Lake Manyara National Park, hailed as the “Home of Tree Climbing Lions,” beckons adventurers with its enchanting landscapes and diverse wildlife. Nestled in the embrace of nature, the park spans an expansive 648.7 square kilometers, offering a tapestry of experiences that etch unforgettable memories into the hearts of visitors.
The park takes its name from the indigenous Maasai language, where “Emanyara” refers to a unique plant known scientifically as Euphorbia tirucalli. This plant contributes to the lush green vegetation that characterizes the ground water forest, creating an idyllic setting for a safari like no other. The highlight of Lake Manyara National Park is undoubtedly the tree-climbing lions, an intriguing phenomenon where these majestic predators choose to rest in the branches of tall trees during the heat of midday.
Adding to the allure of the park is the presence of a soda lake, adorned with thousands of pink-hued flamingos that transform the landscape into a vibrant spectacle. The lake also hosts large water birds, creating a symphony of colors and life. Troops of baboons and blue monkeys add a playful element to the scenery, enhancing the overall safari experience.
Understanding the climate is crucial for planning a visit to the park. Lake Manyara experiences a bi-modal rainfall pattern, with short rains from November to December and long rains from February to May. The dry season spans from late June to October. Situated at an altitude ranging from 850 to 2000 meters, the park enjoys an annual average rainfall between 650 and 760mm.
Accessing Lake Manyara National Park
Accessing Lake Manyara National Park is convenient, with options for both road and air travel. By road, the park is 115 km from Arusha city, reachable via the Makuyuni-Ngorongoro road. Alternatively, scheduled flights to Manyara Airstrips provide a quick and scenic aerial route for visitors.
Activities in Lake Manyara National Park
Bird enthusiasts will find Lake Manyara National Park to be a haven, with over 390 bird species, including migrants and residents. Among them, 50 species of birds of prey, raucous forest hornbills, and the mesmerizing pink-hued flamingos create a vibrant avian tapestry. The park’s hot springs, heated by volcanic activity to 76.5 degrees Celsius, not only contribute to the scenery but also serve as a crucial food source for lesser flamingos, with mineral-rich waters believed to hold curative properties.
Day game drives along the lower slopes of the great rift valley provide sightings of wildlife such as elephants, buffalos, antelopes, lions, leopards, and giraffes. For a unique perspective, night game drives offer the opportunity to witness nocturnal animals and birds in their natural habitat, creating an immersive experience akin to stepping into a different world.
Canoeing provides a tranquil exploration of the park, offering close encounters with aquatic and bird species while enjoying the scenic views of the steep escarpment and evergreen forests. Bird watching enthusiasts can revel in the park’s status as a birding hotspot, with the chance to observe up to 100 different species of birds in a single day.