The Lake Manyara National Park was our first destination for the Great African Safari Experience in the Northern Circuit of Tanzania. We decided to do half day game drive in the National park and then spend a night over at the Serena Lake Manyara Lodge, before heading off to the Serengeti National Park. Deciding on places to visit during the Safari was definitely not an easy task as there were so many options in the Northern Circuit. After a lot of discussion with our safari tour company, Easy Travel & Tours, we decided to include Lake Manyara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro National Park as part of our itinerary.
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The Lake Manyara National is located close to Arusha and is one of the smallest National Parks in the Northern Circuit. After an overnight stay at the capital city, Dar Es Salaam, we flew to Arusha early next day. Our tour guide Mr. Deogratius Kinabo picked us up at the airport and after a quick briefing on the Safari followed by a picnic lunch, we headed off to the Lake Manyara National Park. It is about an hour and a half drive from the Arusha Airport and the drive takes you through some of the most scenic views of the Maasai land.
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Once we were inside the park premises our guide quickly completed the entry formalities and then we started with the much-awaited game drive. The park comprises of a Lake Manyara, which is an alkaline lake, thick forest, and drylands. As said by our guide, for a Northern Circuit safari, game drive in the Lake Manyara National Park can be termed as the starters for the safari before you head of to explore larger park like Serengeti National Park. I could not contain my excitement thinking about what lay ahead for our evening of fun and adventure.
Thanks to Easy Travel, hubby dear and I had a 7-seater Land cruiser all to ourselves, which made our game viewing sessions very special. The vehicle swooped down the narrow mud roads of the forest with our guide parting interesting tidbits about the area and also his previous safari experiences. Within few minutes of the drive, we crossed paths with the troop of Baboons and African Elephants leisurely walking down the dusty roads, in turn, causing brief traffic congestion. In comparison to the Asian elephants, the African elephant has larger ears (which is according to our guide is the shape of African subcontinent) and also longer tusks.
Our guide then drove us through the dense African jungle towards the lake, making stops to point at the wild animals he spotted along the way. We were lucky to spot Blue Monkey, Gazelles, Waterbuck, Bushbuck and so on. Lake Manyara is known for the wide species of birds inhabiting the park and the pink-hued Flamingos are one of the best highlights of the bird watching session. Although we were not lucky enough to spot this gorgeous bird, we enjoyed peaceful time watching the pelicans across the lake along with many other rare African bird species.
As the sun was started to set across the horizon, we made it to our last stop, the Hippo Pool to watch the herd of Hippopotamus submerged in the water to avoid the day’s heat. We waited for a while for the hippos to come out of the water but sadly they were in no mood to get out of the soothing lake water. With a quick detour around the lake, we made our way towards the main gate towards our lodge to rest and charge up for the adventures that lay ahead next day.
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The Lake Manyara National Park was my first glimpse into the African wildlife and it provided me a perfect opportunity to enjoy the beautiful fauna driving through the lush jungles of the park. Although I was disappointed with not being able to spot the famous “Tree Climbing Lions” and the Flamingos during the jungle safari, there couldn’t have been a better way to start our trip than Lake Manyara.
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