Lake Manyara, formed in a depression of the Rift Valley System, might not be one of the largest or most popular parks in Tanzania. However, after our one-day visit, we can guarantee that it is 100% worth a spot on your itinerary.
Lake Manyara’s Waters
This shallow lake is filled with alkaline water and is insidea closed basin with no outflow. At one of the most beautiful viewpoints overlooking the lake, you can find a beautiful wooden platform built on top of the water, allowing you to get closer and further into the lake.
And just under the platform, you can also see (and even touch) the hot spring waters of Maji Moto, with temperatures that get up to about 40ºC!
What really makes Lake Manyara so special? To start, Like Manyara is the only park in the region that is green all year round.
In other parks, animals need to migrate to find viable sources of water, but Lake Manyara conserves good water levels all year round, which allows animals to live there permanently.
Furthermore, this constant greenery makes the park lush and attractive for visitors any time of the year.
At Lake Manyara, you’ll also feel like you’re visiting different places at once due to the various habitats that it houses. There are swamp waters where you’ll find buffalos and hippos hanging out, forested areas with lions, elephants, and giraffes, grassy plains with flocks of birds flying about, and an extensive area of the lake where hundreds/thousands of flamingos (and other large birds) are placidly passing the time.
And the spot for lunch? A picturesque picnic-stop that overlooks the lake in all its tranquility.
The animals you’ll encounter at Lake Manyara are fascinating.
Sure, this isn’t where you’ll find the majority of popular predators during your safari trip, but given all of the park’s different habitats and landscapes, every couple of miles/kilometers you can expect to find completely different animals.
Lake Manyara is famously known for its Tree Climbing Lions. Yes, you read that right – lions that regularly climb trees and spend hours there, suspended in mid-air!
Encountering them is a bit rare, and your guide will probably let you know that as you enter the park. In fact, even the entrance at the park will let you know of the tree-climbing lion.
Nevertheless, with a bit of luck (which we had on our visit), you’ll be able to spot these majestic lions relaxing atop extended branches and above jeeps of curious tourists.
You’ll also find a variety of non-predator animals at this park: families of elephants, buffalos, wildebeest, hippos, giraffes, zebras, meerkats, warthogs, and numerous kinds of birds (over 400 species just in this park alone!).
All in all, Manyara is an overall amazing experience and a park that you can easily and thoroughly explore in one day. And, for those who don’t have enough time to go on the full Serengeti experience, it’s a great option for a quick safari trip.