LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK

Lake Manyara National park( Tree climbing lions).  

The agricultural and market town of Mto Wa Mbu stands next to the entrance of Lake Manyara national park, about 120 km west of Arusha on the floor of the Gregory Escarpment, part of Africa’s Great Rift valley that runs from Red Sea in the North to Mozambique. This is the most dramatic point of its kind in the whole 5600 kilometers of the Great Rift Valley where the high-water table fed by countless springs from the Escarpment has given rise to a dense tropical vegetation, a forest brought about by the flow of ground water. It is largely on account of this forest that UNESCO entitled Manyara a Biosphere Reserve. The park covers 330sq.km (127sq. miles and about two thirds of that is water. The rest is a long thin strip of land sandwiched between the lake and the cliff.

Its evergreen forests dotted with acacias and open plains stretching down to the lake shores, together with the rugged wall of the Rift Valley in the background makes Manyara one of Tanzania’s most impressive natural environments. The evergreen jungle is a home to the black and white colobus and blue monkeys not forgetting huge troops of olive baboons that are fond of blocking vehicles on the way. Lions, among other mammals in the park like giraffes, elephants, buffalos, leopards, Impalas, bush bucks and a superb birdlife, are mostly seen perched on trees as they try to catch a breeze during the heat of the day and escaping masses of elephants.

The enormous amount of ground water pouring through the rocks of the escarpment, has created a lush, green swamp here and the locals are excellent farmers growing everything from bananas, maize, rice and vegetables. The small-town hosts nearly the 120 tribes from all over Tanzania making it the most impressive places for a cultural walking safari visiting villages, farms and markets to experience the rich culture that exists here.

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