Lake Manyara National Park
On the road between the Bagayo and Endabash Rivers you are at a slightly higher elevation and can get a good view of Lake Manyara. The lake lies at an altitude of 945 meters above sea level and is on average 390 square kilometers (151 square miles) in area, of which 230 square kilmeters (89 square miles) are in the Park. After the formation of the Rift Valley, some two or three million years ago, streams began to cascade down the rift wall. As there was no outlet, they began to form a lake in depression below. The lake was at its largest about a quarter of a million years ago.
Even today the lake level varies considerably; in dry years it is possible to drive across, and in wet years the water level has even covered the road. If the lake is quite close to the road you will probably notice the alkaline smell of the soil and will see the deposits of soda forming a crisp crust where it has partly dried.
Although fishing in the lake is illegal within the Park boundaries, it is done by the local people on the remainder of the lake. Both catfish and bream (tilapia) are present and like all the large Rift Valley lakes, Manyara has its own species of bream.
Reedbuck are often seen in small groups by the lake shore and might be confused with impala. The Bohor reedbuck can be identified by its uniform sandy-red color and a very bushy tail with a white "flag." The males have short forward curving horns. Reedbuck are difficult to see when they are lying down in a patch of tall grass or reeds, but if alarmed they will give a shrill whistle and run off with a typical rocking-horse gait.
As you drive towards the Endabash River you will pass the first set of hot springs in the Park Maji Moto Ndogo, which means "small hot water." The water temperature here is about 400 C (1040 F) and is fresh, although emissions of gases take place. The water, which is normal ground water, is heated as it circulates at great depth, through fractures in the rocks that were formed by the Rift Valley faulting. Surprisingly, various forms of algae have established themselves in the water not far from the spring head.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication