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Why do you love Lake Manyara?

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Why do you love Lake Manyara?

Mfuwe declared his love in this post

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293751-i10776-k35…

I'd like to know more specifics from Mfuwe and other Lake Manyara Lovers. I'm especially interested in those who have ventured away from the more popular vehicle routes or who have stayed a couple of days. Please include what time of year you went and anything interesting about birdlife.

I've never been there in the calving season and have wondered about wildebeest behavior in Manyara during that time.

Pour your hearts out, Lake Manyara Lovers. I'm all ears, or in this case, eyes.

Australia
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1. Re: Why do you love Lake Manyara?

I look forward to replying to this in 3 months time!

Sorry, not much help here.. just had to add my 2 bits.

I look forward to all the responses :)

Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: Why do you love Lake Manyara?

How much time have you got to listen??

I have been to Lake Manyara many times for many days. It grows on you. I once spent two weeks in Mto wa Mbu and went into the Park most days and was never bored. Always something different.

To sum it up in one word? Elephants! They have to be the most tolerant I have met, and I have met a fair few.

Have you read "Amongst the Elephants" by Iain Douglas-Hamilton? If you have you will know why I keep going there. If you have not, get a copy! Today!

Karl and fellow Americans tend to regard it as a bit "Ho hum". It is not. It is only "ho hum' because of the way it is treated. In the gate while dashing between other parks on the five parks in two days trek.

Quick pause in the Ground Water Forest to giggle at the Baboons with other cars jostling for a look. Round to the Hippo Pool for more giggling and pointing, "Oink Oink!" Maybe a quick tour round a few Sausage trees in the hope of seeing a lion up one and off to lunch before disappearing in a cloud of red dust to the next stop. "Orville dear! Did you get those funny monkeys on the video?" Ho hum indeed! Ahem!

Like any beauty, Manyara repays patient appreciation of her charms and won't be rushed on her first date.

Now where do I apply for that job with TZ tourism?

Findlay, Ohio
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3. Re: Why do you love Lake Manyara?

Now I have to defend my observations Mfuwe. What I have said in the past is that I have found that most Americans find Lake Manyara rather ho hum but that most Europeans tend to like it. Why, I don't know; but it's just something that I've observed. (I look for contradicting ideas and opinions because I once, and still do to a certain extent, made my living doing that.) I'm certain that there might be an American or two come on here and say that they loved it, and perhaps a few Europeans might say that they found it ho hum also. But that wouldn't make an a priori difference.

Having said all that I think that perhaps because it lays between two great parks, Tarangire and Ngorongoro, that it get's this label at times. For a great deal of the time Tarangire had tons more animals then Manyara; and down in Ngorongoro you can hardly turn your head without seeing animals of all kinds. So for both it's probably a relative thing.

I've been there in every month of the year, as Mfuwe probably has also.

Mfuwe, quit pushing for a Tz Tourism job - they have an age limit.

nyc
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4. Re: Why do you love Lake Manyara?

Boys, boys, boys! You're too funny!

Because Manyara, as Karl mentions, is sited between Tarangire & Ngorongoro that offer such diverse game and environments, Manyara is kind of like the 2nd child... doesn't get enough attention. Granted the park is small and can be covered in a few hours, as mfuwe mentions, one can also spend more time and be pleasantly surprised.

Yes, the ellees here are amazing and often get real up-close-and-personal. On my last visit, we spent about 30-45/min with a large bull who seriously wanted to let us know who was the boss. Then being joined by a younger bull with the two of them teasing the heck out of us... all until they felt we should be allowed to pass.

The blue monkeys at the entry are another group of "teasers" if they even allow you to get a peek at them, in/out of the trees/bushes... but so funny as are the large baboon troops. There's plenty of water activity with the hippos and birds; besides giraffe, zebra and those elusive (with luck) tree-climing or blackmaned lions. Though I don't recall on my visits coming upon migrating "wildies"... my timing must have been off.

It's more a matter of seasons which park is supposed to be better, but in recent years it seems "season" doesn't much matter. I've been in November, May and June and not disappointed... Manyara is just different than the parks that book-end it.

If your schedule allows a visit without rushing, spend a full-day, going farther south into the park, but as elsewhere... no guarantees what game you'll come upon.

Isle of Man, United...
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5. Re: Why do you love Lake Manyara?

Darn it Karl. Rumbled. Although if an oldie like you can get a job then a youngster like wot I am should walk it.

