Established in 1960 and covering an area of about 320 sq km the Lake Manyara National Park is situated at the bottom of the western floors of the Great Rift Valley. Despite the small size, the habitat of the lake and the park is very diverse. Around 210 sq km of the park area is covered by the lake what remains is a narrow strip of land that extends up to the steep rock walls of the rift valley escarpment that tower up to a height of 610 meters. The accessibility to the park is quite easy as it is just at a distance of 126 km from Arusha on the westward path. The road connection between the two places is very good and it takes just about one and a half hours to commute from Arusha to the park. This Tanzania safari has three distinctive habitats of open floodplains, luxuriant groundwater forests and the acacia woodlands. The park was mainly established to conserve the elephant population of the park which is found in very large numbers as compared to other safaris in Tanzania and indeed other parts of Africa. Other attractions of the distinctly diversified park are the tree climbing lions, cheetahs, baboons, blue monkeys, Masai giraffes and buffaloes. The tree climbing lion is a very sought after sight and many who come for the exclusive adventure safari wish to capture this unique on film. The habit of the lions in this region to climb trees has not yet been reasoned by the scientists and biologists as they continue to study the habitat and the surroundings. The entrance of the park is situated at the end where there is the groundwater forest and immediately upon entering one is introduced to the fauna of the forests like blue monkeys, bushbucks and the baboons. After the forests one finds the vast expansive flood plains that extend eastwards up to the alkaline lake and across it to the serrated volcanic peaks. These flood plains are ideal breeding grounds for the buffaloes, zebras and the wildebeest who gather around in herds on the grasslands. The Manyara’s famous tree climbing lion can be spotted in the narrow belt of the woodlands of acacia. These woodlands are also the habitat of the fine tusked elephants and the banded mongoose. The birdlife of the national park at Manyara Lake is also very rich with the total number of species crossing the 400 mark. The best part is that at any given time even a new visitor to the wilderness can spot at least 100 of these species. Amongst the more famous ones are the pink hued flamingos which are on their everlasting migration. In addition to these, there are also a number of water birds like the pelicans, storks and the cormorants that can be found in relatively large numbers. Apart from game viewing the park and the scenic alkaline lake offer a very relaxing and soothing environment for tourists and a perfect holiday spot. There are also various other activities that can be enjoyed around the lake like safari walks, swimming, horse riding, canoeing and of course photography. The small size of the park makes it possible for the tourists to embark on a quick safari of just over a couple of hours, as this is the time required to see all the major highlights of the national park at Manyara Lake. The great accommodation facility at the park makes it an ideal stop over before venturing to the other big national parks in the adjoining areas. There is a Manyara lodge which provides spacious rooms as well as food served in the open with wild animals in the close vicinity.
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