Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park offers a wilderness experience in diverse habitats, from its Rift Valley soda lake to dense woodlands and steep mountainsides. 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. Large herds of buffalo, cheetah, Masai giraffe and impala roam the lake shores and the forested valley slopes.
A Lake Manyara safari is a fascinating experience, as the park also features a ground-water forest, acacia tortilis woodland and hot springs called Maji Moto. Troops of several hundred olive baboon appear alongside Sykes monkey and short-eared galago. Cape clawless otter, Egyptian mongoose, hippo and klipspringer are other park residents.
I booked my safari holiday through Serengeti trips. They were the most helpful company I have ever dealt with and I work within the travel industry. I had the most amazing time. The holiday went as clockwork with no hitches anywhere.
Daear William, Just to let you know we had a great adventure at Lake Manyara National Park. All went well. Saw chimps every day and lots of them on first and last day.
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.
Activities on your Lake Manyara Safari
Lake Manyara national park is renowned for its diverse vegetation, good wildlife sightings including flamingoes and acquatic birds, beautiful scenary with ground water forests and also due its easy access from Arusha city, the starting point for safaris in Northern Tanzania.
Along with usual safari in Lake Manyara National park, there are several add-on tours you can do in this park as you can find below.
Hiking in forest
Hike down the Great Rift Valley, through a dense ground water forest. View birds, monkeys, bush buck and other forest animals.
Canoeing in Lake Manyara
Lake Manyara is home to an incredible array of bird life, including thousands of pink-hued flamingos. You can get very close to giraffes, elephants, buffalos and other animals grazing on the shoreline.
Night game drives in Lake Manyara
Game drive through Manyara National Park after dark to experience a whole new level of safari. The less seen animals are generally active at night and Lake Manyara National Park are full of them! Porcupines, genets and civet cats are frequent visitors to the forest. Hippos are nocturnal animals (active by night) and it is highly likely to see many of these beasts grazing on the side of the road. Lion sightings are more common and where lions are mostly sleeping in day time at night they are almost always active.
TreeTop walkway Lake Manyara
Manyara Treetop Walkway takes you on a sky-high adventure through the beautiful forest of Lake Manyara. Walk among the treetops and experience untouched nature and wildlife from a unique perspective. 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. Ideal to do on the way in or out of Manyara National Park.
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
Manyara Wildlife Safari Camp
Manyara Wildlife Safari Camp is perched on a hill overlooking the floodplain of Lake Manyara. Offering permanent tents and cottages that blend into the bush, its a quick drive to Lake Manyara National Park, with its diverse fauna and flora, prolific birdlife and a wide range of animals, including tree-climbing lions and abundant elephant herds.
- Beautiful views across the floodplain of Lake Manyara
- Easy access to Lake Manyara National Park
- Accommodation available in both tents and cottages, all with private viewing decks and balconies
- Bicycle hire available for bike safaris
- Infinity pool with a view over Lake Manyara’s floodplain
- Great restaurant and bar facilities
- Bush dinner with traditional Maasai dancers can be arranged
Manyara Wildlife Safari Camp has 10 permanent canvas safari tents and 16 cottages, all with king size beds, mosquito nets, en-suite showers and private viewing decks or balconies overlooking the Manyara floodplain. The Honeymoon Suite boasts two private viewing decks and a jacuzzi.
The average price of a 7-day trip to Lake Manyara National Park is $2,672 for a solo traveler, $4,799 for a couple, and $8,997 for a family of 4. Lake Manyara National Park hotels range from $62 to $243 per night with an average of $152, while most vacation rentals will cost $20 to $640 per night for the entire home.
Average worldwide flight costs to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) are between $1,444 and $2,446 per person for economy flights and $4,531 to $7,676 for first class. Depending on activities, we recommend budgeting $52 to $138 per person per day for transportation and enjoying local restaurants.
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.
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.