Lake Manyara 2011

    • Mto wa Mbu curio market
    • Baboon with scar
    • Happy family
    • Maasai giraffe on the floodplain
    • Game drive through dense thickets
    • Lake Manyara landscape
    • Artist Suleiman
    • Manyara's red bananas
    • Vervet monkey
  • What a wonderful surprise the park turned out to be! When you least expect it, magnificent discoveries await. Lake Manyara National Park has a varied ecosystem consisting of ground water forests, acacia woodland and open grassland along the lakeshore. It sustains a wealth of wildlife, including the Big Five, baboons, impala, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, ostrich and hippo.

    The park (330 sq. km) spreads between the cliff of the Great Rift Valley and Lake Manyara, a shallow soda lake. The lake occupies 70% of the park.

    We arrived at Lake Manyara after driving from Arusha for two hours and although we did not see the elusive tree-climbing lions, there were many sightings in and underneath the branches of the acacia trees. It is also an ornithologists’ paradise and is host to over 400 species of birds. The water birds hovering around the lake include pelicans, spoonbills, Egyptian geese and hammerkops. Migratory flamingoes arrive in hundreds of thousands creating a spectacular sight over the soda lake.

    Twiga Campsite is just outside the park, 5 minutes from the entrance gate, at Mto wa Mbu (Mosquito Village in the Maasai language). The accommodation and facilities are very clean, with hot showers, restaurant, bar and curio shop. $10 p/p. Mto wa Mbu village is known for its sprawling curio markets and it is a good place to pick up a colourful painting or two. We sampled the red bananas, which look the same on the inside and taste pretty much the same too, but cost double the price.