Located in the rift Valley region of Arusha in northern Tanzania, Lake Manyara National Park is one of the best national parks and the second oldest national park in Tanzania just after Serengeti national park. The Park was established in 1960 and named after the soda lake located within park the soda lake was also named after the most common tree species called Euphorbia Tirucalli around at the park. The tree species Euphorbia Tirucalli is Emanyara translated to Maasai language. The tree is very important to the Maasai people since it’s used for security purposes for their cattle against predators and thieves at large. The Park is one of the smallest national parks in Tanzania covers an area of 330 sq km with the soda ash lake surface covering an area of 230 square kilometers. The Park is well known for the Tree climbing lions which are rare and only found in two Tanzanian parks Manyara and Serengeti. The tree-climbing lions can also be found in Queen Elizabeth National Park located in Uganda, other attractions within the park include mammals, birds, and butterflies among others.
History of Lake Manyara national park
Before being established as lake Manyara national park, the area currently occupied by Manyara national park was used as a ground for sport hunting because of the various wildlife species that used to live within the area. it was then established as a game reserve in 1957 and three years later (1960), the reserve was then turned into a national park. Due to the great ecology protected within the park, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) then declared the park as one of its sites.
Attractions in lake Manyara national park
lake Manyara national park is filled with various animal species with a huge population of wildlife which makes it one of the best parks for wildlife in Tanzania. Lake Manyara park is also the only home for the rare tree-climbing lions in Tanzania. The Park has 4 members of the Africa big 5 wildlife animals only missing the African rhino. The wildlife in the park consists of different animals such as the tree-climbing lions, zebras, buffaloes, bushbucks, elephants, giraffes, impala, gazelle, hippos, predators like spotted hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, banded mongoose and also primates like blue monkeys, olive baboons and many more. The wildlife creatures usually inhabit the various vegetation zones of the park such as groundwater forests, floodplains, woodlands, and acacia, woodlands
With over 400 bird species including migratory birds, aquatic bird species, and forest birds, Lake Manyara is one of the best birding areas within Tanzanian parks. The large number of birds found in Lake Manyara National Park varies depending on one habitat to another. Most likely you will be able to get large flocks of pelicans and flamingoes around the lake, whereas, near the park borders and floodplains, you will get many of the egrets, spoonbills, stalks, and other waders equally the woodlands will reward you with other species of birds because is surrounded by much amounts water. Lastly, the evergreen forests are habitat to crowned eagles, crested guinea fowl, and silvery-cheeked hornbills.
Lake Manyara is the biggest tourist attraction within Lake Manyara national park covering two-thirds of the park. The name lake Manyara originated from the tree species locally known as Emanyara. Lake Manyara is a shallow alkaline lake formed as a result of the Great Rift Valley with an altitude of 960 meters above sea level and a maximum depth of 10ft. lake Manyara has no outlets which subject it to evaporation allowing salt and other minerals to pileup forming white crusty deposits of soda glitters around the edge of the water, the lake water is salty because of its formation process of Volcanicity. Lake Manyara inhabits over 300 bird species for example flamingoes, grey herons, yellow-bellied storks, great white pelicans, and many other species which flock in large numbers making it a great spot for birding. even animals like hippos, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, and zebras and come to drink water from the lake usually during the dry season making it also a spot for animal viewing alongside the bird viewing
Maji Moto Springs
The Maji Moto Springs is another extremely beautiful attraction found within the southern swampy side of the park of Lake Manyara national park. Maji moto spring is a natural spring with its name got from the Swahili language meaning “hot water”. The water in the springs boils at 60°C (degrees Celsius) which is a good boiling point of water for boiling eggs. The hot springs are located in an area surrounded by fig trees and tall palm trees which is also the right spot for a picnic. The Hot springs are geographically located in the park because it’s a feature formed by volcanicity beneath the rift valley escarpments in the western part of Tanzania
Marang forest reserve
Marang forest reserve is a 250 square-kilometer forest reserve located along the rift valley escarpment environment with numerous species of flora and fauna. The forest reserve provides shelter to a large population of birds, baboon troops, blue monkeys, and many other monkey species making the marang forest reserve the perfect site to visit for bird watching and primate viewing. There are also various herbivores and animal species such as the bushbucks within the forest reserve
Ground water forest
Ground water forest is a forest located in the northern part of lake Manyara park comprising evergreen Mahogany trees and wild date palms. Its major water suppliers are the rivers, springs, and streams within its surrounding the park. The groundwater forest is home to different bird species, primates like blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, and many more that could add fun to your tour within the park.