LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK TANZANIA
Lake Manyara National Park is located about 2 hours drive east from Tanzania’s safari town of Arusha. It is regarded as Tanzania’s smallest national park covering 318sq km. about 60% of the entire park is covered by Lake Manyara, a salty water lake that is 200km, surrounded by the Gregory rift from the Great Rift Valley western escarpment.
Right from the park gate, the park route goes through an expanse of abundant forest jungles, vast plains as well as floodplain with vast scenery over the alkaline Soda lake of Manyara and then blue volcanic highs that rise out of undulating Masaai steppes. Manyara is somewhere that the scenery and the dramatic setting are as much part of the experience as the game viewing.
Much of the park is covered by quite thick acacia woodland and so you need to drive slowly. In the northern section there are a number of clear streams, which flow from the porous rock at the base of the rift wall, whilst further south where the rock is impervious, waterfalls cascade down the escarpment face during the rainy season.
Lake Manyara Safari
The Park is best known for its tree-climbing lions and the elephant population that was studied by Iain Douglas Hamilton in the 60’s. Your chances of seeing elephant here are very good and as they are quite used to vehicles in this Park you will usually get very close. When it comes to lion, well – there are lions here and they are often seen, but not usually sitting in trees! There are quite a few places around East Africa where lions do climb trees (Selous, Katavi, Lake Nakuru, Queen Elizabeth and more) so the reason that Manyara is famed for them is just one of those odd things.
In addition to lion and elephant, Lake Manyara’s terrain is so varied that it is home to a diverse range of animal species and with a bit of luck you will see herds of buffalo, giraffe, zebra, hippos and perhaps leopard. The other up side to this park is the setting in which you see the game – it is spectacular. Back dropped by the rugged 2000ft escarpment, fringed by the green grass of the lakeshore and mirrored in the magnificent soda lake.
The corridor of acacia trees and shrubs is home to your renowned tree climbing lions, enormous tusked elephants, bushbucks, giraffes, zebras, buffalos, leopards, hornbills and more. Some klipspringer antelopes are often viewed by the rocky outcrops above an area of searing hot springs that gust next to the lakeshore from the southern end by the park.
Bird life in Lake Manyara Tanzania‘s varied habitats is also impressive and over 300 species have been recorded here. Like the other Rift Valley lakes, Lake Manyara’s water is alkaline and greater and lesser flamingo thrive on the algae. Bee eaters, crown eagles, heron, spines, Pink backed pelicans and yellow billed storks nest in one of the largest colonies of its type in East Africa at the northern end of the lake, which explains the foul smell as you approach from the village of Mto Wa Umbu.
Best time to visit
The park is just 120km from Arusha town driving 2 hours on a tarmac road west through the town of Mto Wa Mbu. The dry season starting from July until October draws in several herds of animals to the lake for some water, affording far better sights on game making it the best time to visit. The rains are in November until June bringing in great bird watching moments on canoe rides across the lake.
Lake Manyara Accommodation
Lake Manyara Camps and lodges are available around the park entrance near the town of Mto wa Mbu. There is a luxury tented camp from Kirumu Tented camp and other Lake Manyara camps Eunto retreat safari camp, Lake Manyara Serena safari Lodge, Lake Manyara view Lodge and Lake Manyara tree lodge set high on escarpment edge enjoying marvelous views of the Lake Manyara National Park, luxury rooms, en-suite bathrooms, restaurants, swimming pool and so much more luxurious facilities.
Wildlife Lake Manyara Park
Lake manyara park has wonderful wildlife and is well-known for its famous tree climbing lions as well as remarkably tusked elephants. Its huge herds of buffaloes, wildebeests plus zebras gather together in the grassy plains. There is a hippo pool which is a great place to observe the giant hippos up close. Lake Manyara itself is a seasonal habitat for large flamingo flocks in addition to a great profusion of water birds which are commonly seen on the lake shores.
What You Expect To See?
The parks forested area found just at the park entrance is home to a number of habituated troops of blue monkeys as well as olive baboons. The infrequent bushbucks can as well be seen in the forest hiding in the undergrowth. Klipspringers are also occasionally seen in Pairs on the rocks at the distant southern part of the park.
Best time for game viewing
During the dry season which begins in June up to October is the finest time for watching game inside the park. The animals are much easier to see since the vegetation is not thick and most of the animals gather near knowable water resources.
Lake Manyara was announced a National Park in 1960 and it covers a total area of 330 square kilometers, while the lake covers an area of approximately 230 sq km. this park is situated at the foothill of the western Rift Valley escarpment, and is prominently renowned for its population of tree climbing lions. Furthermore, the park has an amazing great number of different bird species commonly seen on the lake shores and in the forest.
VEGETATION and CLIMATE
Due to the numerous of habitats found inside this park, in addition to the various large mammals commonly seen here it also supports various birds. There are also different species among which is the flat topped acacia tree which is locally referred to as the umbrella tree, the doum palm, the yellow fever tree, the sausage tree as well as the baobabs tree.
The park has a long dry spell that starts in the month of June up to September; on the other hand, the short season begins in the month of January and ends in the month of February. The important lake Manyara is an inspiring soda lake whose volumes during the dry month greatly decrease. Even so the park has water all year round with a number of freshwater springs as well as streams that flow down from the impressive rift escarpment.
So In case you are tired of the traditional way of conducting your safari or tired of lying by the swimming pool, then it is time you started thinking of a brand new way of exploring Africa and the world at large. Take a safari in Lake Manyara national Park found in the northern part of Tanzania and enjoy a life memorable experience with views of different animals and birds.
Beside game viewing, some of the other adventure activities you can in Lake Manyara National Park include: swimming, cultural activities, cycling, canoeing, photographing, horse riding as well as safari walks.