LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK TANZANIA
Lake Manyara National park is located in Arusha and Manyara Region in Tanzania. It consists of 330km² of forest, arid land and a soda lake and during the wet season it covers as much as 200km² of land which is also nearly nonexistent during the dry season. The park is governed by the Tanzania National parks Authority and both the two administrative regions have no jurisdiction over the parks. Land area of the park, the majority of it is a narrow strip running between the Gregory Rift wall to the west and Lake Manyara an alkaline or Soda lake in the East.
History of Lake Manyara National Park
History of Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National park was established in 1960 and the park’s centerpiece is Lake Manyara with a fluctuating body of alkaline water set within a shallow swamp at the base of the northern Rift valley that floor southwest of Arusha. A scattering of extinct volcanoes rise in splendid isolation from the open plains of the Maasai steppes in the Southeast and the lake is hemmed in by the 600m high golden-brown rift escarpment alluded to its name an emanyara being the spiky protective hedge grown around a Maasai boma in the west. The Manyara’s setting dramatically was once extolled by Ernest Hemingway as “the most luxuriant place in the whole East African Rift”. However today the park is frequently bypassed by safarigoers in their enthusiasm to reach the world renowned Ngorongoro and Serengeti. Manyara comes from the Masai word “emanyara” which is a Euphorbia plant species grown on the hedge around a family homestead and the name is a Masai description not for the lake but for a lake shore region in general.
Tanzania Safari Attractions in Lake Manyara National Park
Having a wonderful mosaic of different habitats, Lake Manyara is famously known for the Flamingos that inhabit the lake and they inhabit the edges of the lake in flocks of thousands during the wet season but they are not so present during the dry season. The park also hosts a variety of animals including a high density of elephants, Leopards, cheetahs, blue monkeys, Masai giraffe, dik-dik, hippos, impala, zebras and lions which some have developed unusual behavior of climbing trees for their afternoon snooze though they have not yet mastered the art of dragging their kill high into the branches and many more animals which can be seen throughout the year
Lake Manyara National park is a habitat for more than 400 bird species which makes it a good spot for birdwatching and the species include the migrant flamingos, pelicans, geese, storks, herons and cormorants. These bird species come and feed on the algae rich water and turn the crystalline edges of the soda lake a vibrant pink and numbers of the species are at their peak during the rainy season when seed eaters, insect eaters and water birds thrive and the Nomadic finch – like birds gather in breeding flocks of many thousands and fly across the park in vast twittering clouds.
Lake Manyara is an alkaline lake set under a magnificent of the Great Rift Valley’s steep western escarpment a long narrow which keeps the area between the escarpment and Lake Manyara safe. The Lake Manyara expands and contracts according to the seasons within a long silver bowl of salt deposits. The lake has wide grassy flood plains within the vicinity and there also exist bands of mixed acacia woodlands and patches of captivating evergreen forests which are kept from the base of the escarpment going by perennial ground water springs.
In about 3 to 4 hours, the road circuit which is limited can be covered offering the opportunities of sighting the animals that are always on the move. The Waterfalls spill over the escarpment wall and fill rivers, some of which can be canoed down for a great safari adventure. In the south of the park hot springs bubble to the surface but are too hot for a dip.
Tanzania Safari Activities in Lake Manyara National Park
Tree Top Walk as a Tanzania Safari activity in Lake Manyara National Park
The Treetop walk along Lake Manyara offers you an adventure and thrilling sky-high straight through the forest. The air walk which is about 370m high lets you to walk among the treetops and also giving you a bird’s eye view of the forest and the walkway starts right from the short board-walk leading to a series of suspension bridges with secure netting on each side which allows you to enjoy the flora and founa.
Bird Watching as a Tanzania Safari activity in Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National park is one of the best birding destination park in Tanzania and it is famously known for its Flamingo bird species. The park has over 400 bird species including the 3 species that are endangered and unique to Tanzania and the migrating birds’ species from Eurasian locations and the majority of the birds do migrate from Lake Natron where they breed to lake Manyara which acts as their breeding ground and the species include the Grey crowned crane, fischer’s sparrow lark, pink lesser, the crowned plover and the flamingos.
Game Drive as a Tanzania Safari activity in Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National park offers both a day and night game drive and here the diverse ecosystems at its shining best through night game drives and the park is also known for its population of big cats, with lions being seen both during day as they sleep, and at night when they are on prowl.
Canoeing as a Tanzania Safari activity in Lake Manyara National Park
Canoeing is done at Lake Manyara and this activity offers you excellent opportunities of getting close and personal with dozens of aquatic species of birds such as the pink flamingoes that gather near the water to relax and relieve their thirst and also the park is a habitat to anumber of elephants and giraffes which can be seen with a closer look as you canoe past them into the Serene waters.
Cultural Experience as a Tanzania Safari activity in Lake National Park
Lake Manyara national park is surrounded by the villages of the Maasai people. A visit to these villages will expose you to the unforgettable appealing red-robbed pastoralists who are populous in a boma, their cultural way of living of the Maasai and their traditional songs and dances which is so interesting. These Maasai people live in their quaint circular huts made of mud and straw refered to as Bombas. Waterfalls spill over the escarpment wall and fill rivers, some of which can be canoed down for a great safari adventure. In the south of the park hot springs bubble to the surface but are too hot for a dip.
HOW TO GET TO LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK TANZANIA
The park can be accessed by a car south west of Arusha with a distance of 126km in about one and a half hours. Lake Manyara can also be easily reached from Bahati the capital of Manyara Region. The park can also be reached by air and flying into Kilimanjaro International Airport from Arusha with a distance of 46 kilometers.