Expert Reviews – Lake Manyara NP

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Tanzania in microcosm
Overall rating
5/5

The dramatic setting of Lake Manyara was once extolled by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest that I had seen in Africa” and it is difficult to take issue with this bold assertion. The lake, a fluctuating alkaline body set within a shallow sump, is hemmed in by the 600m-high golden-brown Rift Valley escarpment, and is also overlooked by a scattering of extinct volcanoes that rise in splendid isolation from the open plains of the Maasai Steppes. With habitats ranging from lush groundwater forest and open water to acacia woodland and open grassy floodplains, Manyara offers a microcosmic introduction to the habitats and wildlife of northern Tanzania. In my experience, it also provides a perfect introduction to the country’s stunning birdlife, with a good possibility of ticking 100 species in one day, including several birds of prey, massive forest hornbills, large flocks of pink flamingos and flotillas of pelicans. Mammalian highlights include the legendary tree-climbing lions of Manyara, which frequently ascend into the canopy of acacias (though these days you are as likely to see them in arboreal action in the Seronera area of Serengeti) along with the unusually large-tusked and relaxed elephants, and the hundred-strong baboon troops that lounge alongside the road through the groundwater forest. A reliable hippo pool can now be viewed from a stilted wooden platform reached via a road through an area of marsh that offers superb conditions for aquatic bird photography, using your car as a hide.

Average Expert Rating

  • 3.6/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

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