Lake Manyara


Lake Manyara is a very special park. It lies in the shadow of the rift valley and has an amazing diverse ecology. The walls of the reddish brown escarpment loom 1,950 feet high on the eastern horizon from which many waterfalls spill over the cliff and hot springs bubble to the surface in the south. The soda lake attracts considerable birdlife, and its surrounding terrain contains such a rich mosaic of different habitats that it supports a large number of animals.

The park is accessed by road via the village of Mto wa Mbu, an eclectic market town where several tribes have converged to form a linguistic mix like nowhere else in Africa.

Lions in trees look down upon the wilderness which consists of monkeys, antelopes, zebras, hippos and crocodiles, buffalo, giraffe and a high density of elephants. Flamingoes colour the lake pink as they arrive to feed at the lake during their migration. A giraffe drifting across the horizon frozen in time by the pink burst of flamingoes on the lake is a memory that will always return to haunt. Add to this giant flocks of red billed quelea which gather in their thousands and waft over the water like a giant swarm of insects and you have an unforgettable safari moment.

Short rains are November and December when it gets hot and humid, and the long rains are from March to June. These are the best times for bird watching, waterfalls and canoeing. Typically it is dry in the cooler winter months of July to October, which is the best time to view game.

Facts

  • The park is 78 miles (125 km) west of Arusha town, from where it is a half an hour flight or a two-hour drive.
  • It attained National Park status in 1960.
  • The park is 127 miles² (330 km²) of which 89 miles² (230 km²) is Lake Manyara.
  • This is a malarial area.
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