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Location and Size Lake Manyara

You are sitting mesmerized by the rippling waters of Lake Manyara. Before you are thousands of Flamingos flocking for their supper on the serene waters. Just below the hazy waterline on the opposite edge of the lake, supported on a mobile forest of spindly long legs, they form a second horizon of brilliant pink dots. You can hear their call and feel the alkaline breeze. It is your Tanzanian Holiday, and you are sitting by Lake Manyara.

Why not go on a Tanzanian Holiday and sit there for real? The shallow lake is positioned to the East of the African continent, slightly northward within the Tanzanian territory. Arusha is the nearest city to stop and plan your Tanzania Safari to visit Lake Manyara. The city is nearly 6 hours ride from Dodoma, the Tanzanian capital. During periods of rainfall, Lake Manyara swells and dominates nearly 250 square kilometres of the Lake Manyara National Park. Shrouded by a jungle canopy of acacia, date palms, figs and mahogany, the park covers about 350 square kilometres of Tanzanian land.

Special Features Lake Manyara

The entrance and exit to Lake Manyara National Park are both the same. A Tanzania Budget Safari would take you into the heart of the park and bring you back to where you started within an hour. But once inside, the breath-taking scenery and wildlife would only compel you to spend a bit more time.

On either side of the jeep track, Lake Manyara National Park harbours an animal population teeming with deer, elephants and monkeys. The ground water forest, grassy floodplain, rocky escarpment and acacia woodland provides a natural habitat for them. You only get an occasional glimpse during an hour’s drive but if you wait in silence, they will come out to greet you.

The varieties of deer and antelope, Bushbuck, Waterbuck, Lesser Kudu, Klipspringer and rabbit-sized Kirk’s Dik-Dik are some of the wildlife you will see. You will also experience the sight of the magnificent wild elephants at close quarters. Occasionally they will walk majestically across the road, ignoring your presence entirely. Some of them are massive, with fiercely gleaming white tusks.

Sightings of big cats are rare. You have to venture deeper into the forest to see them, preferably accompanied by an armed guide. Lions and lionesses in Lake Manyara National Park display a unique sleeping style in contrast to the carnivores in other countries. How they have adopted it remains unexplained. Climbing a tree and going into a deep sleep on one of its boughs, with all four legs dangling on either side, seems to be a regular practice. They remind you of drunken sailors, falling asleep in a crow’s nest. It is a cute scene of a big lion precariously sleep-balancing himself on a tree-top. Lots of visitors come to enjoy this mysterious behaviour of the Lake Manyara carnivores.

Once you are at the side of Lake Manyara, the most noticeable feature is the Rift Valley Escarpment seen far away. It is a sheer cliff face beyond Lake Manyara, which adds its final touches of reddish brown to the scenic beauty of the place. During the wet season, the sky becomes dense and blends with the Rift Valley Escarpment that you can never tell it apart. You would never regret and can never compare the scenic beauty of Lake Manyara to any other place in Tanzania.

Why to Go There Lake Manyara

There are several reasons for a Tanzania Safari. One is its location en route to larger game reserves in Tanzania. If you are planning to visit Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Serengeti for some quality game viewing of the big five, then Lake Manyara can be visited on the way.  A Tanzania Budget Safari into Lake Manyara National Park would not demand too much of your time, and you can be rest assured that you would not come out of it disappointed. You can either charter a plane or use a scheduled flight from capital Dodoma to reach Arusha, which is the closest city to Lake Manyara. A drive to Arusha is also possible. It takes at least 6 hours.

Secondly, the Tanzania Budget Safari is dedicated to watching elephants. When you look at these massive and stalwart animals, they will look at you in return and may even come terrifyingly close enough. The Tanzanian elephant is relatively calm and behaves very well with visitors. What lets you down sometimes is the way they walk past you like you never exist. Attacks are rare, but always recommended that you employ a guide.

Not only are there elephants, but a thriving wildlife concentration is present along the shores of Lake Manyara. Zebras, giraffes, wildebeest roam on the Massai Steppes made of expansive grassy floodplains eastwards. Different types of antelopes and deer wander in herds under the shade of lush green acacia woodlands. Olive Baboon and Blue monkey linger overhead, feeding slowly as they move from tree to tree.

Lake Manyara National Park is comparatively smaller than other wildlife reserves, but it promises many wildlife sightings just as the rest of them. There is a secret to this. Adjoining Lake Manyara National Park is the Kwakuchinja Wildlife Corridor, which lets wild animals migrate from one game reservoir to another. That way, there is an additional chance for visitors on a Tanzania Safari to Lake Manyara to sight animals from adjacent game parks as well.

Lake Manyara is worth a visit due to its incredible birdlife populated in abundance for the pleasure of ardent bird-watchers. With more than 400 avian species being recorded, you will no doubt see half of them even on your first trip.   Your patience, of course, will be rewarded and can turn out to be surprisingly satisfying. Water birds are abundant. Flamingos, pelicans, cormorants, stork and the grey headed kingfisher wing above Lake Manyara, calling out their presence time and again. Raptors and long crested eagles soar above the jungle, seeking out their prey.

When to Go and the Weather Lake Manyara

Tanzania is a tropical country. Monsoon winds primarily determine its weather. Hence, its climate is either wet or dry.  You can expect short spells of rainfall in November and December. The long wet season settles during March, April and May. That means rain prevails from November to May. It is the ideal time for canoeing and water sports. You would also encounter waterfalls along the face of the Rift Valley Escarpment, and it is also a beautiful time to visit the hot springs of the park.

June, July, August, September and October are notably dry months ideal for a Tanzania Safari. A short dry season settles in January and February, but rain can occur. So ideally the long drought period begins in June and lasts till late October. It is the best time worthwhile to sight wildlife.