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Lake Manyara National Park

Tree climbing lions in Lake Manyara
Tree climbing lions in Lake Manyara
In the past, I would include Lake Manyara National Park in most of my Tanzania safari itineraries.  Manyara is famous for its tree-climbing lions.  Why is this unique? While a leopard sleeping lazily in the treetops is a common sight on safari in Tanzania, this strange behavior exhibited by lions has been the subject of interest and wonder. Lions climbing trees is not normal.  Historically, the only places in the world to see tree-climbing lions is Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda and Lake Manyara in Tanzania.  This behavior has now spread to the lions in Tarangire National Park.  

This is important to note because Lake Manyara is an incredibly small park that has been made smaller by recent flooding.  The park consists of one strip of land that lays between the lake and the greater rift escarpment. As the lake floods, the land in the park gets swallowed up.  Many guides in Tanzania are opting to spend more time in Tarangire, where tree-climbing lions are present birds are abundant.  They are then skipping Manyara altogether and going directly to Ngorongoro.  Those that are including Manyara spend only an hour or two driving through the park as that's all the time it takes to see the land that is left visible.  I'm sure that lake levels will rise and fall with the years, but for now, Manyara is a "miss" for me.  If the flamingos are at Manyara, it would be worth a quick stopover, but they were at Lake Natron during my trip.  

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