Facts about Lake Manyara National Park
Facts about Lake Manyara National Park: Lake Manyara national park is one of the smallest national parks located in the northern part of Tanzania, at the base of the Great Rift Valley. The national park was first established as a game reserve in 1957 and was later gazetted as a national park in 1960. Lake Manyara national park covers a total area of 330 square kilometers with two thirds covered by the Lake Manyara, vegetation types like ground water forests, acacia woodland, swampy marshes, open grasslands among others which act as habitats for wildlife including animals like giraffes, zebras, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, primates like baboons, bird species among others. The park is famously known for harboring the tree climbing lions which can be viewed resting in the acacia tree branches. Lake Manyara national park derives its name from the Maasai word Manyara which is a Euphorbia Tirucalli plant that is used by the Maasai as a fencing alternative to protect their livestock from thieves, poachers and predators.
Attractions in Lake Manyara national park (Facts about Lake Manyara National Park)
Wildlife, the national park harbors big numbers of animals including the tree climbing lions, elephants, wildebeests, zebras, impalas, warthogs, waterbucks, leopards, hippos, buffaloes, giraffes, leopards, spotted hyenas, cheetahs, primates like baboons, blue monkeys among others.
Birds, Lake Manyara national park is one of the best birding destinations in Tanzania in that it harbors more than 400 bird species including aquatic species, migratory species, endemic birds which are only found in Tanzania and near endemics which are also found in the neighboring countries. Bird species that will be spotted include silvery cheeked hornbills, crested guinea fowl, crowned eagles, palm nut vulture, marabou stork, grey heron, yellow billed stork among others.
Lake Manyara, this is a shallow alkaline lake with an average depth of 10 feet and covers two thirds of the park. The lake was formed as a result of the Great Rift Valley many years ago and it’s a great area for birding safaris where you will be able to view different species of water birds, animals like hippos in water and other animals which come to drink water along the shores.
Activities in Lake Manyara national park
Game drive, this is one of the popular activities in Lake Manyara national park that is done in a 4WD safari vehicle. Game drives in the park are best done very early in the morning so as to view predators before going back to their hiding areas or during the afternoon in the grassland and woodland plains. During the game drive you will follow different tracks which offer you with spectacular views of animals like the tree-climbing lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, impalas, leopards, gazelles, waterbucks, bushbucks, lions, bird species, different vegetation types, views of the sunrise/sunset among others.
Canoeing, this is an exciting activity in the park where you will paddle along the lake with an experienced guide. Canoeing on Lake Manyara takes about 2 to 3 hours and can either be done in the morning or in the afternoon, during the canoeing activity you will paddle close to animals like hippos in water, view elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks, giraffes, warthogs among others drinking water along the shores, water birds like pink flamingos, have beautiful views of the scenery, sunrise or sunset among others.
Night game drives, Lake Manyara national park is one of the protected areas in Tanzania that offers the interesting night game drive which gives you an opportunity to view nocturnal animals which become active at night. The activity starts after dinner at around 7:30pm or 8:00pm and its carried out with the company of an armed park ranger plus spot light torches for clear viewing of nocturnal animals like lions, leopards, civet cats, genets, porcupines, white tailed mongoose, wild cats, spotted hyenas, black backed jackal among others which will be hunting, hippos grazing and other animals which will be resting, enjoy views of the stars among others.
Bird watching, the national park is a home of more than 400 bird species including migratory, endemic, near endemic, aquatic species and more than 50 birds of prey which makes it one of the birders paradise. Bird watching in Lake Manyara national park is carried out with an experienced park guide is various areas such as the ground water forest, floodplains of Lake Manyara, acacia woodland and along the edge of Lake Manyara. During birding bird lovers will be able to spot bird species like black herons, African fish eagles, greater flamingos, little stints, pied kingfishers, pink backed pelicans, silvery cheeked hornbill, yellow billed stork, grey crowned crane, crowned eagles, abdim’s stork, African spoonbill, sacred ibis, spur winged goose among others.
Guided nature walks, Lake Manyara national park offers guided nature walks an adventurous activity where visitors will explore the park following different walking trails on foot accompanied with an armed park guide. During the nature walk you will get close and personal with different animals such as giraffes, elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks among others in their natural habitats, relax and enjoy the quiet and peaceful environment, have views of colorful butterflies, insects, sunrise, listen to birds singing in the tress, view different plant and tree species among others.
Mountain biking, this is an incredible activity where you will be able to explore the park on a bicycle with an experienced park guide who is well conversant with trails to follow and different wildlife in the park. During mountain biking you will ride around the park where you will have great views of plant and tree species, animals, bird species, ride through the village of Mto wa Mbu, farmlands, schools, health centers, interact with the local people among others.
Cultural tours, this is an exciting activity where visitors visit the local communities around the park. During the cultural tour you will visit Karatu village where you will be able to interact with the local people, know more about their way of living, culture, history, dress code, visit their farmlands, schools, taste their traditional dishes, listen to ancient stories, enjoy their traditional dances, music among others.
Accommodation in Lake Manyara national park
There are a wide number of accommodation facilities ranging from luxury, midrange, budget and campsites where you can stay during your safari in Lake Manyara national park and they include Lake Manyara Serena Safari lodge, African Sunrise lodge, Karatu Safari camp, Escarpment Luxury lodge, Lake Manyara Kilimamoja lodge, Acacia Farm lodge, Andbeyond Lake Manyara Tree lodge, Manyara Wildlife Safari camp, Kirurumu Manyara lodge, Octagon lodge, Burudika Manyara lodge, Twiga camp, Lake Manyara wildlife lodge among others.
When to visit Lake Manyara national park
Lake Manyara national park can be visited anytime throughout the year though the best period is in the dry season during the months of June to October because this is the time when there is less rainfall in the park, therefore, vegetation will be less hence giving you an opportunity to clearly view abundant animals grazing in the open woodland plains.
The national park can also be visited in the wet season during the period of March to May and November because this is the best time for bird watching where bird lovers will be able to view migratory bird species.