Lake Manyara National Park

The last national park of this trip and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. This short safari fitted on our itinerary perfectly as I had a flight to catch on the same evening.

Lake Manyara encapsulated the whole safari experience within roughly 3 hrs. This park is a microcosm of whatever have seen in Tanzania for the last 2 days.

The grand entrance

The entrance to the park is right on the side of the highway. Picture this, the moment we enter we are in lush green thick jungle and hundreds of Yellow-billed storks welcome us because this park is known for being a birdwatchers paradise. The location of the park which is beneath the cliffs of the Manyara Escarpment, on the edge of the Rift Valley and the alkaline soda of Lake Manyara attracts an incredible array of birdlife which thrives on its saline waters. Even a reluctant birdwatcher like me could spot a few interesting species of birds. Unfortunately, I can’t name them all by their species so if you can, please be my guest.

Yellow-billed storks flying around the entrance of Manyara national park
Yellow-billed storks
Hornbill
Hornbill couple
Bright yellow bird
Fluffy grey bird
Southern ground hornbill
Southern ground hornbill
Grey-crowned cranes
The famous Grey-crowned cranes’ couple
Grey hornbill (?)
Owl holding its prey on a tree branch
Owl holding his dinner (little bat)

Wild encounters

Within a few minutes of our drive, we bumped into a tusker who introduced us to his little family. They were carelessly grazing their hearts away in this groundwater forest and one of them even enjoyed being photographed.

This is when we say Jambo!
Hide and seek
Learning to survive
african elephant in a jungle
Emerge
Up close

Monkey business

The world’s largest concentration of baboons happens to be in this park. As a result, we came across plenty of baboons doing all sorts of activities. On a normal day, I would visit this park just to witness these guys interact.

Monkey hanging from a tree
Hang in there
safe landing
Baboon family
Watch and learn
Baboons chasing each other in a river
The race
Look back
Keep moving
Baboon portrait
Look into my eyes
Baboon
and now keep reading
Eventually, everyone finds their cozy corner in jungle
Blue monkey
Me? the blue monkey

The one and only

This park is most famous for the one and only legendary tree-climbing lions. So, obviously spotting them was our primary motive to visit. Our experienced driver knew where to find them but it was not easy. Patience and perseverance paid off at the end because of his determination. Spotting them between the ancient mahogany tree and acacias branches was challenging. The driver could spot around 5 lions with his experienced eyes while I could spot only a couple.

Tree climbing lion
Spot the lions
tree climbing lions
Its siesta time
Visitor alert
I see three, can you?

The others

Even though the tree-climbing lions were at the top of our list we were equally lucky to spot a few other rare species. Most importantly the klipspringer and bushbuck as they are really shy creatures

klipspringer on his own
klipspringer
Klipspringer with his mate
Bushbuck
Hey, Bushbuck Found ya!
On his way to find a new hideout

Then came in a group of banded mongoose crossing the inland of the flood plains and it was a sight to remember

Banded mongoose
Synchronized
Banded mongoose
The squadron

The meaning

Manyara = “You have been humbled

skeleton
Back to where it all started

What a great way to end this amazing journey. Yes, indeed it was one of the most humbling experience to see these majestic creatures in their own habitat. And also feel privileged to share this planet with them.

Giraffe standing in front of Lake Manyara
Standing tall with high hopes because hope is all we got.

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