In the Great Rift Valley south of Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater lies the Cinderella of Tanzania’s parks—the often overlooked and underrated Lake Manyara National Park. When Ernest Hemingway faced the rust-red rocks of the almost 2,000-foot-high rift valley escarpment that dominates the park, he called it “the loveliest place I have seen in Africa.”


Lake Manyara National Park is small, stretching only some 330 square km (127 square miles) along the base of the escarpment with two-thirds of its surface taken up by shallow, alkaline Lake Manyara. This serene lake is one of the so-called Rift Lakes, which stretch like jewels along the floor of the Rift Valley. If you’re a birder then put this park on your must-visit list. Because of the great variety of habitats, there’s a great variety of birds; more than 400 species have been recorded.

As you drive through the forest you’ll hear the Silvery-cheeked hornbills long before you see them flapping noisily in small groups among the massive trees, braying loudly as they fly. The edges of the lake as well as its placid surface attract all manner of water birds large and small. Along the reed-fringed lakeshore you’ll see huge pink clouds drifting to and fro. These “clouds” are flocks of flamingos. White-backed pelicans paddle through the water as the ubiquitous African fish eagles soar overhead. Other water birds of all kinds congregate—waders, ducks, geese, storks, spoonbills, egrets, and herons. In the thickets at the base of the red escarpment overlooking the lake, which angles up dramatically at 90 degrees, watch out for Nubian woodpeckers, the very pretty and aptly named silver birds (flycatchers), superb, ashy, and Hildebrand’s starlings, yellow wagtails, trilling cisticolas, red-cheeked cordon bleus, Peter’s twins pots, blue necked mouse birds, and every cuckoo imaginable.

The Red-and-yellow barbet is known as the “bed-and-breakfast bird” for its habit of living where it eats—in termite mounds. The park is also a raptor’s paradise, where you can spot up to 51 daytime species, including dozens of augur buzzards, small hawks, and harriers. Deep in the forest you might be lucky enough to see Africa’s most powerful eagle, the crowned eagle, which is strong enough to carry off young antelope, unwary baboons, and monkeys. At night listen for up to six different kinds of owls, including the giant eagle owl and the diminutive but very vocal African Scopes owl.

Mto Wa Mbu is situated on the way from Arusha to the national parks in Northern Tanzania, just at the foot of the Rift Valley. Located on the way to Ngorongoro and Serengeti, it is an ideal place for most safari travellers for :

- a walk thought the farms in the green oasis at the foot of the Rift Valley

- a climb to Balaa Hill from where you can see the whole town

- a view into the culture of the many different tribes living in the area

- a trip (bike or hike) to the Miwaleni Lake and waterfall

- see the innovative farming practises of Mto wa Mbu villagers and learn about the irrigation system that sustains local crops, including the 32 varieties of bananas

- bike to the coast of one of Africa's most majectic lake and get an amazing opportunity to view wildlife like zebras, giraffes, hippos and buffaloes at close range in this corridor of migration between the National Parks.


Kibowhy Safaris is made up of local and international professionals who are pioneers of African safaris.


We only utilize specially outfitted  and equipped  4 x 4 safari vehicles for our safaris in Tanzania.


Choose Kibowhy Safaris as we aim to keep your safari the best and memorable by providing the best guide, accommodation and safari vehicle.

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