Lake Manyara National Park-Tanzania Safaris
Lake Manyara National park is one of Tanzania’s premium safari destination found in Arusha region, a great location to adventure unique wildlife species on planet such as the tree climbing lions and other species like leopards, giraffes, spotted hyenas, black-backed jackel, African wild cat, grant’s gazelle, cape buffalos, waterbucks among others and a home to more than 400 species of birds recorded. The park is found in Tanzania’s Arusha in Manyara regions, positioned between Lake Manyara and the Great Rift Valley, covers an area of 325 square kilometers including about 230 square kilometers for the lake surface. It was established in 1960 as a Tanzania’s protected area for tourism. However, it is governed by the Tanzania National Parks Authority, the body which is in charge of all Tanzania’s conservation areas.
This game park is a home of four of the big five such as buffalo, leopards, lions and elephants and for certain reason of lions found in Lake Manyara and Tarangire National park are of unique species ‘’tree climbing lions’’ which climb up into the branches of a sausage tree and lazing around in the heat of the day. This unique species of tree climbing lions can also be explored in Uganda’s most visited protected area Queen Elizabeth national park in the ishasha sector. Thus giving photographers great opportunities to snap rewardable photos for your safari remembrance.
Lake Manyara national park was named after the soda lake which is found at the park and also named after the common sited tree at the park. The tree species is known as Euphorbia Tirucall and in local language of Maasai is called Emanyara. These type of tree plays a great role in Maasai culture which acts as security measures for their cattle against thieves and predictors.
Location/Accessing –Lake Manyara national park
Lake Manyara national park is positioned 126kilomteres south west of Arusha and can be easily accessed by car in 1hour and a half. Travelers can still access the park from Babit the capital of Manyara region. Another option is to fry to the park by domestic flight which lands to you to Lake Manyara Airport a nearby landing site to the park. Local Airline careers used include; Air Excel, Safari Air Link, Air Tanzania, Regional Air, Zan air and Precision Air.
Note, Road transport provides great scenic views of Enroute gifted with very beautiful cultural centers which a worth interesting to look at.
Climate and Weather-Lake Manyara National park
The park experiences two rainy seasons ,short rains starts from November to December and long rains starts from March to May .There is also the wettest month ‘’with the highest rainfalls’’ which is April .The most drier months with low rainfall are July ,August and September .The warmest months ‘’which experiences with the highest average high temperature ’’ are January ,February and March ,with an average measure of 30 degrees Celsius .Other Months with the lowest average high temperature are June and July, raising an average of 25 degrees Celsius .The adjacent highlands tend to experience cooler with more rainfall.
Attractions in Lake Manyara National Park
The park sits at the edge of great rift valley and is known for being a home of diverse animal species, birds, forests, lake and many more. There are many attractions to see on your safari to Lake Manyara national park. Below are the Major attractions found in the park as follows;
This lake got its name from the commonly local tree species called Emanyara in Maasai language. Lake Manyara covers ¼ of the park size thus becoming a key source of water for the park’s wildlife species. The lake inhabits water animals like hippos, crocodile, birds like large flocks of flamingos plus other water birds. The local people can be seen fishing on the lake and boat rides are done during rainy season. Then the soda alkaline lake offers salty water due to its formation process which is volcanic activity.
Wildlife/animals –Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National park is a home of bio diversity of wildlife species that rewards tourists visit on Tanzania’s safaris. Though high number of mammals migrate from Tarangire national park a close park to Lake Manyara and some of them are zebras, Thomson’s gazelle, wildest and Grant’s gazelle. Large herds of wildebeest can be seen moving from other game plains of Mto wa Mbu Game Controlled Area enter the national park from the north for short time stay. They like grazing at the alkaline grasslands around the lake and there number increases during the dry season, dropping to small gazette areas in the wet season .The park is habitant to herbivores animals such as waterbuck ,zebras ,bushbuck ,Thomson’s gazelle ,giraffes ,Grant’s gazelle ,impala ,zebras ,cape buffaloes ,hippopotamus ,baboon ,elephants and warthog and others .Predators found in Lake Manyara national park include lions ,leopard ,African wild cat ,spotted hyenas ,black-backed jackel ,serval ,bat-eared fox ,honey badger ,African civet ,genet species as well as several mongoose species .Cheetah and African golden cat are seen occasionally.
Lake Manyara inhabits populations of endangered fish species composed of Oreochromis amphimelas.
