Spotting Blue Balls in Lake Manyara, Tanzania


Tanzania has so many beautiful national parks, including the world famous Serengeti. One park that is often overlooked is Lake Manyaria. While this park is smaller in size, it still protect 330 km2 (130 sq mi) of wildlife space.

There are two reasons to visit this park, one is to spot flamingos and the other is to find Vervet monkeys. These monkeys are known to most people as blue ball monkeys.

When you first spot one of these monkeys it is almost a shock, as the pictures do not do justice to how blue the balls are in person. The blue is an advertisement to other nearby monkeys on the position of the monkey in the social order. In other words, a dominant alpha male who is ready to mate will have the bluest balls.

The great thing about Lake Manyara is how unpopular it is with tourists. It’s a small parks where you can get up close with nature, without having other tourists interfere.

While the vervet monkeys were the highlight of the trip, I also got to see elephants, zebras, baboons,  and a wide variety of birds, including flamingos in the distance.

As my launching point for my adventures in Tanzania, Lake Manyara was exciting. It was also the best national park that I visited for observing primates.

I would recommend this park to anyone who visits Tanzania. One day is all you need. It’s also on-route towards the Serengeti, should you be driving there from Dar es Salaam. This makes it a great destination to stop over for a few hours.