It might seem odd to visit a cemetery, but they are often very beautiful, historic, and tranquil, which Oak Hill Cemetery certainly is. In fact, more than 200,000 people visit this particular historic cemetery on an annual basis and it is even possible to get a tour. We simply enjoyed walking the paths that led us amongst the tomb stones, mausoleums, and tree lined hills. It was a beautiful day and the autumn foliage made it even more wonderful to see. There was only one issue with our visit, we didn’t notice a sign at the entrance that stated that the cemetery closed at 4:30 pm and we ended up being there until 5:00 pm, so we got locked in the cemetery.
When we arrived back at the gate, we were surprised to see it chained up and locked. The fence around the cemetery is very high and not something that can easily be scaled, so great for keeping people out or, in our case, people in. The caretaker’s house is located at the gate, but there is no guarantee that they would be there, but fortunately for us, he was. He was pleasant enough and we probably weren’t the first people to get locked in, but it was embarrassing. Far better to feel a little bit of chagrin than to spend a night in a cemetery with graves that date back hundreds of years.
In addition to the graveyard and trails, there is also the Renwick Chapel in the cemetery. It was designed by the same person who designed the famous Smithsonian Castle, James Renwick. If you do decide to visit the cemetery and are a history buff, you can visit their website, The Oak Hill Cemetery – Washington, D.C. (oakhillcemeterydc.org) to get a map and a list of notable figures from history who are buried there. We’d also recommend that you make note of the current hours in order to avoid getting locked inside.
After enjoying a day and a half in Amboseli National Park in Kenya, we made our way to the border of Tanzania where we were to change guides and take a COVID Antigen test in order to gain entry into Tanzania. The cost of the test was just $25 US dollars per person and only took about 20 minutes, but the border customs process at the border was not particular easy to understand or follow. So, in all, it took us about an hour to get through the border checks and make our way into Tanzania where we met our guide, Shabani, for this part of the safari. We made our way to Lake Manyara National Park to spend several hours in the park before going to our lodging for the night.
Lake Manyara is the seventh largest lake in Tanzania and is known not just for the wildlife and famous tree-climbing lions, but also for the fish that is found in the lake. The scenery of Lake Manyara National Park couldn’t be more different than that of Amboseli and shows the diversity of different ecosystems that exist in East Africa. We entered the park late in the afternoon, so we only had a couple of hours and the it was getting dark before we exited to go to our lodge. We were immediately greeted by a large number of baboons as we started along the road that winds its way through the park, but we knew from our guide that seeing wildlife in the Lake Manyara National Park isn’t easy as they hide in the lush foliage of the forest that is the park. In fact, we passed another Land Cruiser exiting the park as we entered that had not seen any animals during their visit.
We were a little more fortunate as we saw giraffes, zebras, elephants, as well as a monitor lizard and a king fisher bird eating a crab. This, however, was the first time using our new manual telephoto lens and it would be the first lesson on using it in low light conditions. We would master the lens within the next couple of days, but it was definitely learning on the job, so to speak. We were quite content with seeing what we saw, including the amazing landscapes that included the enormous lake.
Our accommodations for the evening at the Pamoja Africa Lodge were quite different from the tent and camp that we’d spent our first two nights in, but we would be back to tents very soon. The landscaping of the property was quite nice and the owners believe in self-sustenance, so they grew their own herbs and vegetables for the meals right on the property. It made for quite a relaxing evening before our adventure would continue the following morning and our next day would once again be something completely different.