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Lake Manyara not to be missed?

Old Aug 29th, 2006, 04:35 AM
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Lake Manyara not to be missed?

Our latest potential itinerary has an option of flying from NBO - JRO and then driving to Manyara (same day) or flying NBO - JRO and overnight at Arusha.
The following day is a drive to Ngorongoro.
If we are already in Manyara, we can do an early game drive at Manyara, then depart for crater and arrive at the same time as driving from Arusha. I know it would be a hectic day with 2 flights and a two hour drive to Manyara - but willing to do it if Manyara is not to be missed. TIme of year- Sept 2007. Thanks for opinions
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 05:45 AM
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Manyara is famous for tree-climbing lions, elephants (thanks in part to the Douglas-Hamilton book that's now 30+ years old) and birds. To me the lions were a bit boring as all the ones we saw were simply sleeping in the tree a few feet above the road. We saw more ellies at Tarangire, bigger ellies at Ngorongoro but at Manyara we had a couple of ellies approach right up to the jeep, which was cool.

Then there are the birds ... because of the variety of habitats (ground water forest, lake, several streams, woodlands) we always see a lot of cool birds here and we like to photograph birds, so we like stopping at Manyara and always try to get two or three nights and several game drives there.

On the negative side, it's a very small park by Africa standards and many people overnight in Arusha then drive to Manyara the next day and begin their safari with an afternoon game drive ... since there's only one entrance road and a few parallel tracks once you're inside it gets pretty crowded in the PM.

On the flip side, in the morning most people are leaving for the greater glories of Serengeti or Ngorongoro so it's relatively empty in the AM ... in April we were the only people in the park for two mornings, for example.

Anyway to answer your Q I would opt for a game drive at Manyara over staying in Arusha every time, but I like photographing birds. But I hear a fair number of people say they are disappointed by Manyara, put off by the PM crowds and the lack of vast numbers of animals like you'll see at Serengeti and Crater.

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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 06:49 AM
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Thanks for your response. Since it would be an early a.m. game drive, it sounds worth while. Cats are my favourite, so sleeping or not, any opportunity will be great.
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 08:41 AM
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I agree with Bill, I would do the drive out to Lake Manyara rather than spend a night in Arusha. Arusha doesn't have enough going on that it's worth trading a game drive for a night in the city.

As noted, just be aware that Lake Manyara is a smaller park and not as game rich as the big parks. The variety of birdlife is excellent. If you're interested, you can also arrange for night drives in Lake Manyara, as well as, microlight flights over the escarpment. You might also want to do the cultural tour in Mto Wa Mbu.
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 09:03 AM
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Thanks - we will go with the option of Lake Manyara - I think it will be a great addition to our itinerary. It does not effect any of our time at the crater and we will be seeing the migration in the Mara previous to this.
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 11:52 AM
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My experience on my visit to Lake Manyara was VERY untypical but in two games drives (including the one on the way out of the park) I saw 4 different leopards, seven lions and Lake Manyara's solitary cheetah!
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 12:14 PM
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With that kind of luck, maybe you can arrange to join me on my next trip!
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 12:35 PM
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"I saw 4 different leopards, seven lions and Lake Manyara's solitary cheetah!"

We photographed a cheetah there in April in the short grass near the lake, but FOUR leopards! ... wow, that's outstanding. Have yet to see a leopard at Manyara so we are jealous


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