Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania is one of the most visited Tanzania national parks by tourists on Tanzania safaris. Lake Manyara National Park is located just between Tarangire National Park and the famous Ngorongoro Conservation Area, thereby making it a wonderful combination. Lake Manyara is in the northern circuit, which is most famous of the three Tanzania safari circuits. Lake Manyara  is bordered by the very spectacular Rift Valley escarpment in the west, making the park the more beautiful and worth visiting. Lake Manyara, from which the park derived its name, is a soda lake. Lake Manyara Park is located in the northern part of Tanzania, about 126km west of Arusha.

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is relatively small, covering about 330 square Kilometres, but has more than 11 distinct ecosystems that include open savannah and very dense evergreen forest cover. Lake Manyara National Park is home to a variety of flora and fauna, and is considered as one of the destinations to have the highest density of large mammals in the world. Lake Manyara has all three big cat species. Just like Queen Elizabeth National Park of Uganda, Lake Manyara Park has a population of tree-climbing lions. Leopards, which also spend most of their time up on trees can be seen in the park; looking up on trees is therefore advised while on a Lake Manyara safari. Lake Manyara Park is also famous for large elephant herds, baboon troops, buffaloes, zebras, various antelope species, giraffes, hippos, and so many more can be seen while on a Tanzania safari tour in Lake Manyara National Park. 

There have been well over 400 bird species recorded in Lake Manyara National Park, thereby making the park a birding hotspot. Lake Manyara itself is famous for abundant flocks of flamingos that camp here from March to May, and also attracts countless herons, egrets, Abdim’s stork, the African hawk-eagle, Von der Decken’s hornbill and many more birds can be seen while on a birding safari in Lake Manyara. During the summer, migrant species from Europe and Asia can be found in Lake Manyara Park.

About 180 butterfly species have been recorded in Lake Manyara, as well as over 670 flowering plant and fern species recorded. These all together make the park very beautiful and worth visiting and enjoying the scenic views.

Activities in Lake Manyara National Park

Game viewing

Game viewing in Lake Manyara is the top most activity that tourists on a Lake Manyara safari take part in. Taking the main driving route along the edge of Lake Manyara through a range of habitats has tourists enjoying game viewing of a variety of wildlife species. Game viewing can be done on safari vehicles, all day long including in the night, thereby allowing tourists an opportunity to see nocturnal animals like hyenas.

Birding in Lake Manyara National Park

Birding is another of the most done activities in Lake Manyara, with well over 400 species of birds roaming the park and the waters. 

Boat rides/Canoeing

The National Park is one of the few Tanzania destinations that allow canoeing or boat safaris. Boat rides or canoeing can be done on Lake Manyara, rewarding tourists with amazing scenery of the aquatic birds like flamingos, as well as wildlife on the shores of Lake Manyara say elephants, giraffes, among others.

Lake Manyara tree walkway

This activity gives tourists a bird’s eye view of Lake Manyara. The Lake Manyara tree walkway activity involves tourists walking on a 370m high tree walkway, more like the canopy walk in Nyungwe National Park of Rwanda.

Cultural tours

The National Park offers cultural tours to tourists, thereby giving them an opportunity to experience the local culture of the Maasai people who were once inhabitants of the park but now live on the boundaries of the park. While on a cultural tour, tourists enjoy traditional songs and dances of the Maasai, as well as encounter their unique Maasai bombas in which they stay, constructed using mud and straw.

How to get to Lake Manyara National Park

From Arusha, which is the start of most of Lake Manyara safaris, as well as the northern circuit safaris, tourists drive west of Arusha taking about 2 hours of driving to get to Lake Manyara. For tourists on a combined Northern circuit safari, it is at most 2 hours only from both Ngorongoro Conservation Area, as well as Tarangire National Park. To get to Arusha, tourists arrive at the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam and fly direct to Arusha Airport, and then charter flights to Lake Manyara Airport. Flights can take about 30 minutes only, and are offered by Coastal Aviation and Auric Air. 

The best time to visit Lake Manyara Park

The Park has a temperate climate with warm temperatures in the day and chilly nights as well as early mornings. If one is after seeing the teaming birdlife including flamingos on Lake Manyara then the wet season is the best time to visit Lake Manyara, which falls in the wet months of March to May, as well as November to December. For perfect game viewing and a chance to see migratory birds, the dry season which falls in the rest of the months is the best time to visit Lake Manyara Park. It is therefore safe to say that Lake Manyara Park can be visited all throughout the year.

Lake Manyara National Park
Tree Climbing Lions in Lake Manyara

Accommodation in Lake Manyara National Park

There are a wide range of accommodation options that tourists can stay in while on a Lake Manyara safari. These range from luxury to budget, thereby catering for all kinds of travellers. These are both in and outside the park, say Lake Manyara Serena Lodge, andBeyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, several campsites in the park operated by the Tanzania National Parks, Lake Manyara Kilimanjaro Lodge, Manyara wildlife safari camp, and so many more. Booking well in advance for stay inside the park should be made.

Lake Manyara National Park is a magnificent Tanzania national park worth staying at and visiting for a Tanzania safari, wildlife safari in Tanzania or even a getaway or honeymoon, especially when combined with Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tarangire National Park, or even the world famous Serengeti National Park for the great wildebeest migration. Get in touch with a reputable tour operator to help you plan of the most memorable Tanzania safaris, and get an opportunity to visit the stunning Lake Manyara.

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