Lake Manyara national park - Gombe Track Safaris and Tours Tanzania Ltd

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Size: 330 sq km (127 sq miles)
Location: In Northern Tanzania. The entrance gate lies 1.5 hours (126km/80 miles) west of Arusha.

Located beneath the cliffs of the Manyara Escarpment, on the edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park in northern Tanzania near Arusha Town. The park offers varied ecosystems, incredible bird life, and breathtaking views. Often visited for an afternoon at the start of a wildlife safari and/or a morning at the end, as it lies on route to and from Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, Lake Manyara is well worth a stop in its own right. Its ground water forests, bush plains, baobob strewn cliffs, and algae-streaked hot springs offer incredible ecological variety in a small area, rich in wildlife and incredible numbers of birds. Stretching for 50km along the base of the rusty-gold 600-metre high Rift Valley escarpment, Lake Manyara is a scenic gem, with a setting extolled by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest I had seen in Africa”.

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. The alkaline soda of Lake Manyara is home to an incredible array of bird life that thrives on its brackish waters. Pink flamingo stoop and graze by the thousands, colourful specks against the grey minerals of the lake shore. 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. Even reluctant bird-watchers will find something to watch and marvel at within the national park. A safari in Lake Manyara provides the perfect introduction to Tanzania's birdlife.

Wildlife
Lake Manyara is a small but scenic national park, excellent for birdwatching and a good area to find elephant, as well as the potential excitement of spotting a legendary tree-climbing lion. Lake Manyara safaris offer many unique views including elephant, giraffe, buffalo and wildebeest can be found grazing in unexpected clearings or heading towards the water to drink or wash, and the rivers and riverbeds provide scenic vistas for possible animal spottings. Warthog seem to thrive here, growing notably fat and tuskered, and it is a natural playground for baboons and monkeys.

How To Get There

By road, charter or scheduled flight from Arusha Town, en route to Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.

What To Do
Game drives, canoeing when the water levels is sufficiently high. Cultural tours, mountain bike tours, abseiling and forest walks on the escarpment outside the park.

When To Do
Dry season (July-October) for large mammals; wet season (November-June) for bird watching, the waterfalls and canoeing.

Accommodation
One luxury treehouse-style camp, public bandas and campsites inside the park. One luxury tented camp and two lodges perched on the Rift Wall overlooking the lake. There are several guesthouses and campsites in nearby Mto wa Mbu.
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