The national park is also a hoven for beautiful butterflies with over 180 species have been recorded here.
Lake Manyara national park, though its small in size but it stands as a great paradise for birding and birders you can choose this park on your next visiting destination on African safaris. The park hosts over 40 bird species of prey are recorded some of them include palm-nut vulture and Ayre’s hawk eagle and many more. In all, the park is a home to more than 400 bird species recorded. Indeed, it is known for flocks of thousand flamingos that feed along the banks of the lake mostly in wet season. Moreover, is well known as a breeding site for thousands of pink-backed pelican, grey heron, yellow pelican, yellow-billed stork along with smaller numbers of Marabou stork. Others species sighted include great white pelican, great flamingo, Lilac-breasted roller, Southern ground hornbill mentioned but few.
Lake Manyara national park’s flora are diverse with number of over 670 unique flowering plants and fern species are recorded .Most of species commonly seen but with few rare or endemic species .The national park has a variety of diverse habitats that’s rivers flowing off the escarpment and springs below the rift wall that support tall species ,there are also evergreen groundwater forests dominated by broad-leaved croton ,sycamore fig ,quinine tree and forest toad –tree .The trees growing at the rim of the groundwater forest are dense stands of yellow fever trees and the palm .Types of flora to see are mahogany ,sausage trees ,ficus and wild mango trees.
Great Rift Valley Escarpment
Lake Manyara national park is gifted with great rift valley escarpment which are about 1600 meters above sea level. The rift valley wall provides a good scenic view, mostly along the main gate. They also create a great aerial view of the park and travelers do stopover here before they continue to the Ngorongoro crater.
Due to its location featured along the foots of the great rift valley, many volcanic features are found at Lake Manyara national park. Hot springs is one of the great feature of volcanic activity found at the park. The hot springs produce heated ground water as a result of geothermal. The hot water has an average boiling temperature of 60 degrees making it a good boiling point for boiling eggs. The hot springs lies in the narrow strip beneath of the rift valley escarpment in the Western part of Lake Manyara.
Activities in Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara national park offers great and rewardable activities to the guests who visits the park on their safari. Below are the lists of activities to engage in on your visit to the park as follow;
Game drives is so rewarding in here, which can be done in three sessions. The morning game drive, afternoon game drive and night game drive and you’re recommended to use 4×4 wheel driving safari cars. The game drive is the best way to get closer to the wildlife in their nature habitats. Note, Lake Manyara national park is among the few protected national park where night game drives are done. The night game drives begin at 7pm and the activity can be arranged by the park rangers considering from where your sleeping within the park. Many animal species you can experience on your game drive include hynes, buffalos, lion, tree climbing lions, baboons, monkeys, elephants, leopards among others.
Lake Manyara national park hosts over 400 bird species which can be sighted by the birder. The birding activity can be done all year around, though the best preferred time is wet seasons when birds are nesting and migratory birds are present. The most sighted birds are Flamingos, Geese, ducks, Rufous-tailed weaver, lovebirds, Fischer’s Sparrow Law, Grey Crowned Crane, Two-banded course, Swans, Crowned Hornbill, Narina Trogon, Scalow’s Turaco, Emerald Cuckoo, Crested Guinea fowl among others. Travelers are advised to carry a well knowledgeable guide with all the detailed bird books, rainy jackets, birding equipment, good zooming cameras and others.
This is amazing experience done in rain forest with treetop walk as you encounter the beauty of the forest ,through swinging on the canopy of the trees as you get amazed about aerial views of the park .Sometimes it be called the Manyara treetop walkway on Tanzania safaris .The treetop walk leds you to the sky-high adventure in the scenic forest of the park .Note ,this is an extra activity done without paying park entry fees. Make a visit here and enjoy the outstand able safari experience.
This is a seasonal activity which can only be done during rainy season. Since the boat ride activity follow the water level of lake Manyara and if the volume of the water at the lake is low boat ride is not allowed in lake. More information is needed before you book this activities.
Visit Hot Springs
This is an excitement activity that provides unique volcanic features which is worth a visit, visit the park and witness the powers of nature go with some eggs to boil or banana so that you end up with admirable experience in life time.
Lastly Lake Manyara National Park is a safari destination which can be visited all year around, with its short driving distance from the Arusha that makes it great for the one day Tanzania safari adventure. “Home of gorgeous Tree-climbing lion”.