CAMP OF THE MONTH (APRIL 2017): AndBeyond Lake Manyara, Tanzania
Lake Manyara is one of 33 lakes in the Rift Valley system, and the lodge is located at the base of this escarpment in the tall Acacia forests, not far from the lake shore. The lodge itself consists of a central area on split levels. An open lounge is right under a huge Khaya tree, and under the thatch is another comfortable lounge and bar. Down one level is the dining area with a lovely long solid wood table, where fabulous meals are served. At night the Thick-tailed bushbabies will come down and walk along the upper rails of the lounge, a rare sight indeed.
The 10 tree house suites are located in the forest, scattered around the lodge with enough privacy between each, due to the bush in between. A steep, wide staircase leads up to the lockable front door, and then one steps into a luxury, en-suite bedroom with a view through the forest. The suites are all about 9 to 10 feet off the ground! Fabulous.
Wildlife viewing is the main incentive to visit here, and as it is the only permanent lodge in the park THIS is the place to stay. Game drives lead one out through the forest onto the lake shore where herds of elephant feed on the grass, as do herds of an unusually coloured wildebeest attract ones’ attention. They are a tan colour, and are the herds are mixed a grey and tan.
Impala, giraffe, buffalo, Defassa waterbuck, klipspringer and of course lion and leopard also live in the forests of the escarpment. Manyara is famous for the ‘Tree climbing lions’! They do this to escape the biting flies found at ground level where the diminutive DikDik live in pairs in the thickets.
Flamingoes, pelicans and hundreds more species of birds occur here, from the thick evergreen forests near the entrance, the tall Acacia tortilis forests, scrubland and the lake shore shallows and the grasslands. Of note, the Fulleborne’s long claw, a rarity is found here!
There is an extensive road network and it is worth taking a packed meal with you as the drive distances can be long, so rather spend extra time out before heading home to relax for the remainder of the day.
Cultural visits are undertaken to a nearby community of fishermen, and one may either walk or cycle through the village itself. The guides for this are from the village itself and know everybody and everything about it!
This lodge is a must for visitors en route to either Tarangire or The Crater.
**Certain images courtesy of AndBeyond Lake Manyara