Lake Manyara National Park is visited during Tanzania’s famed northern circuit safaris. It is an excellent stop over on route to the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park for a variety of reasons:
• Good Biodiversity To Park Size Ratio: Lake Manyara National Park is relatively small and the park can be traversed with in a short period of time while viewing a considerable number of wildlife and birdlife. The park is famous for Acacia Tortilis tree-climbing lions. Other animals frequently seen are leopards (also on trees), zebras, impalas, baboons, monkeys, wildebeests, giraffes, buffalos and elephants. Hippos can be seen either basking or submerged in the hippo pools near the forest.
• Excellent Place To Rest: Lake Manyara National Park is also the perfect place to take a break on route to Ngorongoro Crater giving guests the opportunity to stretch their legs and enjoy wildlife and ornithological safari experience at the same time.
• Beautiful Scenery: Most of the accommodation such as Serena Manyara, Kirurumu and the Lake Manyara Hotel are perched on the escarpment with fantastic panoramic views of the lake and beyond.
• Active Programs: Lake Manyara and the areas outside the park has become a hub for active adventure guests where many stop over to enjoy activities such as horse riding, abseiling, mountain biking, canoeing and nature walk safaris.
• Accommodation Fairly Priced: Accommodations at Lake Manyara cater to all personalities making it a must visit park for any person visiting northern Tanzania. The park has at least four recognized accommodations allowing guests the opportunity to select a program that fits their budget.
The word Manyara comes from the Maa (language of the Maasai) word referring to the Euphorbia Tirucalli tree plant used to creates hedges for the Maasai cattle. The Tirucalli is preferred over tree branches by the Maasai because of its resilience and long lasting characteristics.
The total size of Lake Manyara is 330 square kilometers out of which 230 square kilometers includes lake arena where water levels are constantly fluctuating. Lake Manyara’s relatively small size is home to a favorable ecosystem, which includes varied bird, wildlife and vegetation species. The lake gets supplied with water systems that gush out from the base of the Great Rift Valley.
When To Visit Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara is considered an all year round park and can be visited at any time of the year.
Lake Manyara Ecosystem
Lake Manyara National Park – Contents Table
Lake Manyara National Park has only one entrance from where guests can enter and exit. Upon entering the park, guest are greeted by an over whelming amount of luscious green trees with plenty of canopy and enough light piercing through the trees to see baboons scamper away from the main track. Here the ambiance is that of a rainforest with tall trees and diverse vegetation types such as Wild Fig and Sausage trees. Other mammals seen around the forest include blue monkey.
Crossing over the Marera River Bridge, and bearing a left leads you to the Mahali Ya Nyati (place of Buffalo). Here the vegetation has turned to scattered grassland with Yellow Fever, Palm and Wild Mango trees. Common animals seen around this include the common zebras, impalas and giraffes.
Continuing further on the left loop leads you to the Hippo Pool where guests have the opportunity to view and photograph the hippos either basking in the sun or submerged in the water.
Continuing further along the extension and joining the main track, AfricanMecca guests would have passed the Mkindu and Msasa Rivers, which attract and support a diverse bird species like the pelicans, flamingoes, hornbills, and Egyptian geese. Noting that Lake Manyara National Park being a soda ash lake attracts the lesser and greater flamingoes.
Continuing on the main road track in Lake Manyara guests will notice a change in vegetation with a mixture of savannah grassland, shrubs and acacia trees. The flattop acacia tree has become a strange phenomenon for the lions of Manyara that rest in it during the heat of the day. Keep a watch out for dangling tails that could easily be mistaken for a branch.
Continuing further down the road and passing additional rivers, leads you to the Maji Moto Hot Sulfur springs. Your guides would normally lead you out to view the spring up close gushing from the bedrock emitting a slight pungent odor. Here you can test an egg to see how fast it boils or view the hot vapors being emitted. Placing you body posture towards the direction you were driving, guests may be able to see some gray volcanic rocks mounted on each other with a Klipspringer(s) standing on it. The color resemblance between the rocks and antelope is so supportive creating a perfect camouflage. A predator with a weak sight would be unable to tell the difference.
Continuing the journey further inside towards the Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, guests might be startled to see a huge herd of elephants parading across the tracks. With sound of a humming engine, the elephants began dispersal with some young calves rushing through the bushes to collide with other elephants creating a comical relief for a brief moment but again noting that the presence of our vehicle in their territory is an encroachment of their rights. Yet, such close and superb encounters underscore the values or conservation and sensitivity to the environment making Lake Manyara a worthwhile visit.
Guests staying at the Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, the only accommodation inside the park, can have an awesome experience watching wildlife walk through the lodge grounds from an elevation and comfort of their balcony.