Flamingo Safari In Tanzania : The Best Time And Places To See Them : Are you planning a trip to Tanzania, and flamingos are on your list of must-see attractions? This is an in-depth guide to flamingo safaris in Tanzania, the best time to see flamingos in Tanzania, and the best places to see flamingos while traveling in Tanzania.
As numerous elegant creatures with tall, pink feathers and slender legs gracefully inhabit the lake’s shores, a breathtaking scene unfolds. The presence of flamingos is nearly impossible to ignore, and their incredible beauty is truly captivating. Fortunately, there are several areas throughout Africa where large groups of pink flamingos can be seen in their natural habitat, particularly in East and Southern Africa. As a result, the question arises: can flamingos be found in Tanzania? Tanzania is home to millions of wild pink flamingos, so the answer is yes.
Tanzania’s crater lakes and the shores of the Rift Valley soda lakes provide ideal habitat for these migratory birds. Lake Manyara, Lake Natron, Empakai Crater, Lake Magadi in Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Ndutu, and Momela Lakes in Arusha National Park are the best places in Northern Tanzania to see flamingo flocks. Africa is home to only two of the world’s six flamingo species: the Greater and Lesser Flamingos. Tanzania is fortunate to have both species in large numbers, and they typically coexist and migrate in colonies of hundreds to thousands of individuals. The two species can be distinguished relatively easily, primarily by comparing their respective heights.
TYPES OF FLAMINGOES FOUND IN TANZANIA
In Tanzania, there are two kinds of flamingos. Both types of flamingos can be found in the various lakes found primarily in the northern Tanzania safari circuit, where most visitors come for an unforgettable Tanzania safari. Here are the two types of flamingos available in Tanzania:
The greater flamingo
The Greater Flamingo, scientifically known as Phoenicopterus roseus, is the tallest of all the flamingo species. Adult Greater Flamingos stand between 1 and 1.5 meters tall on average. They typically range in weight from 1.8 to 4 kilograms. Furthermore, their wingspan ranges from 1.4 to 1.8 meters in length.
The Lesser Flamingo
These birds, known as the Lesser Flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor), are easily distinguished from the Greater Flamingos by their smaller size and stature. Lesser flamingos stand between 95 and 110 centimeters tall on average. Their weight ranges between 1.1 and 2.6 kilograms. Lesser flamingos dominate the flamingo population in Tanzania, as they do throughout Africa. The striking pink coloration of flamingos is thought to be a result of their diet, specifically the consumption of blue-green algae, or spirulina. The more algae they consume, the more vibrant their pink hues become!
THE IDEAL TIME TO SPOT FLAMINGOS IN TANZANIA
Throughout the year, flamingos can be seen in Tanzania. Whenever you visit Tanzania, you will have many chances to see these beautiful birds in the numerous soda lakes. The peak season for flamingos in Tanzania, however, is from November to May. During this time, you can see the impressive flocks of pink flamingos that Tanzania is famous for. Flamingos are less abundant outside of the peak season and tend to congregate near the center of the lakes. During this time, they migrate between various soda lakes in Tanzania. As a result, the best time to see a large number of flamingos in each location is determined by their migratory patterns. If you want to see thousands of these magnificent creatures, you should consider their migratory patterns and plan accordingly.
FACTORS INFLUENCING FLAMINGO SIGHTINGS AND THEIR MIGRATORY PATTERNS IN TANZANIA
Several key factors influence the presence and abundance of flamingos in specific Tanzanian Destinations. These variables influence when, where, and in what numbers these enthralling birds can be seen. The primary factors influencing flamingo sightings are as follows:
Availability of Food:
The primary sources of food for wild flamingos are algae and brine shrimp. These vital food sources thrive in alkaline lakes’ mineral-rich waters. When climate change or other factors disrupt a lake’s salinity, inhibiting algae growth, the habitat becomes unsuitable for flamingos. As a result, flamingos embark on migratory journeys in search of alternative saline lakes with sufficient food.
