LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
Lake Manyara national park is one of the tourism jewels in Tanzania situated at the base of the Great Rift Valley and is found in both Arusha and Manyara regions about 126 kilometers Southwest of Arusha, the park lies between Lake Manyara and the Great Rift Valley.
Lake Manyara national park is one of the conveniently situated Tanzania safari destinations found in the Tanzania northern safari circuit, the location of Lake Manyara national park makes it easier to be accessed and be included on your safari itinerary to Serengeti national park, Tarangire national park, Marang Forest Reserve and the Kwa Kuchinja Wildlife Migration Corridor.
The covers an area of 330 square kilometers, 230 square kilometers of the park is covered by Lake Manyara which is the 7th largest lake in Tanzania, Lake Manyara is a shallow alkaline lake formed as a result of the Great Rift Valley (as the rift grew wider over millions years, streams cascaded down thus pooling to create a lake. Lake Manyara has a depth of 10ft.
History of Lake Manyara national park
The park used to be residential area for the local Maasai people and the name of the park is derived from a local Maasai word “Emanyara” which is a name of a plant called Eurphorbia tirucalli. The Euphorbia tirucalli trees were used by the local Maasai people to protect their livestock from thieves and poachers.
In 1920, the area was used as a hunting ground for sport hunting and in 1957 the area was recognized and established as a game reserve, in 1960 the reserve was upgraded and given a national park status. In 1981, the park is part of the much larger Lake Manyara Biosphere Reserve and in 1981 it was established by the UNESCO as part of its Man and Biosphere Programme.
The park is a habitat to a diversity of wildlife which makes it a perfect destination in Tanzania for Tanzania Wildlife Safaris, the park is dominated by acacia woodlands and savannah grasslands which are a home to many animals such as tree climbing lions which are the highlight of the park. Animals in Lake Manyara national park include elephants, giraffes, banded mongoose dart, Kirk’s dik-dik, Bohor Reedbacks, impalas, leopards, troops of baboons, vervet monkeys, cape buffalo, zebras, wildebeests, Klipspringer, Grant’s gazelles, warthogs, bushbucks, African golden cats, African civet, cheetahs grant’s gazelles among others.
The park an excellent destination for Tanzania bird watching safaris, the park is a home to over 400 recorded bird species which inhabit in various areas of the park such as the ground water forest, on the shores of Lake Manyara, the floodplains among others. Birds found in The park include Abdim’s stork, African fish eagle, African grey hornbill, African hawk eagle, African jacana, African spoonbill, Baglafecht weaver, Comb duck, Crowned eagle, Great white pelican, Greater flamingo, Grey crowned crane, Hamerkop, Hottentot teal, Lesser flamingo, Little stint, Pied avocet, Pied kingfisher, Pink-backed pelican, Sacred ibis, Saddle-billed stork, Silvery-cheeked hornbill, Southern ground hornbill, Spur-winged goose, Von der Decken’s hornbill, Yellow-billed stork among others. The most exciting bird species in The park are the pink flamingoes which are seen crowding the shores of Lake Manyara, these beautiful birds are viewed posing in large numbers with their pink plumage reflecting in the waters of the lake.
SAFARI ACTIVITIES TO DO IN LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
Game drives are unmissable activity during a Tanzania tour in the park , this activity is done in a 4X4 wheel vehicle on morning game drive, afternoon game drive and evening game drive. Lake Manyara national park is famous for a variety of animals such as the tree climbing lions, large herds of elephants and many other animals such as Kirk’s dik-dik, Bohor Reedbacks, impalas, leopards, troops of baboons, vervet monkeys, cape buffalo, zebras, wildebeests, Klipspringer, Grant’s gazelles, warthogs, bushbucks, African golden cats, African civet, cheetahs grant’s gazelles among others.
Lake Manyara national park the best destinations in for Tanzania birding safari, the park inhabits about 400 bird species which will making your bird experience an amazing one. Birding in Lake Manyara national park is best in the early mornings or late afternoons, beautiful birds are spotted in various regions of the park such as along the shores of Lake Manyara, the evergreen forests and in the savannah plains.
Some of the birds to lookout for in the park during Tanzania birding experience include the pink flamingoes, cormorants, pelicans, African hawk eagle, African jacana, African spoonbill, Baglafecht weaver, Comb duck, Crowned eagle, Great white pelican, Greater flamingo, Grey crowned crane, Hamerkop, Hottentot teal, Lesser flamingo, Little stint, Pied avocet, Pied kingfisher among others.
Canoeing on Lake Manyara
Canoeing in the park is done on the beautiful Lake Manyara, this activity is done a two ma canoe with a guide setting off early in the morning at 07:00 am or 02:00 pm in the afternoon. As you paddle on the salty waters of the lake you get to enjoy watching elephants, giraffes, hippos cape buffaloes and many birds such as flamingoes, cormorants, storks, pelicans on the shores of the lake grazing and wallowing in the muddy waters
Mountain biking in Lake Manyara national park is a thrilling Tanzania safari activity on which tourists get to explore the terrain of the park on a bike ride, this activity is of 3-4 hours done on a single path descending downhill and passing through the rift valley floor through the local villages of Mto Wa Mbu. In the Mto Wa Mbu village you get to interact with friendly locals then continue to the shore of Lake Manyara which is crowded with pink-hued flamingoes.
When going to Mountain biking in Lake Manyara national park remember to carry bike logistics including mountain bikes, packed snacks, gloves, boots and helmets and bottled drinking water.
During your Tanzania safari in the park you get an opportunity to visit the Karatu local villages and market centre on cultural tours experience. The Karatu Village is situated in the valley between Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater Lake, as you visit this village you get a deeper insight about the African life style and different traditions and customs of people. Visitors get to visit the local Bomas (traditional homes built in circular form), participate in preparing and tasting local dishes, buy beautiful souvenirs such as jewellery among others.
ACCOMMODATION IN LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
In Lake Manyara national park there is so much to choose from in terms of accommodation, the accommodation available ranges from safari lodges, tented camps and camps categorized as luxury, midrange and budget. Accommodation in the park is got from the park, Escarpment Luxury Lodge, Lake Manyara Kilimamoja lodge, AndBeyond Lake Manyara Tree lodge, Manyara Wildlife Safari camp, Kiruruma Manyara Lodge, Burudika Manyara Lodge, Twiga camp and many more.