Lake Eyasi is a soda lake located at the southwest corner of Ngorongoro Crater in the conservation area highlands. The lake is around 1050 km (400 square miles) and is 1040 m (3400 feet) above sea level. The main tributary is the Sibiti River and the secondary tributary is the Baray River. The Baray River has now become one of the primary onion growing regions for Tanzania and East Africa.
The Maasai live in this region, as do the Datoga and Mbulu tribes. A visit with the bushmen is worthwhile and they will graciously show you where and how they live and hunt. They subsist entirely off the bush and by bow hunting. Everything they use is made from local materials, including their bows which are strung with giraffe tendon and their arrows which are coated in lethal poison. Their language resembles that of Kalahari bushmen tribe (who were featured in the 1980 film ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’) with clicking noises used.
The Datoga and Mbulu people are pastoralists, like the Masai people.
The scenery of Lake Eyasi differs dramatically to that of the surrounding areas. Compared to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Highlands this area seems downright tropical. Palm trees border the lake and make homes for birds such as Fischer’s lovebird. Other trees in this area include the umbrella thorn acacia and sand paper bush. The weather is nearly always very hot and intense, as the lake is located in floor of the Rift Valley, the oldest rift in the world. The rift is thought to have opened over 65 million years ago, shortly after dinosaurs became extinct.
Lake Eyasi’s water levels vary greatly between the rainy and dry seasons. During the dry season the lake is virtually nonexHaistent and animals are forced to share what water is left, which makes for easier wildlife viewing. The lake can get quite deep during the rainy season and it attracts hippos who like to cool off in its brackish waters.
Bird lovers will be in paradise here, as the lake attracts vast numbers of birds of all sizes and colors. Some main birds to be found here include: Africa spoonbill, flamingos, gray headed gulls, great white pelicans, pied avocet and yellow-billed storks. The main fish found in the lake are catfish and lungfish.
This region is particularly suited for exploring on foot, and day or half day hikes are highly recommended. It is also possible to go on a hunting trip with the Hadzabe or to visit the other tribes. Almost any time of year is a good time to visit Lake Eyasi with only April and May being questionable as they are when the long