Fluctuating Lake Water Levels:
The rise and fall of a lake’s water level has a direct impact on its salinity, which affects the survival of algae and shrimp, which are the primary food sources for flamingos. Salinity decreases as water levels rise, creating an unfavorable environment for algae and shrimp. When water levels drop, the lake becomes more acidic, resulting in the extinction of these vital organisms. The disappearance of algae and shrimp in a lake directly correlates to the disappearance of flamingos as they seek out alternative habitats with suitable conditions.
Flamingos make extensive migrations during the breeding season to get to their preferred breeding locations. For flamingos, Lake Natron in Tanzania is the primary breeding location. For mating, nesting, hatching, and breeding purposes, a sizable portion of the flamingo population migrates to Lake Natron during this time. Before moving on to other saline lakes in East Africa, such as Lake Manyara in Tanzania and Lake Bogoria in Kenya, they typically stay here for 3 to 4 months.
The movements and migratory patterns of flamingos in Tanzania can be better understood by being aware of these factors. One can more effectively plan a trip to see flamingos in their natural habitats by taking into account the availability of food, changes in lake water levels, and the breeding season.
TOP LOCATIONS AND OPTIMAL TIMES TO SPOT WILD FLAMINGOS IN TANZANIA
Lake Natron in northern Tanzania is Africa’s largest breeding ground for lesser flamingos. Between September and December, this is the best time to see flamingos in this area. The nesting and egg-laying seasons begin in September, and the hatching season lasts from November to December. Due to the large number of hatched chicks, December is considered prime time. Flamingos thrive in Lake Natron’s alkaline waters and abundance of spirulina.
Lake Manyara, located within Lake Manyara National Park, is a saline lake known for its diverse bird species. Hundreds of thousands of flamingos congregate here from May to July. The lake has a surface area of 230 square kilometers and a depth of 3.6 meters. It is designated a Biosphere Reserve and serves as an important water source for wildlife.
Lake Magadi (Lake Makat)
The Ngorongoro Crater contains Lake Magadi, also known as Lake Makat. This seasonal lake is home to pink-hued flamingos. From November to May, during Tanzania’s wet season, is the best time to see them. The abundance of blue-green algae in the crater attracts a large number of flamingos. These birds can also be spotted in the area’s swamps, springs, and watering holes.
The Momella Lakes, located in Arusha National Park, are made up of seven shallow alkaline lakes, including Big Momella and Small Momella. Thousands of lesser and greater flamingos flock to these lakes during the wet season. With its shallower depth, Momella Lake has the highest concentration of flamingos.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area’s Empakai Crater provides a picturesque setting for flamingo sightings. Empakai Lake’s soda-ash-crusted shores attract flamingos looking for algae, especially when Lake Magadi begins to dry up. To get to the lake, hike down the volcanic caldera.
Lake Ndutu, located on the eastern edge of Serengeti National Park, is famous for its spectacular flamingo migration. Large flocks of flamingos can be seen on the shores of this small soda lake from June to November. Lake Ndutu, on the other hand, is located on the Ngorongoro Conservation Area side of the Serengeti National Park, in the Ndutu Plains, where wildebeests breed and calve every year between December and the end of February. This area is frequented by both Greater and Lesser flamingos.
Lake Eyasi is a seasonal lake near the Ngorongoro Conservation Area that is dry for most of the year. However, during the wet season, when the lake comes alive, it provides an opportunity to see flamingos in their natural habitat. The best time to see flamingos is during the wet season.
Visit Tanzania during the wet season, especially in November, December, and May, to increase your chances of seeing flamingos. These months coincide with the short rain season and the end of the rainy season, making for ideal flamingo viewing conditions. Because most prime flamingo destinations are on Tanzania’s Northern Circuit, flamingo watching can easily be combined with wildlife safaris. Contact our Safari Specialists from Focus East Africa Tours to plan the perfect trip for you and witness the breathtaking sight of flamingos flocking in Tanzania.