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Lake Manyara National Park

lake manyara

Lake Manyara National Park is one of the finest and most interesting parks of Tanzania with a large number of wild animals. The park covers only 330 km2 - small compared to other Tanzanian parks - of which two-third is water. Like most other lakes of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara is a shallow soda lake that is fed by groundwater and depending on the season varies in size. The rest is a thin strip of land located between the lake and the rocks and which can only be reached by a few roads. The park and the lake owe their name to the manyara-scrub, which is used by the Maasai to protect their fields. Near the entrance to the park you will find the manyara-scrub. The first part of the park consists of dense forest with high trees, including mahogany trees, crotonic, fig trees and various types of palms. Around the dense undergrowth of wild flowers are countless butterflies. This part of the park is not as suitable for spotting game, because it is very difficult to look through the dense forest.

When you drive further into the park, you can see groups of anubis baboons and sykes monkeys play along the side of the road. Bushbucks will appear out of the bushes and it is very possible you may bump into an elephant on the road. Elephants often use the road so that they do not have to go through the thick bush. Also remember to look up once in a while. Just like in Tarangire, the lions are sometimes in the trees and also a lot of leopards live in this area (though you have to be lucky to spot them). If the big cats can not be found in the trees, there are a lot of birds to spot in the trees.

The further you go in the park, the drier it gets. Gradually the forest opens up and the vegetation changes, with a lot of baobab trees. The change in vegetation also results in other types of game. In this part of the park buffalo, wildebeest, zebra and giraffe have their home. In the air, eagles are looking for a prey. On the south side of the park there are a number of steamy hot springs whose chemicals have given the surrounding land the colours of the rainbow.