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Tanzania Henk Walking with Masaai Lake Manyara

“Walking into the Pink” at Lake Manyara

The Art: A photo taken of Henk walking with two Maasai towards a line of pink flamingos at Lake Manyara, Tanzania

The Story: When we arrived at our isolated campsite on the ‘shores’ of Lake Manyara, Tanzania, Henk and I couldn’t help but be disappointed. Although we literally had the lake to ourselves, the ‘lake’ was non-existent. There wasn’t a drop of water anywhere, and despite it’s claim to fame, there was not one feather of the lake’s thousands of flamingos to be seen.

Chalking it up to bad timing being the end of dry season, we figured we would make the best of it, as we met our Maasai guides who would be hosting us on several game walks around the area.

They assured us there were giraffe, zebra, and ostrich nearby, the evidence of which we did see that afternoon on our walk. Well, the digested evidence, at least.

That night while listening to the hyenas yipping, the weather changed, and the rain came. And came. To the point where stepping outside the next morning for a bathroom break also doubled as our morning shower. The campsite was now its own shallow lake, and we could have used the rubber tire-soled sandals the Maasai wore for the 30 yard trek to the dining tent.

Sheltered from the rain with our cups of tea and coffee in hand (serious kudos to our camp crew!), we watched as the sky began to clear. And with the clearing came a rumbling that wasn’t thunder: dozens of zebras galloping across our shoreline, playing, nipping each other and jumping in the shallow water in front of us, as excited by the first rain as a bunch of 4 year-olds splashing through puddles on the sidewalk.



But it was when the mists finally cleared in the distance that we were truly amazed. From the furthest left to the furthest right that we could turn our heads, the entire horizon of Lake Manyara was a pink line.

Of flamingoes.


Thousands and thousands of pink flamingos, all feeding on algae released in the newly-replenished lake.

So off we went with our cameras, in a race to get close to the birds before the water, and the line of pink with it, receded out of reach of our lenses.

Pink flamingo line lake Manyara Tanzania

The lake, and its pink population, had not disappointed after all.

TIP: There are advantages and disadvantages to visiting Tanzania during wet or dry seasons. Like our flamingos, some wildlife is best viewed during the rainy season, but this can also limit the availability or accessibility to some camps and lodges. (some hotels or lodges literally shut down for the month of April). So trust your outfitter to recommend when to go and where, and what to pack – they’ve done this before.

PINTEREST_Flamingos Lake Manyara Tanzania

Jane with Hat Tanzania

Jane Canapini is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada and the North American Travel Journalists Association. She established in 2014 to share information and tips based on personal experience so her readers could get the most out of their travels.

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