Lake Manyara, Tanzania
An unusual, special and exciting safari will take you to this African wonder, Lake Manyara, Tanzania. It is named after a plant, emanyara, which is very common in this region. Maasai people use it as a fence for their camps.
Lake Manyara is not a big lake. Only 50 km long, 16 km wide, it is though the central part of a beautiful environment. Such a beautiful region must be protected. In fact it became a National Park in 1981.
The environment of Lake Manyara
Thanks to the protected Park, both plants and fauna of Lake Manyara grow in a safe and constantly evolving habitat. Among primary forests, dense forests and parts of open savannah live elephants, monkeys, zebras, giraffes, hundreds species of birds – like many-coloured parrots and the beautiful pink flamingos.
The lions of Lake Manyara are famous throughout Africa, because they are among the few ones able to climb trees, while they hunt. It is not rare to see also the fast leopards, predators that share territory and hunting areas with lions.
Going south, you come across a volcanic area. Here, thermal springs make the water temperature reach 60°C.
Men and the lake
The landmark town of Lake Manyara is Mto Wa Mbu, 11.000 inhabitants. For the African culture this is quite a small town but for tourists it is the best place to organize their safari. You can go for safaris also at night, in Lake Manyara National Park. But make sure you have a local expert guide to lead you along the way.
Mto Wa Mbu is also the town of reference for safaris to other local National Parks, as Serengeti and Ngorongoro. They cultivate bananas, here, and you can taste and buy them at the local food market, a nice and colourful open-air location which is a primary tourist attraction. Locals do respect the lake and its animals. Their experience and love for nature will make your safaris safe and interesting.
The real city near here is Arusha, the capital of the lake’s region. It offers more services and conveniences than Mto Wa Mbu, though not the same charme and the same proximity to the lake as the small town.
Lake Manyara in literature
Lake Manyara is “the most beautiful lake in Africa”. These words do not come from a tourist but from Ernest Hemingway, in his book Green Hills of Africa (1935). The author wrote this diary-book after a long African safari which brought him to this lake as well. The emotions he felt as he admired Lake Manyara were made immortal on those pages forever.
Information about the lake
To reach lake Manyara you must first take an intercontinental flight to Dar Es Salaam or Zanzibar. Then a local flight to Kilimanjaro Airport, not far from Arusha. From Arusha you can get to the National Park by small local airplanes or by car – better jeep cars, organized for the safaris.
The dry season (June to October) is the best time for a safari if you want to meet the big African animals of the Park.