Lake Manyara national park
Lake Manyara national park is an impressive national park situated at the base of the Great Rift Valley in and located in a distance of 126 kilometers southwest of Arusha, the park lies in the Tanzania northern safari circuit along the route leading to Ngorongoro conservation area and Serengeti national park. Lake Manyara national park borders Marang forest reserve in the south, Kwa Kuchinja wildlife migration corridor in the east and the rocky escarpment of the rift valley wall rising steeply to 1,219 – 1,829 in the western.
Lake Manyara national park covering an area of 330 square kilometers is part of the extremely large Lake Manyara Biosphere Reserve, two thirds of this park is occupied by the scenic Lake Manyara. Lake Manyara is a shallow alkaline lake formed as a result the rift valley process, Lake Manyara covers an area of 470 square kilometers with a maximum depth of 10ft and lies at the altitude of 960 meters above the sea level. Lake Manyara is attracts a huge population of animals and birds such as flocks of flamingoes and it is one of the best sites to visit while Lake Manyara national park for excellent sightings of animals and birds.
Lake Manyara national park is famous for flocks of thousands of flamingoes found along the edge of lake Manyara mostly in the wet season, other highlights of Lake Manyara national park are the tree climbing lions seen relaxing on branches of acacia trees, one of the highest concentration of elephants in Africa and the largest baboon troops ever documented. Lake Manyara national park is a habitat to diversity of animal species habiting in acacia woodlands and woodlands dominating the park, animals in the park include elephants, giraffes, leopards, impalas, banded mongoose, Kirk’s dik-dik, Bohor Reedbucks, wildebeests, hippos, Thomson’s gazelles, grant’s gazelles, warthogs, African wild cat, bat-eared foxes, black-backed jackals, honey badgers, African civet, genet species, servals, spotted hyenas, cheetahs, African golden cats and many more.
Lake Manyara national park is a recognized bird habitat in Tanzania with over 400 species of birds, the trademark bird species is flocks of flamingoes crowding the edge of Lake Manyara most especially in wet season. Bird species in Lake Manyara national park include Marabou stork, grey heron, egrets, palm nut vultures, Ayre’s hawk-eagle, black faced sand grouse, stalks, yellow-billed stork, Marabou stork, spoon bills, stilts herons, crowned eagles, Narina trogon, Emerald cuckoo, ground-dwelling crested guinea fowl, slivery cheeked hornbills, Schalow’s turaco and many more. Birds in Lake Manyara national park are found on the margins and floodplains of Lake Manyara, groundwater forest north of Lake Manyara, acacia and savannah vegetation.
History of Lake Manyara national park
Lake Manyara national park was initially used as a ground for hunting sport and in 1957 it was established as a game reserve, in 1960 the area was upgraded to a national park status and later the park was included as part of the Lake Manyara Biosphere Reserve established by UNESCO in 1981 as a part of its Man and the Biosphere program. Lake Manyara national park derives its name from a Euphorbia tirucalli plant locally known as Emanyara by the Masai people in their Ma language, this plant is so important to the Masai people as they used them to protect their animals from predators, poachers and thieves.
Tourist activities in Lake Manyara national park
Game drives in Lake Manyara national park offer sights of various species of animals and scenic views of the park’s landscape, this safari experience is done under the guidance of a guide in a 4X4 wheel car with pop-up roof and large widows. Game drives in Lake Manyara national park are done following trails running through savannah grasslands, forests and acacia woodlands, sessions like morning game drive, afternoon game drive and night game drive. On game drive experience you are rewarded by views of animals such as giraffes, giraffes, leopards, impalas, banded mongoose, Kirk’s dik-dik, Bohor Reedbucks, wildebeests, hippos, Thomson’s gazelles, grant’s gazelles, warthogs, African wild cat, bat-eared foxes, black-backed jackals, honey badgers, wildebeests, zebras, large herds of elephants, tree climbing lions and large flock on flamingoes when you visit the shores of Lake Manyara.
Lake Manyara national park is an ideal destination for bird watching in Tanzania, the park is famous for hosting a flock of thousands of flamingoes pink flamingoes crowding the shorelines of lake Manyara. These flamingoes are found of migrating from Lake Natron to Lake Manyara most especially in the wet season, others birds seen in Lake Manyara national park include Ayre’s hawk-eagle, black faced sand grouse, stalks, yellow-billed stork, Marabou stork, spoon bills, stilts herons, crowned eagles, Narina trogon, Emerald cuckoo, ground-dwelling crested guinea fowl, slivery cheeked hornbills, Schalow’s turaco and many more. Birding watching is also done in forests, forested woodlands and many regions of the park.
Canoeing in Lake Manyara national park is an interesting experience done on the salty waters of Lake Manyara in a two man canoe, Canoeing experience takes 3 and half hours setting off as early as 07:00 am in the morning or 02:00 pm in the afternoon. As you participate in this activity you need to have life jackets and while you sail you will enjoy sights of herds of elephants, hippos, buffaloes, giraffes grazing in the muddy waters on the shore lines and birds such as flamingoes, cormorants, storks and many more.
Hiking and Nature walks
Hiking and nature walks are adventurous safari experiences in Lake Manyara national park ideal for hikers and nature lovers, these experience require no vehicle so they are done on foot allowing tourists to visit most parts on the park not accessed by vehicle. Hiking and nature walks are done on 3 trails that are Msara trail, Lake Shore trail and Iyambi River trail.
- Msara trail is of 11 kilometers away following River Msara along the rift valley Escarpment through great bird watching territory to the viewpoint.
- Lake Shore trail is 38 kilometers situated near Maji Moto hot springs crossing acacia woodland and savannah grasslands, on this trail hikers are rewarded with large herds of mammals and flocks of flamingoes.
- Iyambi river trail is of 50 kilometers running from the gate through wooded and rocky landscape, hiking on this offers sights of birds and animals.
Hiking and nature walks in Lake Manyara national park are only offered for 2-3 hours and are done in guidance of an armed ranger.
Cultural tours in Lake Manyara national park offers a visit to Karatu local villages and markets situated in the cool mountain valley situated between Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater Lake. On this experience you will enjoy the true African culture, traditions and lifestyle. Tourists on this experience visit the traditional bomas the homes of Maasai women, participate in traditional food making, making beautiful beaded jewellery and handcrafts you can buy as souvenirs.
Accommodation in Lake Manyara national park
Accommodation in Lake Manyara national park is got for various safari lodges and camps located in various regions of the park, Safari lodges and camps offering accommodation include Twiga camp, Burudika Manyara lodge, Kirurumu Manyara lodge, Manyara Wildlife Safari camp, And Beyond Lake Manyara Tree lodge, Lake Manyara Kilimamoja lodge, Escarpment Luxury Lodge, Lake Manyara Serena Safari lodge and many more.
How to get to Lake Manyara national park
Lake Manyara national park lies in the Great Rift valley of Tanzania and it is a very accessible destination for safaris,