Manyara, the name of this park was derived from Masai tribe, emanyara, a wild plant named Pencil cactus, euphoribia turcalii. This plant was formerly used by the local people to fence their homesteads, protecting themselves from wild animals which loitered from this park. This plant produces milky liquid which are poisonous when enter the eye. Carnivorous like lions, hyenas, hunting dogs, leopards could not break nor jump the fence to attack domestic animals at night as this poisonous liquid causes blindness if not washed by clean water urgently.
Situated at the foot of the Great Rift Valley that stretches for about 8500km, Lake Manyara National Park was established in 1960, Before, in 1920s, it was an area of sport hunting and in 1957 it was announced as a game reserve. By then, it had an area of 330 sq km where the lake was greater than the land. Now, Lake Manyara National Park’s size is 647 sq km, of which up to two third is lake. It is located in northern Tanzania, some 126 km west of Arusha along Mto wa Mbu town, a 2 hours drive from Arusha. It is close to Tarangire Park, around 40 km drive.
This park is evergreen as its water comes from wall of the Rift Valley as springs. The tropical forest and acacia forest always benefit from the permanent rivers that flows to the lake. The cold atmosphere from the forests making good habitat of the baboons, moneys and elephants as they get enough food throughout the year. Antelopes also roam around eating green nutritious grasses and leaves in the forest. The leopards here get easy hunts as impalas and other antelopes loiter in the forest.
The park is famous of tree climbing lions, escaping the cold ground and ants, if you are lucky you will find them on the trees.
The park is comprising the large groups of elephants and hippos pool.
Famous for is numerous flock of flamingo bird, cormorants pelicans, storks. It is estimated around 300 birds species are in this park. Some are migrators. Best for bird watching and photography.
There is a small savanna area where wildebeest, gazelles, buffaloes, zebras and other herbivorous get short grass.
At the southern part, there is a hot water springs where tourist can walk and feel the water. The underground water from the highlands passes through hot rocks heated by magma underneath causes water pressure that makes it find its way out.
Activities that one can do in Manyara park
Guided walking safaris
Day game drive
Night game drive
How to Get there
By road from Arusha,
Time to visit Lake Manyara park
for large mammals: Dry season (July-October);
for bird watching: Wet season (November-June), the waterfalls and canoeing.
Accommodation around Lake Manyara Park
Campsites, luxury camps luxury tented camp and lodges.
List of Safari Programs/itineraries that has Tarangire Park
All these itineraries can be tailor made to luxury, budget or mid range.