Lion-spotting at Lake Manyara National Park
We had an awesome day exploring Lake Manyara National Park today! We saw monkeys, baboons, giraffe, hyenas, buffalo, water buck and even lions!
Lake Manyara National Park is one of Tanzania’s smallest national parks but one of its richest in terms of wildlife. The park sits within the Rift Valley, with the escarpment that marks the edge of the Rift Valley forming a natural boundary along the park’s Western edge and Lake Manyara itself forming the Eastern boundary. Within its 330 square kilometre limits there are wetlands, evergreen rainforest and numerous swamps. For us it was a really interesting national park in terms of vegetation and landscape because it’s so different to what we’ve seen in Kenya so far. The dense forests were particularly hard for animal spotting, but we managed to hunt out a whole lot of different game – as you can see below.
We saw a whole variety of really interesting birds as well – including flamingos on Lake Manyara itself. Lake Manyara is a typical Rift Valley “soda lake” which, as well as attracting flamingos, is home to more than 400 species of birds. Our favourite birds of the day were the brightly coloured blue and orange kingfishers. We even saw one catch himself some fish for lunch which was awesome!
The highlight of the day however, without a doubt, was when we stumbled across a pride of lions lounging on the sand beside one of the rivulets which feeds into Lake Manyara. We learnt from our driver/guide that sometimes they see the lions of Lake Manyara National Park in the trees. It’s unusal for lions to climb trees as they’re quite heavy for a cat (compared to leopards for example), but around Lake Manyara the ground is so soggy in places that the lions cimb trees to keep their paws dry. Apparently they also use their position in the trees to help them spot tasty looking animals. We didn’t get to see any tree-dwelling felines today, but it was still great watching the pride relaxing on the beach, trying to keep cool as the mid-day heat and humidity gradually baked everything and everyone in the park (including us).
And so, after a great day of safari action, we’re back at our mosiquito-infested camp now, relaxing by the camp fire and looking forward to further adventures tomorrow…