Best Lake Manyara Safari tours
Best Lake Manyara Safari Tours
Lake Manyara National Park is one of the smaller national parks in Tanzania but still offers beautiful landscapes and is home to an interesting collection of wildlife. The lake itself is a soda lake / alkaline lake and reaches a maximum depth of 3.7 m. The vegetation changes from ground water forests to flood plains and finally to acacia wood plains.
For bird enthusiasts this park is truly rewarding as it is home to over 400 species of birds. Other inhabitants of the park include elephants, buffaloes, hippos, baboons, waterbucks, impalas, giraffes, zebras and wildebeests. The park has an abundant population of leopards but sightings are rare due to the thick vegetation. With a bit of luck visitors can catch a glimpse of the renowned “tree climbing” lions.
When to Visit Lake Manyara National Park
When going on holiday to Tanzania the chances are the aim of the trip is to either go for a safari, or to the beach or both. As a general rule of thumb, the best time to be in Tanzania on safari is in the dry season from July – October when the weather is dry and sunny. As the parks dry out, the bushes become less dense and the animals are easier to spot because of this, but also because they are forced to congregate to the remaining water holes. There are short rains in November (which sometimes trickle through into December, January and March) before the long rains which come in April and May. However, this is not to say December, January and February are not still excellent times to be in Tanzania…
The temperature in Lake Manyara is around 30 degrees in the months in between the rainy seasons so it can get quite hot. In the winter months of June, July and August it drops to 25 degrees, which is potentially a slightly more comfortable temperature. With rainfall, there is not a huge amount of give in the months in between the classically rainy months of November and April-May. Although there is some rain still in these months, it will be more like short showers than torrential downpours as with April, as we can see from the rainfall vs days raining numbers. The only potential outlier in this is December, which seems to have both more rainfall and days raining than in November… All that being said, don’t let a chance of rain put you off a safari of a lifetime! Most of the time we advise clients to only spend an afternoon in Lake Manyara as the park is not very big – it is better to spend your money on the stars of the north; Ngorongoro and The Serengeti, so don’t let Lake Manyara’s microclimate impact your safari dates too much…
Getting to Lake Manyara National Park
The park is part of the popular northern safari circuit. Arusha is the gateway town and the best way to get there is to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), which is situated about 46km/29mi from Arusha.
It is also possible to fly into Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam and fly on to Arusha Airport (ARK) or Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).
There are flights from Arusha and the Serengeti to Manyara’s airstrip, but the trip from Arusha on the tarred road only takes 1½ hours by car.Coming from the Ngorongoro Crater, the driving time is about two hours to cover the 80km/50mi.
Game Drive in lake Manyara National Park
Each morning and afternoon set off in the company of your guide and tracker in an open 4×4 safari vehicle with a canvas canopy. Together you will explore the diverse habitats of the park, stopping on the lakeshore to admire the different bird species and look for pink flamingo. You will traverse a mosaic of acacia woodlands, grassy floodplains and tall forest in search of wildlife, including Manyara’s famous tree-climbing lions, which may be spotted resting in favoured spots and large family herds of elephant.
200 furry individuals can make up an Olive baboon troop who are always up for a fun time, and dark male giraffes can be seen gazing nonchalantly over the rooftops of leafy trees. A subspecies of the common wildebeest, frolic on the lakeshore and massive buffalo bulls with impressive horns revel in the oozing muddy shallows. The elusive leopard and Cape clawless otter are occasionally encountered.
Rich in game and one of Tanzania’s smaller wilderness enclaves, Lake Manyara National Park is a magnificent terrain. A fascinating environment to be at one with nature, and really appreciate and gasp at the extraordinary world of wildlife.
Covering two thirds of the park with liquid depths is the beautiful Lake Manyara, while the rest of the Manyara ecosystem consists of lofty mountainside, flourishing marshlands, dense woodlands, sweeping grassy areas and hot springs.
Nature Walks in Lake Manyara National Park
This 370m airwalk starts with a short board-walk that gradually rises from ground level up through the canopy of the forest. You walk over a series of suspension bridges with thick netting on the sides, and reach a height of 18m off the ground. Each of the bridges end on a viewing deck situated around tree trunks. These treetop platforms are perfect places to stop and enjoy life in the canopy amongst butterflies, monkeys and birds.
Birds-eye view of the forest
During this walk guides will point out interesting facts about the Lake Manyara flora and fauna, while you can enjoy a unique birds-eye view of the world around you. This is Tanzania’s first Treetop Walkway and one of the longest in Africa. A great outdoor activity for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Families, couples, individuals and groups are all welcome.
Where to Stay in Lake Manyara National Park?
Accommodation in Lake Manyara National Park is limited to a handful of safari lodges with only a single accommodation set inside the park itself. If you’re looking for an adventure in one of northern Tanzania’s least visited safari destinations, our selection of Lake Manyara accommodation is sure to inspire you and will make planning your Tanzania safari so much simpler.
Luxury accommodation inside lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara Tree Lodge
Lake Manyara National Park FAQ
Apart from a spectacular setting, the park is famous for its unusual tree-climbing lions and the vast elephant herds it was established to protect. The shores of the lake, encrusted with pink flamingo, attract more than 400 species of birds, many of them waterfowl or migrants.
November-April, is the best time to see migratory birds, including thousands of pink flamingos and pelicans. Migrants start to arrive in November during the wet season and stay around until April. Generally, flamingos can be found at the shallow edges of the lake.
Lake Manyara National Park is famous for among others the tree climbing lions which inhabit the park. These unique tree climbing lions can be seen in Lake Manyara National Park and is one of the reasons why Lake Manyara National Park is a top tourist attraction.
Manyara National Park is a sanctuary for hippo, giraffe, impala and zebra, and its lake a magnet for birdlife, including sizeable flocks of pink flamingos. Mahogany and sausage trees are alive with blue and vervet monkeys; elephants feed on fallen fruit, and bushbuck, baboons and leopard make their homes in the forest.
The main fish species inhabiting the lake are catfish and tilapia. There is a small fishery, but fish only tend to be found near the inflow areas, where salt concentrations are lower.