Lake Manyara NP is a small park at the base of the Rift Valley escarpment. Its groundwater forest offers a nice change of scenery from the more savannah-dominated parks. Although the park is known for tree-climbing lions, big cats aren’t that easily seen. Elephant are prolific and are the main attraction.
Best Time to Visit
Watching wildlife in Lake Manyara National Park is good all year, but at its best from late June to October, during the Dry season. However, this very scenic park is at its most beautiful during the Wet season, from November to May, when the vegetation is lush and waterfalls cascade down the escarpment.
Best Time June to September (easier to spot animals)
High Season Most of the year – July to March (northern section of the park gets crowded in the afternoon)
Low Season April and May
Best Weather June to October (few showers of rain)
Worst Weather March and April (peak of Wet season)
June to October –Dry Season
Animals are more easily found in the thinner vegetation where they congregate at water sources
Lots of sun and very little rain
Less chance of catching malaria, as the mosquitoes are fewer
Bring warm clothes for game drives in June and August as it tends to be cold in the early mornings
Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations, including the guide to Tanzania.
The park is part of the popular northern safari circuit. Most safaris to this circuit (Manyara NP in particular) start from the town of Arusha. The best option 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) using a domestic flight. There is also the option to book a cheap flight to Nairobi in Kenya, and take a shuttle bus to Arusha. In most cases, your tour operator will pick you up at the airport in Tanzania.
There are flights from Arusha and the Serengeti to Manyara’s airstrip, but the trip from Arusha on the tarred road only takes one and a half hours by car. Most people do the circuit by safari vehicle, especially as the park is on the way to Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti (the other parks of the northern circuit). Coming from the Ngorongoro Crater, the driving time is about two hours to cover the 80km/50mi. The driving time from Tarangire NP is also two hours to cover about 100km/60m
Airlines & Ticket Prices
Please check Skyscanner, or for multiple-destination flights check Expedia, to see which airlines can take you to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) or Arusha Airport (ARK), and what tickets would cost.
Located in the northern part of Tanzania, Lake Manyara National Park is 126 kilometers west of Arusha Town. The park is sized 330 square kilometers of which 220 sq kilometers form a lake when the water levels become high in the rainy season. Alternating to the nearest Park of Tarangire National Park through the kwakuchinja corridor the parks share world animals. They can be seen easily nearby the roads towards Lake Manyara and Serengeti National parks.
Flora and Fauna of the Park
Out of the 330 square kilometers, definitely two thirds of it is underwater. By African levels, Lake Manyara National Park is a small park. On the contrary however, it is very dazzling and contains enormous wildlife more so birds.
The Wildlife Animals in Manyara
The game in Lake Manyara includes plenty of elephants, wildebeest along with so many giraffes, and buffalo. The numbers are very famous in terms of the zebras, impala, warthog and waterbuck. On the slopes of the escarpment, you may need to search a little hard for the tinny and renowned shy kirk’s dik dik and klipspringer A good habitat for lions among Manyara’s healthy lion family that are popular for their tree climbing character is made perfect by the broken forests and escarpment. Often widely regarded as Africa’s largest, huge troops of baboons which often number as hundreds are immediately definite to most of the guests.
Birding in Lake Manyara
The life of the birds here is exceptionary differing as regards to the habitants.Often; you will be able to see flocks of pelicans and pink shading of distant flamingoes in the middle of the lake. Amongst the margins and floodplains, feeding so many egrets, stilts erons, spoonbills, stalks and other waders. The woodlands equally yield with the so much water around. But the more interesting species will be viewed in the evergreen forests; for example, crowned eagles, crested guinea fowl and the silvery cheeked hornbills.
Set under the magnificent of the Great Rift Valley’s steep western escarpment is a long narrow park that keeps the area between the escarpment and Lake Manyara safe. The shallow lake Manyara is an alkaline lake which expands and contracts according to the seasons within a long silvery bowl of salt deposits. Within the vicinity of the lake are wide grassy flood plains and further as you move away, are bands of mixed acacia woodlands. Leaving that aside, patches of captivating evergreen forests, that are kept going by perennial ground water springs from the base of the escarpment are next to the escarpment. The road circuit is limited and can be covered in about 3 to 4 hours where you can see the animals that are always on the move.It is therefore worth to revist.Most safari companies organize for afternoon visits but taking a morning one is far much better as there are fewer other vehicles yet with more wildlife activity. The heart of Masaai Country houses Manyara National Park. Here is where you can visit the unforgettable appealing red-robbed pastoralists who are populous in a boma. Outside the park, undertaken can be mountain bike tours, and escarpment forest walks. When water levels are suitable, canoe safaris are also offered.
The setting for the earliest Tarzan films, verdant Lake Manyara National Park was once described as Ernest Hemingway as “The loveliest I have seen in Africa”. Lake Manyara National Park is an unspoiled paradise of ground water forest fed by underground springs and teeming with wildlife such as elephants, hippos, giraffes, buffaloes, antelopes, and some of the largest baboon troupes in Africa. But it’s most iconic attraction is undoubtedly its tree-climbing lions, and people flock from all over the world to see these iconic predators lounging in the trees.
Lake Manyara National Park Fact File
Location: Approximately ninety minutes drive from Arusha.
To Do: Game drives, canoe safaris, cultural tours, mountain biking, abseiling, and forest walks.
Known For: Africa’s largest concentration of elephants, tree-climbing lions, and flamingoes.