A word on the wildebeest of Manyara. They do migrate but not to Kenya. They are part of a smaller but not insignificant system that head up the Rift floor towards Natron and then over to west Kilimanjaro. They complete the circle by then coming to the Maasai steppes and back via Tarangire.

Timing is sporadic, with them more or less doing the opposite of their more famous cousins of Serengeti. They are 'gone' in Jan-March and head back around July-September. There is not the mass movement but numbers can be impressive on the return to Tarangire in September.

I agree about Manyara being over shadowed. It becomes a self fulfilling prophesy. "Never saw much last time so lets just do a quick drive though and out". "Hmmm.Thought so nothing here. Lets go." so sad althugh Ido realise folks with less time than I cannot linger that long. Which is why I always advise to pick fewer Parks.

Tree climbing Lions. Out of say 35 day/visits how many times have I seen them? Seen em in Ishasha and Mweya, Tarangire and Ndutu many times. Once in Manyara.

Chicago, IL
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6. Re: Why do you love Lake Manyara?

I am an American, and didn't think too much of Lake Manyara. :P

Findlay, Ohio
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7. Re: Why do you love Lake Manyara?

Hate to be an I told you so Mfuwe; but read what sara says and note that she is from the Windy City on Lake Michigan.

Me, a job? I'm retired (but I am starting up another business with a start up date of next month), and spend about 1/2 of my morning at my trading station (which is why I am on here so often, makes a good break from the markets). Keeps me young and my brain moving, well some would not agree with that; but what the L do they know. :-)

USA
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8. Re: Why do you love Lake Manyara?

Thank you all for the comments. The Manyara migration info was interesting.

I've only been once in August and enjoyed some of the highlights you mentioned. No tree climbing lions for me, but Manyara has the distinction of providing my only good blue monkey photo and my only shot of one hippo biting another one in the butt while on land. And you gotta love that.

I think everybody who goes, me included, runs into that one elephant shortly after entering the park. who acts as a greeter It sticks its head practically into the vehicle. I think it has had the job forever.

melbourne
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9. Re: Why do you love Lake Manyara?

Atravelynn and others including all nationalities who like and dont like Manyara or who as yet havent been there I might add my few comments to all of the above.

When Iain Douglas-Hamilton spent so much time in the Manyara area, the park was part of a greater ecosystem including Tarangire, Natron and towards west Kilimanjaro. Since then though, because Manyara is such a small park, originally only 330 sq kms with 50% being the lake itself, the park has been encroached on all sides by human development. And just like Arusha National Park, which has also been surrounded by human development, the variety of large mammals has suffered.

When I first visited Manyara over 30 years ago, Mto Wa Mbu (mosquito creek in Swahili) was a small farming community with a diverse cultural mix due to the Nyrere forced relocations. Nowadays Mto wa Mbu is a large bustling town, with many small campgrounds, lodges and hotels, markets and shops, mainly servicing the tourist industry. Although this development has helped to lift many Tanzanians out of poverty, the pressure on land had given rise to Manyara becoming an isolated natural resource surrounded by human devleopment. Being so small the park was not large enough to sustain large mammal populations.

The main attraction for visitors to Manyara, in my opinion, is not the large mammals, as inevitably there are better parks for this, ie elephants in Tarangire, lions in Ngorongoro and Serengeti, hippos in Serengeti, and flamingoes in Natron, but the diverse natural scenary and habitat. It is true that Manyara is part of the Tarangire wildebeest migration. There is always a permanent population of wildebeest and zebras in the park, but after the short rains about 10% or so of the Tarangire population, ie about 2 to 3,000 wildebeest and zebra head west from Tarangire to the eastern shore of the lake and then some stay behind and others continue north to Natron. The majority don't actually make it into the park itself, as the northern and southern access is blocked by cultivation, but to the eastern shore in village conservation areas.

I suppose here we need to get a better idea of what the park covers. In the north of the park is where we find the unique ground water forest, and the blue monkeys, and baboons in large numbers. The escarpment here is a volcanic rock which is porous, and numerous fresh water streams are found at the base of the escarpment providing an all year round supply of water. Further to the south, towards the Msasa River, the escarpment is crystaline rock, less porous, and the few streams in the area have actually originated on the top of the escrapment. The lake itself formed about 2/3rds of the park, and the boundary was virtually down the centre of the lake, and during very dry seasons, most of the lake is outside the park. So the park was a narrow strip with the escarpment on the west and the lake on the east.

