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Sorry @Angie I don't agree with your list.

 

Lake Manyara doesn't belong on a highlights list.

 

Personally, depending on the time of year, I would include Tarangire, Selous and Ruaha. If you've got the budget I would then add Katavi and Mahale Mountains.

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Hi @Soukous 

So you are saying, Lake Manyara doesn't fall under top destinations. Okay I agree if it is so. But Lake Manyara is still a best place for bird-watching where you can enjoy seeing millions of flamingos and other birdlife though. 

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@Angie Always subjective: if doing the Northern Circuit, certainly visiting Lake Manyara is worthwhile, but whether it ranks as a top highlight over other parks/reserves in Tz is worthy of discussion. I've been to Manyara, but not the places @Soukous mentions.

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I agree with @Soukous that Tarangire is a bit of a must see.  In some ways I enjoyed this park more than the Serengeti as it was far less congested.

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As an (irrelevant?) aside, I think that the drive up the escarpment edge from Arusha past Manyara to the crater is quite beautiful in it's own right.

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26 minutes ago, PT123 said:

As an (irrelevant?) aside, I think that the drive up the escarpment edge from Arusha past Manyara to the crater is quite beautiful in it's own right.

Agreed @PT123

However, given that time on safari is precious, and expensive, Lake Manyara does fall a long way short as a wildlife viewing destination. 

 

Re Tarangire: Yes, it is a welcome relief from the busy Serengeti and the central station like Ngorongoro. The landscapes are wonderful, especially the baobabs, and if you are able to get down to the south of the park it can be very secluded. Most people do not allow enough time there. 

Tsetse flies are a real pain though.

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1 hour ago, Soukous said:

...Tsetse flies are a real pain though.

 

Literally and figuratively - we travel with a cheep plastic fly swatter which comes quite in handy!

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I completely agree with Tarangire being on your list.  Until I went to Amboseli, the largest herds of elephants I'd ever seen were there.  There had to be 200+ around a watering hole.  They just kept coming in small bunches from all directions!  Also saw an interesting lion-elephant encounter there.

 

I'm not a fan of Manyara.  We didn't see much of anything worthwhile and I got eaten alive by mosquitos there, despite wearing long pants.  But I think because we were doing a road safari, it was just a logical stop between Tarangire and Ngorongoro.

 

Depending on your time of year, if it's February, work Ndutu into the itinerary.  That's where the herds are and it's calving season.  You can also drive off-road so no limit as to how close you can get to the predators, unlike in Serengeti National Park, where you're supposed to stay on the road no matter how far the sighting is off it.

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I've driven past Lake Manyara, I've flown over the top of it, I've even landed at the airstrip but I've never actually visited the park, though I do know people who have, I completely agree with @Game Warden that it's subjective, it all depends what your priorities are. If you are going on safari for the first time and are keen on birds I think Lake Manyara could be well worth visiting at the right time of year to see the large flocks of waterbirds flamingos, storks and pelicans, however if your priority is big game then certainly Tarangire would be better. If you go down into the central part of Tarangire to the Silale Swamp then you can see a fair few waterbirds there (obviously not flamingos), though it probably doesn't compare to Lake Manyara on a good day. As I say it's all about priorities and what your interests are, I think Zanzibar is a great place well worth visiting if you have time but I know other people might say I wouldn't waste time going to Zanzibar I'd rather spend the time on safari.

 

Also how you feel about some does depend very much on your experience, Ndutu can be a fantastic place in February if the migration has arrived on schedule, but if the migration is not there it can be an awful place because it so much more crowded these days than it used to be and the fact that you can off road means that all of the predators are permanently surrounded by cars. That was my last experience of visiting Ndutu in February, on one game drive I think the most wildebeest I counted was 7 and I know what it used to be like when there was hardly anyone there. So I wouldn't want to go again at the same time of year, but I wouldn't advise other people not go in Feb, I would just warn that you should be aware that the migration is not guaranteed to be there.  

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