Stretching for 50km along the base of the 600 metre high Rift Valley escarpment, Lake Manyara is a scenic jewel, with a setting celebrated by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest I had seen in Africa”.
The compact game viewing route through Manyara offers a diverse safari experience.
From the entrance gate, the road winds through an expanse of lush jungle like groundwater forests where hundreds of baboon troops lie around nonchalantly along the roadside, blue monkeys march around the ancient mahogany trees and bushbucks pace cautiously through the shadows. Contrasting with the intimacy of the forest is the grassy floodplain and its expansive views eastward, across the alkaline lake, to the rough blue volcanic peaks that rise from the endless Maasai Steppes. Large buffalo, wildebeest and zebra herds gather together on these grassy plains, as do giraffes.
Inland of the floodplain, a narrow belt of acacia woodland is the favorite hunting place of Manyara’s legendary tree climbing lions and impressively tusked elephants. Manyara provides the perfect introduction to Tanzania’s birdlife. 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.