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Lake Manyara, Tanzania

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No matter how old you were when the first Lion King cartoons came out, the sight of a thousand pink flamingoes rising from the lake will leave you breathless. Don’t start running around and yelling: ‘Oh I just can’t wait to be ki-ing!’ just yet – flamingoes might not get the reference.

 

A perfect stopover between  a Kilimanjaro trek and a great safari in Serengeti, lake Manyara offers a few fantastic campsites for those who love living in the wild, as well as a few luxury lodges and bandas for those who want to stay in the wild with comfort. Besides the ordinary game drives you can opt for an entertaining cycling tour around the park or even some canoeing when the water levels are high enough. The Rift Valley around the lake is full of bushbucks, buffaloes, klipspringers, giraffes, zebras and other large mammals during the dry season (end of June-October), but in the rainy season (late October-July) birdwatchers will be delighted to spot aforementioned flamingoes, hornbills, pelicans, cormorants, storks, red-crested eagles, and kingfishers. If you decide to go for a night game drive, or early in the morning, you may spot elusive leopards – these fascinating cats hunt after dark and eat their prey up in the trees at dawn. Baboons are roaming freely on the roads and are probably the most fun animals to watch.

 

Besides the nearest town Mto wa Mbu, there are several smaller villages scattered around the lake, where you can observe local traditional lifestyle.

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