Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara national park is located southwest of Arusha in Tanzania between Lake Manyara and the Great Rift Valley escarpment. About two-thirds of Lake Manyara national park is covered by Lake Manyara which is an alkaline lake and the rest of the national park consists of the rocky escarpment of the rift valley on the western side of the park, spaced trees and grasslands. The park is smaller compared to other national parks Tanzania-northern circuit and has two access gates in its northern and in the southern parts with the northern gate being the most commonly used to access the national park. Many tourists interested in safaris in Tanzania-northern circuit visit Lake Manyara national park before proceeding to other national parks on their itineraries.
The northern park entrance welcomes you into Lake Manyara National Park through an evergreen forest that further guides you into the open savannah grasslands of the park which offers an opportunity to view different wildlife species found in the national park. There is a variety of tree species found in the park and they include acacia trees, baobab trees, doum palms, and umbrella trees.
The national park can also be accessed by flight to Lake Manyara airport as well as charter and domestic flights to Manyara airstrip. The park can also be accessed by road from Arusha about one and a half hours drive to the park entrance.
Lake Manyara national park is found closer to Tarangire national park and occasionally some wildlife species migrate between the two national parks in search of better chances of survival. Tree climbing lions are a major attraction in this national park as well as baboons. Other tourist attractions in Lake Manyara national park include;
- Wildlife species. These can be found grazing around the national park and they include; elephants, buffalos, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, warthogs, and klipspringers.
- Bird species. Birders are able to view different bird species such as flamingos, spoonbills, egrets, pelicans, yellow-billed storks, grey heron, great white pelican, hornbills, weavers, and southern ground hornbill.
- Hot springs. These can be found via the western shores of Lake Manyara and are of volcanic origin. The hot springs are called Maji moto kubwa hot springs of which “Maji moto” translates to “hot water” a description of the hot nature of the water in the hot springs.
- Lake Manyara is an alkaline lake with salty water making it a no go drinking area for the wildlife species found in Lake Manyara national park hence the animals look for better options of drinking points such as Bagayo and Msasa Rivers.
- Hippo pool on the northern shores of Lake Manyara is a swimming area to a large number of hippos and this location of the hippo pool also offers a view of the Great Rift Valley escarpment and different wildlife species grazing.
Activities in Lake Manyara National Park include;
- Game drives are also available within Lake Manyara national park and they include; morning game drives, evening game drives, full-day game drives, and night game drives. Morning game drives offer a bigger chance to view the wildlife as they graze around hence providing a satisfactory experience compared to evening game drives where the animals take shelter in hidden places due to the scorching sun and from predators such as lions waiting to feast on unknowing prey. Full day game drives offer the ultimate safari experience as wildlife species are viewed at different times of the day and their way of life and survival can be easily monitored during these game drives. Night game drives are suitable for photography and documentaries as the nocturnal wildlife species spring into action hunting and predators put their hunting instincts into practice to be able to catch an evening meal.
- Birding. Large numbers of birds can be seen feeding along the shores of Lake Manyara and some are perched in the trees around the park. Bird species include; pink backed pelican, flamingos, grey heron, storks, and many other birds can be seen at the right birding spots.
- Village tours can be done in Mto wa Mbu which is accessible by car from Arusha for a cultural experience through interacting with the local community and learning their way of life and traditions. The words mto wa mbu translates to “mosquito river”.
- Biking can be done outside and within the park which also involves cycling through Mayoka village and interaction with the Mang’ati tribe then proceed by bicycle to the shores of Lake Manyara and expect to catch a sight of flamingos and much other bird and wildlife species grazing along the shores.
- Canoeing which is a beautiful experience along the waters of Lake Manyara that offers a view of the birds and wildlife found within the park such as flamingos, giraffes, elephants, and buffalos.
- Nature walks. These are also available in Lake Manyara national park and are carried out in the company of an armed ranger along different trails which include; the Mara trail, the lakeshore trail, Iyambi river trail.
Enjoy the hospitality that Manyara has to offer at any of its accommodation facilities ranging from luxury, mid-range and budget accommodation and they include the following;
- Luxury accommodation; Morona hill lodge, Lake Manyara Kilimamoja lodge, Lake Manyara Serena safari lodge, Escarpment luxury lodge Manyara, Losirwa camp, kiboko bush camp,
- Midrange accommodation; Migunga tented lodge, Manyara Hotel, Kirurumu tented lodge.
- Budget accommodation; Migombani camp, Africa safari Lake Manyara, Fig tree lodge camp.
Travel to Tanzania’s Manyara national park and enjoy a breathtaking natural setting of the wilderness exclusively for you with reliable and exciting adventure providing the finest location to unwind.