With the proposed expansion in 2008 of the park boundaries, to almost double in size, the M'arang forest was included and the park also tried to include all of the lake as well. The M'arang forest is on the south west side of the park, and is a forest reserve on the escarpment wall, there is no acces to this area, and because it is on the escarpment, it would be a difficult area for tourists to visit. The villages on the eastern shore however, many of which had already established conservations areas, resisted the annexation of their lands, and the eastern boundary is still somewhere in the middle of the lake leaving the wildlife rich eastern shores, where the migrating wildebeest reach, still outside the park, and only accessible to visitors who stay in the few camps located in this area.

Within the park there is only one permanent place to stay, that is the &beyond property, Manyara Tree Lodge, which I have not visited since it was rebuilt after the floods over ten years ago or so. There are also some special campsites and a few public campsites near the main gate in the forest. There is only one access gate, at Mto wa Mbu. There is also a gate in the southern extreme area, which can be reached by heading west at Mbuyu Wageramani (Germans Boabab - the very name itself excites some interest in its origin), a small village on the Makyuni to Babati road, about 25 kms south of the Tarangire park entrance. The road from Mbuyu Wageramani takes a circuitous route west towards the escarpment and the road then turns north before the climb up the escarpment to Mbulu. This is a facinating drive through some natural forest, outcrops, new farming lands, isolated villages along very bad and poorly marked roads, or in some cases no roads. The southern gate at Manyara seems to be this mythical goal at the end of the rainbow, always "just around the corner", and is reached after a couple of hours or so after leaving the main road. It is not a proper gate though and is only a rangers post, so access here is strictly controlled and prior approval is required to enter or exit through this gate.

The single road heads north past the hot spings and the &beyond lodge. There are real game drive circuits in this area, and it is only in the top 1/3 rd of the park that there are game circuits towards the lake shore. It is true that the whole park can be visited in a few hours and this is normally enough, but if one is willing to explore more of the ecosystem including the many cultural activities in Mto Wa Mbu, then a couple of days in the area is well worthwhile, including trying to get to the eastern lake shore after the short rains, trekking on the escarpment and the eastern conservation areas, and the many cultural programs based out of Mto Wa Mbu.

Most of the lodges and camps associtated with Manyara National Park are located on the escarpment in the north overlooking Mto Wa Mbu and the park, the Wildlife and Serena Lodges, Kirurumu and a few smaller and new lodges and camps that I dont know first hand. To the north of Mto Wa Mbu there is Migunga Tented Camp, Eunoto, and Wild Africa, as well as a number of newer camps. It is important to realise that there are no camps or lodges close to the lake shore.

On the eastern shore there is a lot of potential; Manyara Ranch which is a private conservation area operated by AWF, many village conservation areas and wildlife corridors, most of which strictly speaking should be counted as part of the Tarangire ecosystem, even though they are nearer Lake Manyara. The few camps located near the eastern shore of Lake Manyara, such as Maramboi, and Chem Chem, are really too far away from the Manyara gate to be usefull for day trips to Manyara - a one way drive of 1.5 to 2 hours along the main road! and should be considered as part of the Tarangire accommodations.

In recent times Manyaras popularity with tour operators stem not so much from the gameviewing found there, but more because it is an easy game drive from Arusha en route to Ngorongoro, coupled with the fact that there are many reasonably priced accommodations in the area. To really appreciate the park, and the ecosystem, then it should be considered as part of the greater Manyara-Tarangire ecosystem, and the little known areas to the east of the lake where the migrating herds visit, should also be included. In this way Manyara is well worth the visit (even for North Americans!!)

Edited: 2:26 am, April 23, 2010
Isle of Man, United...
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10. Re: Why do you love Lake Manyara?

Bwana Karl.

Not you told me so at all.

I wrote "Karl and fellow Americans tend to regard it as a bit "Ho hum". "

The windy city post merely confirms wot I wrote.

Overnite I would like to exand on the theme at the end of my first post.....

"Like any beauty, Manyara repays patient appreciation of her charms and won't be rushed on her first date."

It is maybe a cultural thing much like the American ladies that fall for the charms of European men. The Italian Romeo, Spanish Don Juan, French charm and yes, even the courteous and genteel Englishman.

Mean while back home you men do your wooing much like a Platoon of Marines storming a Beachhead. A quick burst of fire and move on.

See ya.

Nice treatise Noexpert. (My expose was quicker. LOL!)

Edited: 7:10 am, April 23, 2010
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