Lake Manyara was very special for me as it was my favourite place of all the beautiful spots we visited during our entire 6-day safari. How rare is it to be able to admire in the wild – and out of the car – a splendid lake alive with a legion of birds, hippos, wild hogs, zebras and wildebeest…? It was unreal.
Why is Lake Manyara so special?
I haven’t seen any other lake in Africa to compare them to Lake Manyara, but Ernest Hemingway himself said it was “the loveliest in Africa”.
Lake Manyara has an incredible diversity of landscapes and wildlife.
From far away, the lake becomes pink because of the number of flamingos in some parts of the national park. They added a fantastic touch of colour to the already stunning landscape. Flamingos are characteristic of Lake Manyara, as they can only be found in a few parks in the area. They get their pink colour as they eat small shrimps living only in salty lakes as well as algae, both rich in alpha and beta carotenoid pigments.
I find hippos cute, and Lake Manyara was our first opportunity to spot them. We made our driver laugh when we asked if we could go back to this spot to see the hippos again. In fact, we were going to see a lot more of them later, and much closer to the car.
We could also spot many other animals we already saw the day before in Tarangire Park. It seemed as if we would never get tired of looking for them: we felt so lucky to be able to watch them evolve in the wild.
The Great Rift Valley
Our trip to Lake Manyara was also an opportunity to drive along the Great Rift Valley and learn more about it. It goes for over 6,000km from Syria to Mozambique and is visible from space! It is actually not entirely a rift but a combination of separate rift and fault systems. Apparently, the fracture increases by 6cm per year on average: if it continues, a new ocean will appear in Africa in… a few million years. Check this link for more information about the Great Rift Valley.
We spent the night just outside the national park, on the way to Olduvai Gorge and Serengeti, which we would explore on the next day.
Where is Lake Manyara?
Lake Manyara National Park is located in Tanzania at the north-west of Tarangire National Park, on the way from Arusha to Serengeti.