Lake Manyara National Park Tanzania
Lake Manyara National Park is one of the top Tanzania safari destinations in the northern safari circuit. The park is situated between Lake Manyara and the Great Rift Valley in the Arusha and Manyara regions. Lake Manyara National Park covers an area of 325 square kilometers (125 sq mi) with 230 square kilometers of Lake Surface. Lake Manyara where the park borrows its name is a shallow alkaline lake at an altitude of 960m (3,150 ft) formed in a depression in the Rift Valley system. When full the lake is a maximum of 10 ft deep and covers two-thirds of the park.
The history of the now park comes all the way from 1957 when a game reserve was established in an area that was formerly known for sports hunting. In 1960, it was given a national park status and in 1974 about 550 hectares (1,400 acres) were added to the southern end.
Located about 126 km south west of Arusha capital which is Tanzania’s safari capital and can be accessed by road using a safari vehicle on a road drive of approximately one and half hours. There is also the Lake Manyara Airport for those who prefer flights.
Best time to visit Lake Manyara National Park
The best months of the year to visit the park for a Tanzania tour is during the dry season in the months with the lowest rainfall. These are the months of July, August and September which are the driest months of the year and the warmest months that are January, February and March. These months have the lowest average number of rainy days as well as the highest average high temperature.
There are two rainy seasons with the short rains from November to December and the long rains from March to May. The wettest month with the highest rainfall is April with the highest number of rainy days. During the rainy season it is not recommended to undertake tours to Lake Manyara National Park since wildlife viewing isn’t that amazing with the weather disrupting viewing and photography.
Attractions in Lake Manyara National Park
Famously visited on short and long wildlife safaris in Tanzania, the park is home to several flora and fauna species. One of the key attractions that the park is famous of are the tree climbing lions. Tree climbing lions are only found in a few places of Africa and spotting them here is a highlight for any safari. Here are the attractions in the park;
- Bird species
More than 350 bird species have been seen within the boundaries of the park. Lake Manyara Park along with the areas within and outside the national park along with the Marang Forest Reserve on the adjacent uplands are included in the Lake Manyara Important Bird Area. Lake Manyara is known for flocks of thousands flamingos that feed along the edge of the lake in the wet season. Both the lesser and Greater flamingos can be present in the park in large numbers. There are several water birds. Birds like the pink backed pelican, yellow-billed stork and grey heron can be spotted in the park. Over 40 species of birds of prey are known to be in the park and these include the palm-nut vulture and the Ayre’s hawk eagle.
Wild animals in the park
There wildlife species that move through Lake Manyara National Park and these include the wildebeest, zebras, Thomson’s gazelle and Grant’s gazelle. The large herds of wildebeest and other animals from the Mto wa Mbu Game Controlled Area enter the park from the north for short periods. The Cape buffalo, giraffe, hippopotamus, baboon, warthog and elephant can be spotted in the park. Predators like the lion, leopard, African wild cat, spotted hyena, black-backed jackal, honey badger and mongoose. The cheetah and African golden cat are sighted occasionally.
Lake Manyara National Park tours can be undertaken on short tours or customized in trips that cover parks like Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater. For more Africa tour experiences, tailor in a short gorilla trekking safari in Uganda or Rwanda gorilla tour and have an encounter with the great mountain gorillas as they live in their natural habitats. Charter flights can be organized to connect the Tanzania tour to either Uganda or Rwanda in the shortest time possible for such memorable lifetime experiences.