Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park is one among national parks found in Arusha region and it is only the national park where tree-climbing lions are found. The park has a size of 330 square kilometers (127 square miles), of which up to 200 square kilometres (77 square miles) is the lake when water levels are high. Lake Manyara national park was approved and certified to the national park in the 1960s.
Lake Manyara national park was given a name from a tree known as euphorbia tirucalli which pronounced emanyara in Maasai language. These tree species were used by the Maasai to protect their cattle from thieves, predators and poachers. Having qualified with all necessary requirements that Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) want, it was gazette as the national park in the year of 1960 and being the second national park after Serengeti National Park. This is an area where tourists experience unforgettable safaris because the park has a variety of bird species, larger mammals, plants and insects.
Location: Lake Manyara National Park is located in the northern circuit of tourism in Tanzania and is located on the road to Ngorongoro and Serengeti national park. It is 126km/78miles away from Arusha city that takes almost 1.5 hours by car.
High diversity of wildlife: Animals of different species and size are available in Lake Manyara national park and make it the best place of doing tours. The park has a variety number of big mammals like elephant, lion, buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, antelopes, impalas, baboons and monkeys. All these plus other many small animals are in the park to satisfy tourists’ expectation of wildlife viewing.
Lake Manyara: This carried the name and theme of the park, Lake Manyara is alkaline soda lake that contains various numbers of aquatic species and terrestrial species use the lake for ecological reasons. This alkaline soda lake is among of lakes that the rift valley crosses.
Tree climbing lion: Lake Manyara national park is also a place in the world where this species of tree climbing lions are found. Tourists have been enjoying this wonderful experience in the park throughout the year
Hot spring: This is a wonderful phenomenon in Lake Manyara national park. The incidence is due to the geothermally heated groundwater that rises from the uppermost part of the earth (the crust). Hot spring in Lake Manyara national park heats above 60 degrees Celsius that an egg can be boiled successfully with some parts having yellowish of sulphur. Hot springs are located on a narrow strip of the ground beneath rift valley escarpment and western shore of Lake Manyara.
Birds species diversity: Various birds species are widely distributed in the park. Birds such as flamingos, yellow-billed storks, marabou storks, pelicans, weavers and more others. More than 400 bird species are available in the park and this makes it possible to do birding tourism.
Great Rift Valley Escarpment: The escarpment is about 1600 meters and above, this become one of the attractions in the park because of the wall of rift valley beautify the scenery of Lake Manyara National Park. The Great Rift Valley starts from Jordan and cut across to several lakes like Manyara and Natron.
Things to do inside and outside the park
While in Lake Manyara National Park tourists will have a chance to do the following activities that will make their tour unforgettable. Things to do in the park and outside the park are Game driving where jeeps are used to ensure this whereby tourists will take about two hours to drive inside the park with professional tour guides.
Night game driving where special jeeps are used during night game drives in the park because some animals are nocturnal so it is very difficult to find them during day time rather than at night because Lake Manyara National Park management ensures that tourists are satisfied to see almost everything found in the park. Canoeing on lake Manyara by using locally made canoes is another thing to do in the park where tourists will do while the level of water is adequate enough especially during the rainy season of March to late May.
Cultural tours this is done outside the park in Mto wa Mbu village where cultural tourism programmes like Mto wa Mbu CTP is found. Visitors will get a chance to experience the local community way of life and share cultural values and African locally cooked cuisine
Mountain biking also is conducted by using special mountain bikes. Hiking to nearby hills and rift valley escarpment for adventure and to make one’s body fit, Picnic sites in the park, Forest walks and Treetop walk/Canopy Walk are organized but this will be done under the close guidance of park anger to ensure the safety of tourists.
Bird watching can be both at the lake and in forest areas where a lot of bird species will be seen and sometimes binoculars are used, Conference tourism at park bridge resort, Twiga Lodge and campsite. Also, another activity is Fishing where tourists can do spot fishing at lake Manyara where catfish and tilapia are found.
Accommodation facilities are present inside the park and nearby places of the park. Inside the park there are various areas where tourists are accommodated, there are many campsites in which tourists may camp. Apart from that, there are luxury tree-houses style camp and public bandas.
Outside the park, there are many tourist lodges and guest houses and also camps in Mto wa Mbu village. Some of the lodges are such as Twiga lodge and campsite, Fig Tree Lodge, Makuti Lodge and so many others. Also, the campsite outside the park includes a beach holiday campsite, Nsya campsite and so far. Not only that but also the presence of Serena hotel and Beyond tree lodge are there to serve tourists.
Best time to visit Lake Manyara national park: Due to its geographical location, tourists can visit the park is all time around the year
How to get there
Accessibility to Lake Manyara national park is by using either cars or charter flights. From Kilimanjaro International Airport (K.I.A) visitors may opt to use cars (special jeeps for safari) from K.I.A to Arusha and finally to Mto wa mbu where this national park is found. The charter flights can be used to transport tourists from K.I.A or from Arusha Regional Airport to Manyara airport where the tour jeep will be used to rich at the park.