Lake Manyara national park is one of the most striking national parks in Tanzania boasting with tree climbing lions not recorded any where in East Africa apart from the ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. Lake Manyara national park offers breath taking scenic views of the steep rift valley escarpment and the mighty splendid soda ash lake which has been called the most beautiful lake in Africa by many who make it to this park. It is one of the top Tanzania safari destinations.
Lake Manyara national park derived it’s name from a plant known as “Emanyara” a local word of the Masai speaking people, the plant in English is Euphorbia tirucalli, theMasai mainly use this plant to protect their boundaries. The park was established in 1960.
Lake Manyara national park covers an area of 386 squared kilometers while the lake covers 262 kilometers squared, it was declared as man and biosphere reserve in 1981. The park is about 100 kilometers from Arusha town in northern Tanzania.
Lake Manyara national park contains two viewing points, here you can view the entire ravishing park at this points visitors can get out of their vehicles and stand on the raised platforms and experience the wilderness. At the Hippo pool view point, you can view the rift valley wall, animals like buffalos and zebras, waterfalls and vast land.
The other view point is Lake Manyara view point where you can see spectacular landscapes, the indigenous lake filled with flamingoes, the rift valley escapement and the ground forest.
Game viewing: Apart from the glorious scenic views , the park is endowed with animals such as; the famous tree climbing lions only found in this park in Tanzania, giraffes, elephants, zebras, wildebeests, impalas, Kiplinger’s, baboons and many more. Night game drives can also be carried out with an armed tourist ranger, those who would love to engage in the night game drives should always book in advance.
Bird watching: Lake Manyara national park boasts with various bird species and birding spots like the ground water forests, it harbors over 350 bird species some of the birds to expect are flamingoes, storks, cormorants, herons, egret, pink backed pelicans, glossy ibis, sacred ibis, white faced whistling duck, fulvous whistling duck, long crested eagle, grey crowned crane, spoonbills among others bird watching can be done at the lake, woodlands and forests. The species that can be found in the woodlands are; created Guinea fowls, noisy silver cheeked hornbill and crown eagles to mention a few. November to July is the best time for birding.
Canoeing: Lake Manyara is a very charming lake with silver bowls of salt deposits sustain it’s ability to contract with seasons, canoeing on the magnificent lake will expose you to Georgiou’s of the steep escarpment patched with ever green forests as well as a lot of water birds in the lake and the beautiful woodlands at the shores. This activity is normally done from 7am to 5pm east African time.
Camping: Camping at Lake Manyara can be done at various camping sites, the park has got a total of five campsites and of which three are private while the two are public, visitors who would like to engage in this activity are advised to carry their camping gears. The public campsites have got washrooms, toilets and water for cooking availed.
Guided nature walks: The guided nature walks can be done from different walking trails within the park such as the canopy walkway and majimoto board walk way. This walk ways will expose tourists to nature as they come across slot of birdlife, lake, plant life and great photo opportunities.
Picnics: For tourist interested in picnicking, lake Manyara national park has got three well established picnic sites with well kempt bathrooms and toilets, you can enjoy your day tour from one of the picnic sites accompanied with a packed lunch box, this sites have sitting arrangements in form of dinings and also provide excellent views of nature and wildlife.
Lake Manyara national park can be visited throughout the year however, the best time for viewing wildlife is from June to October and for bird enthusiasts the best period is from November to July. Lake Manyara national park can be accessed by road or air.
Accommodation at Lake Manyara national park varies from camping to luxurious lodges which are exclusive comfortable and provide mouth watering meals, where to stay will depend on tourists choice and budget. Some of the lodes are lake Manyara kilimamoja lodge, escarpment luxury lodge, Isoitok camp, morona hill lodge, Haven nature safari camp and pamziko safari lodge and spa among the rest.