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Lake Manyara National Park offers a wilderness experience in diverse habitats, from its Rift Valley soda lake to dense woodlands and steep mountainsides. Apart from a spectacular setting, the park is famous for its unusual tree-climbing lions and the vast elephant herds it was established to protect.
There are 11 ecosystems in all, ranging from savannah to marshland to the only evergreen rainforest in Tanzania. In the forest you can find baboons and other interesting animals where by the lake you can find flamingos (outside the rain season), pelicans and other water birds. Birders absolutely love Lake Manyara National Park because the big lake provides opportunities for observing over 300 migratory birds in fact. Among these are the long-crested eagle, the grey-headed kingfisher and other birds which are not found elsewhere in Tanzania. The park supports one of the highest biomass densities of large mammals in the world. The high chance to see elephant families moving through the forest as well as Lake Manyara’s famous population of tree-climbing lions are reason enough to include a visit to this park in the itinerary.
How about exploring the diverse habitats of the park? For bird lovers, stopping on the lakeshore to admire the different bird species and look for pink flamingo. On your game drive here you will marvel around acacia woodlands, grassy floodplains and tall forest in search of wildlife, including Manyara’s famous tree-climbing lions, which may be spotted resting on tree brunches.
200 individuals can make up an Olive baboon troop who are always up for a fun time, and dark male giraffes can be seen gazing over the rooftops of leafy trees. A subspecies of the common wildebeest, frolic on the lakeshore and massive buffalo bulls with impressive horns revel in the oozing muddy shallows. The elusive leopard and Cape clawless otter are occasionally encountered.
Rich in game and one of Tanzania’s smaller wilderness enclaves, Lake Manyara National Park is a magnificent terrain. A fascinating environment to be at one with nature, and really appreciate and gasp at the extraordinary world of wildlife.
Covering two thirds of the park with liquid depths is the beautiful Lake Manyara, while the rest of the Manyara ecosystem consists of lofty mountainside, flourishing marshlands, dense woodlands, sweeping grassy areas and hot springs.
Located inside the park is Tanzania’s first suspended walkway. The walkway is situated high among the trees and reaches a height of more than 18 meters above the ground in some places. This makes it one of the best places to observe exotic birds, mammals such as blue monkeys, and large baboons in their natural habitat.
The walkway can be accessed from near the entrance gates of the park, and you may visit in at any time during the day (6:00 am to 6:00 pm). The walkway is around 370 meters long, which means that it may take 30-60 minutes to complete the whole safari. From the walkway, you can also look down and observe elephants, buffalos, antelopes etc.
The park not only offers you the opportunity to hike through the dense trees but also to walk along Lake Manyara’s shore. You may choose any of the routes – each lasting 2-3 hours – targeting different areas, and wildlife.
This trail starts from the Hot Springs (around 38 kilometers from the entrance) and covers the savannah and acacia woodlands. This trail provides you the opportunity to view flamingos and mammals such as zebras, bushbucks, gazelles, giraffes, and elephants.
You may even choose to have a light walking safari near the shores of Lake Manyara. Here, you can see water-loving birds such as Flamingos, storks, herons, and pelicans.
Although you can visit the park all through the year, you should visit it during the wet season – November to June – for an optimal bird watching experience, or during July-October to view the larger mammals.
Accomodation: Where to stay near Lake Manyara National Park
White Water Rafting