Tuesday 5th, February, 2019
Lake Manyara National Park
MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
The compact game-viewing circuit through Manyara offers a virtual microcosm of the Tanzania safari experience. From the entrance gate, the road winds through an expanse of lush jungle like ground water forest where hundred-strong baboon troops lounge nonchalantly along the roadside, blue monkeys scamper nimbly between the ancient mahogany trees, dainty, bushbuck tread warily through the shadows, and outsized forest hornbills honk cacophonously in the high canopy.
Manyara has the size of 330 square kilometers (127squqre miles), of which up to 200 square kilometers (77 square miles) is lake when water levels are high.
Location: it’s located in Northern Tanzania. The entrance gate lies 1.5 hours (126km/80 miles) west of Arusha along a newly surfaced road, close to the ethnically diverse market town of Mto wa Mbu.
Contrasting with the intimacy of the forest is the grassy floodplain and its expansive views eastward, across the alkaline lake, to the jagged blue volcanic peaks that rise from the endless Maasai Steppes. Large buffalo, wildebeest and zebra herds congregate on these grassy plains, as do giraffes- some so dark in coloration that they appear to be black from a distance.
Inland of the floodplain, a narrow belt of acacia woodland is the favored haunt of Manyara’ legendary tree-climbing lions and impressively tusked elephants. Squadrons of banded mongoose dart between the acacias, while the diminutive Kirk’s dik-dik forages in their shade. Pairs of klipspringer are often seen silhouetted on the rocks above a field of searing hot springs that steams and bubbles adjacent to the lakeshore in the far south of the park.
Manyara provides the perfect introduction to Tanzania’s birdlife. More than 400 species have been recorded, and even a first-time visitor of Africa might reasonably expect to observe 100 of these in one day. Highlights include thousands of pink-hued flamingos on their perpetual migration, as well as other large water birds such as pelicans, cormorants and stork.
Activities to do: game drives, canoeing when the water level is sufficiently high, cultural tours, mountain bike tours, abseiling and forest walks on the escarpment outside the park, and also you can do canopy walk at the tree top walking.
The best time to visit the park is during the dry season (July-October) for large mammals; wet season (November-June) for bird watching, the waterfalls and canoeing