LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK, TANZANIA AFRICA :
Lake Manyara National Park is one of the most scenic parks that you will encounter on your journey in Tanzania. Lake Manyara is situated on the base of the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley. It derives its name from the Maasai word ‘Manyara’ which is a plant known to us as Euphorbia tiraculli. This plant is used by the Maasai as a hedge to form a stockade for their cattle. Measuring only 330 sq. km, of which the lake occupies 230 sq. km, it is ideal for a day trip.
Like most Rift Valley lakes, the water is alkaline. This attracts vast flocks of flamingos, which form pink foam against a silver background of water. There are numerous water birds in the area, including pelicans that waddle around next to short grasses on the shore of the lake. The park is a bird lover’s haven with a variety of local species inhabiting the forest and bush. The best time to observe these birds is in the late afternoon and early morning. Manyara provides the perfect introduction to Tanzania’s birdlife. More than 400 species have been recorded, and even a first-time visitor to Africa might reasonably expect to observe 100 of these in one day. Highlights include thousands of pink-hued flamingos on their perpetual migration, as well as other large water birds such as pelicans, cormorants and storks.
Animals found in the area include Giraffe, Zebra, Elephant, Buffalo, Wildebeest, Waterbuck and Warthog (Pumba). Manyara is also popularity for its tree-climbing lions. These majestic animals find shelter in the branches of trees from the heat and biting flies. There is a particular belt, which they frequent along the woodland, south of the Msasa River. These lions also have a peculiar specialization of killing buffalo. An adult buffalo weighs in the proximity of one and a half tons, being far larger than the average weight of an adult male lion. On the southern side of the park, you will find the hot springs of Maji Moto. This word directly translated from Swahili means hot water, and is about 60ºC. The views from some of the lodges on the rift wall are spectacular, and it is highly recommended that you spend at least one day/night of your safari in the area.
About Lake Manyara National Park
Size: 330 sq km (127 sq miles), of which up to 200 sq km (77 sq miles) is lake when water levels are high.
Location: In northern Tanzania. The entrance gate lies 1.5 hours (126km/80 miles) west of Arusha along a newly surfaced road, close to the ethnically diverse market town of Mto wa Mbu.
By road, charter or scheduled flight from Arusha, en route to Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.
What to do
Game drives, canoeing when the water levels is sufficiently high.
Cultural tours, mountain bike tours, abseiling and forest walks on the escarpment outside the park.
When to go
Dry season (July-October) for large mammals;
wet season (November-June) for bird watching, the waterfalls and canoeing.