Lake Manyara national park has an area of Approx 330sqkm. It consists of two-thirds water and one-third land. It is famous for its tree-climbing Lions and flocks of flamingos along the lakeshore. Habitat diversity includes open grassy floodplains following the lakeshore, the rocky base of the western rift valley escarpment, a belt of thick acacia woodland as well as lush and extensive patch of groundwater forest. This habitat diversity corresponds to the varied Fauna the park boasts of. The lake itself is shallow and alkaline.
Most of the game viewing is done along the Lakeshore and the acacia woodland area between the lakeshore and the hot springs in the south of the park. While the rift valley escarpment rising to the west supports a wide variety of birds.
Concentration of Game
Despite its surface area comprising of two-thirds water, Lake Manyara contains a remarkably wide diversity of animal species. Large predators include Lion, Leopard and Hyena. Other mammals include Elephant, Hippo, Waterbuck, Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest, Buffalo, Warthog, Kirk’s Dik Dik, Baboon, Vervet monkeys, Black and White Colobus, Blue monkeys and various Antelope.
Lake Manyara is also rich in birdlife and upto 400 different species have been recorded. In fact Lake Manyara is probably the only park where one can guarantee to see up to a hundred different bird species in a day ! Some prominent species include: silvery-cheeked Hornbills, Bee-eaters, Barbets, Flamingos, Kingfishers, Rollers, Owl and white-backed Pelican.
Best time to visit
The park is open throughout the year but the best times to visit are anytime between May to February.
Besides game-viewing in 4x4 vehicles, there are few other activities that one can do while in visiting Lake Manyara national park. These unconventional activities include canoeing along the shallow western shore of the lake, mountain biking down the rift valley escarpment, guided afternoon walk through the groundwater forest in the Kirurumu gorge and a cultural tour with a local guide in the close by Mto wa Mbu village. For those who are in for something more adventurous there is abseiling down the rift escarpment above the lake with a qualified instructor.
Lake Manyara National Park lies within the northern tourist circuit and is only 120km away from Arusha city- linked by good surface road. This makes the park very accessible. Most of the tourists visiting Ngorongoro and Serengeti include Lake Manyara in their itineraries.
At least 2 days are required if you want to do proper justice to the park and if you want to guarantee seeing the tree-climbing lions. Though many visitors do a full one-day game-viewing trip and then proceed to the other northern parks along the way.
Our Recommendations on Lake Manyara National Park
Though Lake Manyara national park is not the best place to see large predators, the diversity of habitats it offers and the ease with which large mammals such as Elephants can be observed in comparison to other parks in the northern circuit is quite significant. Plus it has to offer probably the best reserve for bird life in Tanzania ! We suggest you keep at least one full day game-viewing in this beautiful park.
The close-by Mto wa Mbu village is famous for its ethnic diversity. People from more than 120 different tribes in Tanzania live here. This is a unique opportunity for cultural tourism.
Customized Itineraries are also available upon request.
Please contact us for a perfect, well-organized and affordable tour of this beautiful national park.
Map of Lake Manyara National Park