Towards the end of last year, big news reached us from Lake Manyara National Park: something totally new and unique had opened its doors, they said. So we went to find out for ourselves what all the fuss was about.
A new treetop walkway had opened up, just a five-minute drive from the main gate. It is the first treetop walkway in Tanzania and with 370 metres one of the longest in Africa!
The walk starts off at ground level where you pass through the lush forest before the boardwalk rises towards the treetops. The walkway is made up of suspension bridges which have thick netting around the sides for your safety. Each of the bridges ends at a large tree which has a platform, where you can stop to take in the beautiful scenery.
Wow, it’s a bird’s eye view for sure
The walkway’s highest point is 18 metres above the ground. From the platform, you have a 360-degree view over the canopy and if you are lucky you can also spot some wildlife. Our guide was very knowledgeable and he explained how the treetop walkway had been constructed and how they use the living trees for support. He explained the characteristics of the different trees and spotted different birds and monkeys.
Sometimes, you can spot larger game like elephants and buffaloes grazing on the forest floor, he said. On that particular day, though, it seemed as though the elephants were on holiday. Nevertheless, we enjoyed being up high and getting a totally new insight into life above the ground! It was really something I had never experienced before.
As we descended we realised that we were not alone on the walkway. Countless Blue Monkeys were jumping on and around the suspension bridges, chasing one another up and down and around the platforms! It was so funny to watch how these primates had already adapted to the man-made structures and were having the time of their lives.
We also got to see plenty of Silvery-cheeked Hornbills, some quite close. On game drives in the forest of Lake Manyara it is quite difficult to spot them. You can hear them trumpeting and now and then you see them swooshing past, but on the walkway, they were clearly visible.
This hasn’t been my last visit
All in all, the walk took us about 45 minutes. It was definitely an experience like no other and I would have been happy to stay even longer.
However, it is important to know that the walkway can be a bit scary, if you are afraid of heights. Even though all the structures are extremely stable some parts can be quite daunting and the suspension bridges naturally sway from time to time. I believe it is worth to build up your courage and do it, you will not regret this truly unique experience.
The walk can be done in the morning before going on game drives or even at the end of the day.
If you’d like to take a walk through Lake Manyara’s treetops, let us know and we will organise this experience for you!