Located beneath the cliffs of the Manyara Escarpment, on the edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park offers varied ecosystems, incredible bird life, and breathtaking views. Known for its elephants and tree-climbing lions, Lake Manyara is also excellent for flamingos and other fascinating birds in and around the soda lake. A Lake Manyara safari is a unique and fascinating experience as the Park offers vast ecological variety in a small area, featuring a ground-water forest, acacia tortilis woodland and hot springs called Maji Moto.
From the entrance gate, the road winds through an expanse of lush jungle-like groundwater forest where hundred-strong baboon troops lounge nonchalantly along the roadside, blue monkeys scamper nimbly between the ancient mahogany trees, dainty bushbuck tread warily through the shadows, and outsized forest hornbills honk cacophonously in the high canopy.
Contrasting with the intimacy of the forest is the grassy floodplain and its expansive views eastward, across the alkaline lake, to the jagged blue volcanic peaks that rise from the endless Maasai Steppes. Large buffalo, wildebeest and zebra herds congregate on these grassy plains, as do giraffes – some so dark in coloration that they appear to be black from a distance.
Inland of the floodplain, a narrow belt of acacia woodland is the favoured haunt of Manyara’s legendary tree-climbing lions and impressively tusked elephants. Squadrons of banded mongoose dart between the acacias, while the diminutive Kirk’s dik-dik forages in their shade. Pairs of klipspringer are often seen silhouetted on the rocks above a field of searing hot springs that steams and bubbles adjacent to the lakeshore in the far south of the park.
Manyara provides the perfect introduction to Tanzania’s birdlife. More than 400 species have been recorded, and even a first-time visitor to Africa might reasonably expect to observe 100 of these in one day. Highlights include thousands of pink-hued flamingos on their perpetual migration, as well as other large waterbirds such as pelicans, cormorants and storks.
What to see and Do
From soaring groundwater forests and a tranquil lake, to the mountain escarpment of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park boasts an incredible wealth of habitats and diverse African wildlife. Guests are offered an exciting, interpretive safari experience in game-rich surrounds which include large herds of elephantand buffalo.An incredible array of bird life thrives on the alkaline soda of Lake Manyara. Pink flamingo stoop and graze by the thousands, colourful specks against the grey minerals of the lake shore. Also seen here are Yellow-billed storks and herons, all merging together to provide a spectacular show to the onlooker. Even reluctant bird-watchers will find something to watch and marvel at within the national park.
Where to Stay
Lake Manyara Tree Lodge:
Offers 10 stylish tree-houses built on stilts offering a peaceful and private experience amongst the boughs of mahogany trees. The rooms are elegant and spacious with sitting areas and viewing decks. En-suite bathrooms offer a bath, outdoor shower, twin hand basins and a private toilet. The central areas of the lodge offer a friendly and intimate atmosphere and consist of an interactive kitchen, a sitting and dining area overlooking a forest boma. The Lodge offers a Safari Shop with community craftwork and a range of lodge branded safari clothing.
Kirurumu Tented Camp:
Offers comfortable accommodation in 22 tented rooms with en-suite facilities with hot and cold running water and electricity. Guests can choose between twin rooms, double rooms, family rooms as well as a Honeymoon Suite. The main area at Kirurumu Tented Lodge consists of a bar with a sun-deck offering spectacular views of the rift valley as well as a dining room with a waiter service.