Book ID 805
Easton, Emmett R. Field Trip To Lake Eyasi, Northern Tanzania, 1975
Extract Author: Emmett R. Easton
Extract Date: 25July1975
We left Mwanza (25July1975) around 1000 hrs traveling southeast through Maswa town (formerly Shanwa) and Lalago stopping at Ndoloji Catholic mission (19 mi. S.of Kishapu).There was a driving ban in Tanzania at this time after 1400 hours so we spent the night at the Catholic mission. The next day three clergy- men (K.Thesing, Father Ohmann. Brother John) and myself left in two four-wheel drive landrovers at 0800 hours taking a track southeast through Somagedi.
We crossed over the dry Sanga river at Mwabuso into Maswa district and after Latta crossed more dry rivers. After passing a cattle market at Mwanymomba a fork in the road is reached. The right fork takes you to the southern edge of the lake north of the Limbita river where a small number of people were mining salt.The left fork proceeds on towards the escarpment (Rift valley wall) ending before the Lukale river which is also dry at this time. At the point where the Lukale river reaches the bottom of the escarpement there are 3 separate rock lined pools of water known as the Limbita tanks used formerly for irrigation purposes but the spoor of baboons was the only indication of present usage.
We took the right fork to visit the salt workings and then found a less used track working our way around the lake shore until we located the gorge where the Lukale river cuts through the excarpment. We arrived at this point around 1230 hours.
I would recommend that people wishing to vist lake and salt workings take the right fork as there is no track running between the lake and Limbita tanks which required us to drive across open country through Acacia bush.
The route in from Ndololeji is not passable during the rainy season (March-June) due to the lack of bridges over the river beds and during the rains travel would be difficult along the lake shore. During the dry season (July-Sept) one can drive along the edge of the lake in a landrover throughout its length, being careful not to venture too close to the center were the moist bottom would cause problems (not recommended for saloon cars). At the northern edge of the lake we noticed a flock of 100 lesser flamingoes and one saddlebill stork. Other forms of wildlife were abundant despite lack of grassy vegetation.
All the Wataturu people had left the area taking their livestock to regions where grass is available. We saw what appeared to be a resident herd of wildebeast, and zebra. We also observed 22 giraffe, a herd of Thomson's gazelle and a number of dik-dik antelopes.The Kori bustards(2) were seen as well as a species of guinea fowl most like the crested and the grey-breasted spurfowl.
After making camp and spending the night in a clearing between the lake shore and the escarpment we awoke at dawn to the chattering of Fischer's love birds and a small number of Rufous tailed weavers seen leaving their grass ball- like nests in the Acacias nearby,We drove to the Limbita tanks and noticed several nests of the Egyptian vulture in mostly inaccessible areas (except for one site on the left side of the Sibiti river,) overlooking the sheer escarpment above the tanks.
Leaving the area around 1600 hours we arrived back at the mission station around 2000hours (Ndololeji).