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Lake Manyara National Park

Description of Lake Manyara National Park

Stretching for 50km along the base of the rusty-gold 600-metre high Rift Valley escarpment, Lake Manyara is a scenic gem, with a setting extolled by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest I had seen in Africa”. Lake Manyara National Park derives its name from the Masai word "Manyara," which is the name for the plant Euphorbia tirucalli. The Masai use this plant to grow livestock stockades. Eventually Manyara will produce a stockproof  hedge that is more durable than any made of cut thorn branches. There is a specimen of Euphorbia tirucalli at the entrance gate. Regardless of direction you approach Lake Manyara National Park from, your first view of Lake Manyara National Park is spectacular.

The Different Habitats of Lake Manyara National Park

Despite the fact Lake Manyara National Park is only 330 square kilometers (127 square miles) in area—of which about 230 square kilometers (89 square miles) are lake, it contains a large variety of habitats: the rift wall, the ground water forest, acacia woodland, areas of open grassland, the lake shore, swamp, and the lake itself. Due to the variety of habitats the Park is able to support a large number of species. Over 380 species of birds, some migratory, have been recorded in the Park. The large variety of mammals, reptiles and birds in the Park and the different types of vegetation, all within a small area, make Lake Manyara a diverse and particularly memorable place to visit. In the Manyara area there is no eastern wall to the Rift Valley as there is in Kenya. Here the flattish country falls very gently into a depression, while in Kenya the valley has walls to both east and west.

Safari to Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is an ideal size for a day trip. You can leave camp or the lodge early, picnic at one of the sites, and then return towards evening. The Park roads are suitable for two-wheel-drive vehicles, although some of the tracks are for dry season use only. Surprisingly enough, it is easy to drive past a tree full of sleeping lions unless you are trained through constant practice to spot them. There is only one entrance to the park, and so all trails start and end at the gate.

Activities to engage in while on Safari to Lake Manyara National Park

Game drives, night game drives, canoeing when the water levels is sufficiently high.
Cultural tours, picnicking, bush lunch/dinner, mountain bike tours, abseiling and forest walks on the escarpment outside the park.

Birds and Mammals to be observed at Lake Manyara National Park

Manyara’s legendary tree-climbing lions,impressively tusked elephants, Squadrons of banded mongoose , the diminutive Kirk’s dik-dik, 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 to 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 waterbirds such as pelicans, cormorants and storks.


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