Lake Manyara National Park is located in the Great Rift Valley escarpment in northern Tanzania and west of Arusha. Lake Manyara National Park is small compared to Tanzania’s other parks, it measures 330 km² of which 230 km² is the Lake. The land host wildlife and vegetation while the shallow alkaline lake is often covered by resident flamingos. The park is close to Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tarangire National Park and its close proximity to Arusha town makes it perfect for undertaking a day excursions. The name ‘Manyara’ is a Maasai name, which is a plant name known as Euphorbia tiracull. The Maasai people use this to make hedges as way of protecting their cattle.
The range of ecosystems at different elevations makes dramatic scenery and if you’re a birder Lake Manyara National Park has to be on your list of places to visit. There is a huge variety of habitats making for a great range of birdlife. There are also different varieties of trees which include sausage trees, umbrella trees, baobabs, yellow fever trees and doum palms. Lake Manyara National Park is also known for its famous tree-climbing lions. It has been said by a local warden that this strange behavior probably started during a fly epidemic when the big cats decided to climb trees to escape from the swarms of biting flies and that this ongoing behavior has now become part of everyday life.
Mammals: Lake Manyara National Park is a home to elephants, baboons which are said to be concentrated in this park, giraffes which have a darker color compared to giraffes in other parts of Tanzania, zebras, wildebeest, waterbuck and warthog. Within the forests are leopards and not forgetting the lions which are seen climbing trees when seeking shade, evading the persistent flies or looking out for prey.
Birds: Lake Manyara National Park is renowned in Tanzania for its diverse and large bird species. Over 400 bird species have been recorded; amongst them are the bee- eater, waterfowl, heron, eagles, snipes. A huge majority of these birds are found on the shores of Lake Manyara. Flamingoes color the waters of the lake pink.
Another main feature of the park is the spectacular view. While approaching the village of Mto wa Mbu, Swahili word for ‘mosquito creek’ the rift wall in all its magnificence can be observed from a distance. The lake and its shimmering waters punctuated by its diverse animal life forms the backdrop as you proceed towards the rift wall. The park has been described as the most scenic park in Tanzania and is graced by a hippo pool at the entrance that is bound to catch your attention.
How to Get There
By Road: Lake Manyara National Park can be accessed easily by road from Arusha town, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Tarangire National Park.
By Air: There are scheduled flights from Arusha to Lake Manyara National Park.
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