allowing guests to enjoy a morning cup of coffee with a panoramic view onto the surrounding plains.

A spacious tented guest lounge has been designed for those lazy afternoon or pre-dinner drinks, while guests’ will be attended to by our hospitable staff.  The infamous and cherished sundowner can be taken at a variety of stunning locations around the ranch. Guests will return to camp to dine underneath the stars, and to fulfill their appetite with delectable bush cuisine.

Exciting outdoor adventures with a conservation focus augment the purpose of the Manyara Ranch Conservancy. Many activities leave the vehicle behind and are substituted with the by foot approach. For more information on our activities, click here.

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