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Lake Manyara National Park reviews

25 reviews

“A scenic gem with the eastern and western escarpments of the Rift Valley surrounding it” - Ken Firestone

A soda lake with flamingos and diverse species

Views: 724 Visited: Jan 2014 Reviewed: May 26, 2015

Lake Manyara is a scenic gem with the eastern and western escarpments of the Rift Valley surrounding it. I have been there many times.

The national park is known for its resident forest that is fed by an underground water forest, keeping the park green throughout the year. This attracts both migratory and wetland birds. Two-thirds of the lake is dominated by shallow alkaline-saline soda waters. These unique waters are formed by Rift Valley heat causing rapid evaporation of Manyara's waters, leaving high concentrations of saline (salt) and sodium carbonate. This creates an ideal environment for the micro-organism cyan bacteria to thrive which produces blue-green benthic algae. This attracts flamingos that feed on it. Whereas these caustic waters that can reach pH levels of 9, too toxic for most other creatures, the flamingos have adapted to it and the benthic algae provide a year round food source for them.

Manyara's most common species in addition to flamingos are large troops of baboons, blue / Sykes monkeys, tree-climbing lions, giraffes, impalas, Grant and Thomson gazelles and hyrax.

Mto wa Mbu is the town near to the national park with a population of 18,000 people from 85 different tribes. This makes it one of the most culturally rich towns in Africa. This cultural confluence makes it a center for a variety of multicultural activities. Mto wa Mbu village walks, mountain bike rides, forest walks on the Rift Valley western escarpment, bicycling around the lake and to waterfalls for the well fit, canoeing, and touring a local brewery. Night game drives are allowed at Manyara but should be booked in advance.

I would not recommend Manyara the end of the dry season (Feb-March) as it dries up and many of its wildlife migrate elsewhere. I would highly recommend it at other times of the year.

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