Lake Manyara national park
Lake Manyara national park is a spectacular tourist destination situated in Arusha and Manyara regions close to Arusha town, Lake Manyara park is part of the greater lake Manyara biosphere reserve and stretches over an area of 325 square kilometers lieing at the base of rift valley escarpment at the altitude range of 3,130-6,742ft. Lake Manyara national park‘s majority land is a narrow strip running between the Gregory rift wall to the west and lake Manyara to the east.
History of Lake Manyara national park
Historically, the area occupied by Manyara national park is a former sport hunting area, because of the numerous wildlife species discovered to habit in the area it was established a game reserve in 1957 and in 1960 the reserve was upgraded to a national park. Manyara national park initially covered a smaller area than it is today as pieces of land was constantly added to it to make it a bit larger, in 1974 1400 acres of land were added to the park’s area. Because of the great ecology conserved in the park, it was declared as a UNESCO site.
Attractions in Lake Manyara national park
Wildlife is one of the main highlights of Lake Manyara national park, the park is home to a big population animals which thrive in the short savannah grassland with a mixture of shrubs which dominate the park. Among the animals in Lake manyara national, park there is recognized big animals which are tourists’ favorite animals on a safari that is tree climbing lions, leopards, elephants, wildebeest and giraffes. Other animals found in Manyara national park include antelopes, zebras, hippopotamuses, and hyenas seen occasionally, cape clawless otter, pairs of klipspringer which are usually spotted balancing on the rocks in the far south region of the park. The park is also dominated by broken forests which are a home to primates with the largest population of baboons numbering to over hundreds, other primates present in Manyara national park include olive baboon and blue monkey.
Lake Manyara national park is a birding paradise as it is a home to a variety of bird species approximately 400 species, these beautiful colorful bird species are usually habit in the swampy vegetation around Lake Manyara and the park, forests and savannah grassland. Bird species found in Manyara national park include pelicans, pink shade flamingoes, spoonbills, egrets, herons, stalks, waders, crowned eagles, created guinea fowl, noisy silvery cheeked hornbills, abdim’s stork, African fish eagle , African grey hornbill, African hawk eagle, African jacana, African spoonbill, baglafetch weaver, comb duck, crowned eagle, great white pelican, greater flamingo, grey crowned crane, hammerkop, 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 and many.
Lake Manyara is one of the greatest attractions in Manyara national park, Lake Manyara is a closed basin lake fed by underground springs since it has no flows, the lake covers a surface area of 181.5 square meters and a depth of 3.7 meters which makes it the seventh-largest lake in Tanzania by surface. Lake Manyara is a home to many fish species with tilapia and catfish as the main species, what makes Manyara is a prominent attraction in the park is that it is a crowded by a high concentration of flamingoes which are seen feeding along the edge of the lake in wet season.
Things to do in Lake Manyara national park
Lake Manyara national park offers one of the best game drive safaris in Tanzania, Manyara national park is dotted by beautiful tranquil scenery created by the escarpments, the lake bed, short grassland and galleries of forests. Lake Manyara national park is a home to many wildlife species including 4 of 5 big five that is leopards, tree climbing lions, buffalo, and elephants which are easily spotted grazing and wandering in the park. Many other animals are easily spotted in the plains of Manyara national park such as wildebeest, bushbucks, giraffe, klipspringer, zebra, hyena and primates such as olive baboons and blue monkey.
Game drive in Manyara national park is offered in sessions that is morning game drive, afternoon game drive and night game drive for viewing nocturnal animals like lions. The best time to go for wildlife viewing in Lake Manyara national park is in the period of June to October, this period is a dry season and vegetation in the park is relatively short thus offering easy views of the wildlife.
Manyara national park is a great spot for bird watching and a haven for bird enthusiastic tourists, Lake Manyara national park is a home to approximately 400 bird species which are found and seen different regions of the park. Species like pink shade flamingoes are seen in the waters of Manyara, egrets, stilts Erons, spoonbills, stalks are spotted around margins and floodplains and crowned eagles, crested guinea fowl and the silvery cheeked hornbills are spotted in the woodlands. Many bird species seen in Manyara include African hawk eagle, African jacana, African spoonbill, Baglafetch weaver, comb duck, crowned eagle, great white pelican, greater flamingo, grey crowned crane, hammerkop, 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 and many more.
Lake Manyara national park also receives migratory bird species in the period of November to April, the best time to go for bird watching in the park is in the period of November and April. In this period migratory birds are present in the park and it is a breeding plumage for birds.
Nature walk safari in Manyara national park is a great activity for enjoying the beauty of Manyara national park usually done in the afternoon after a game drive, nature walks involves walking on feet navigating through the breath taking plains for the park. As you walk you get to enjoy views of Manyara and the rift valley and many animals living in the park that is zebra, baboon, warthog, giraffe, impala, elephant, hippo, wildebeest and the rare tree climbing lions and many more
Best time to visit Lake Manyara national park
Manyara national park is a spectacular national park with beautiful wildlife and scenery which amazing to watch and offer the best safari experience in Tanzania, though visiting Manyara national park is good throughout the year. The best time to visit the park for a safari is during the period of late June to September, this period is a typical dry season with short grass cover thus offering easy and uninterrupted views of the animals in the park and the scenic plains of Lake Manyara.
How to get to Manyara national park
Lake Manyara national park is a very accessible tourist destination situated in the most famous northern circuit of Tanzania, tours/ safaris to Manyara national park usually start from Arusha town thus the park is easily accessed by both air and road transport means. The best and easiest way is by flying to Arusha town using either Kilimanjaro international airport, Arusha airport or Julius Nyerere international airport. From Arusha town by air means of transport, chartered domestic flights are available from Arusha town to Manyara airstrip. From the airstrip it is a drive of 10 minutes to the park’s headquarters.
By road, Manyara national park is situated in southwest of Arusha a distance of 126 kilometers and by a car drive the park is easy to access on a drive of 1-2 hours to the main entrance gate.
Where to stay in Lake Manyara national park
Lake Manyara national park is dotted with many beautiful accommodation facilities which offer comfortable beds, facilities and delicious meal plans, these facilities are both situated outside park or inside the premises of Lake Manyara national park and they include Lake Manyara plantation lodge, Manyara tree lodge, Manyara ranch conservancy, Isoitok camp Manyara, Manyara Serena lodge, kiruruma tented lodge, lake Burunge tented camp, lake Manyara wildlife safari camp, haven nature camp and lodge, lemala Manyara camp, lake Manyara hotel, Eunoto retreat Manyara, lake Manyara view lodge and many more.