Despite its small size (330 square km, almost two thirds occupied by the lake), Lake Manyara National Park offers a great biodeversity and varied environments; from equatorial forest to savannah, passing through marshy areas with hotwater springs (maji moto).
The short tour of Manyara offers a great initial taste of the Tanzanian safari.
Lake Manyara: what to expect on a Safari
Large flocks gather on the grassy plains, especially buffalos, wildebeests, zebras and giraffes; the latter, in this area, tend to have a black color. In the hinterland of the flood plain, a narrow belt of acacia woods is the favorite meeting place for the legendary climbing lions, also visible in the areas of Ndutu and Serengeti.
In addition to the lions, the park hosts the largest concentration of baboons worldwide and it is easy to spot large families of these primates. Probably, only in Arusha National Park there is the same possibility of spotting baboons as easily as here.
The swamps and marshes are regularly inhabited by hippos that protect themselves from the sun by spending most of the day under water.
Alkaline and sodium-rich water is home to an incredible variety of birds that thrives on its brackish waters. More than 400 species have been recorded and most sightings refer to thousands of pink-colored flamingos. These beautiful animals can be spotted here from October to August. During the month of August they migrate to Lake Natron to nest.
Lake Manyara: the migration
Lake Manyara is subject to migratory flows with the transition from the dry season to the rainy season. While in Tarangire, from November to mid-May, there is mainly a real exodus of zebras and wildebeests, in Lake Manyara the number of animals that migrates is very limited. Furthermore, some of the animals that abandon the Tarangire tend to migrate right here.
It is possible to carry out in the park walking safari as well as night safari; in the latter you can easily notice both species, that are difficult to see during the day, and nocturnal predators such as leopards and lions; a very special experience in close contact with wild nature.
In our opinion Lake Manyara certainly deserves to be visited, especially during the rainy season, from November to May.