Lake Manyara National Park

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Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is an enchanting Tanzania safari destination with beautiful landscapes and diverse wildlife, located 126 km (78 mi) southwest of Arusha. Accessible by car in just an hour and a half, this compact yet diverse park offers an immersive safari experience. Within its boundaries lies Lake Manyara, an alkaline soda lake that serves as a magnet for an astonishing variety of bird species.

Renowned for its rich wildlife population, Lake Manyara is a haven for animal enthusiasts. The park is particularly famous for its large elephant herds, iconic tree-climbing lions, and spectacular flocks of flamingos numbering in the thousands during certain times of the year. The diverse habitats within the park, ranging from swampy wetlands to lush forests and grassy savannahs, provide ideal conditions for supporting a plethora of wildlife species, ensuring visitors are treated to an unforgettable safari experience.

In addition to its natural wonders, the national park offers visitors a glimpse into the cultural tapestry of Tanzania. Nearby lies the vibrant market town of Mto wa Mbu, known for its ethnic diversity and bustling markets. Exploring the park’s surroundings provides an opportunity to engage with local communities and gain insights into their way of life, adding depth to the overall safari experience.

Lake Manyara park

Lake Manyara National Park is a captivating slice of Tanzania’s natural beauty, located 126 km (78 mi) southwest of Arusha. Encompassing an area of 330 square kilometers (127 square miles), situated at an altitude ranging from 945 to 1,375 meters above sea level, the park experiences two rainy seasons: the long rains from March to May and the short rains from November to December.

The park is renowned for its rich biodiversity, boasting diverse inhabitants such as tree-climbing lions, impressive elephants with large tusks, buffalo herds, wildebeests, zebras, giraffes, hippos, warthogs, impalas, waterbucks, Kirk’s dik-diks, and klipspringers. Leopards and cheetahs are less common, but a dense leopard population thrives in the escarpment area. Additionally, Olive baboons and blue monkeys are frequently spotted, especially in the forested regions near the park’s entrance.

Lake Manyara National Park is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 350 bird species, including large congregations of flamingos and pelicans. Bird enthusiasts can enjoy sightings of the yellow-billed stork, marabou stork, and numerous other avian species. The park’s vegetation is equally diverse, encompassing savannah, acacia woodland, grassy floodplains, and tropical rainforest, providing habitats for its abundant wildlife.

Visitors to Lake Manyara National Park can engage in various activities to explore its natural wonders. Game drives, both during the day and at night, offer opportunities to observe nocturnal species and the famed tree-climbing lions. Birdwatching excursions provide exceptional sightings of numerous avian species.

The park offers camping facilities catering to various preferences, from luxury to more basic accommodations. Canoeing or kayaking on the tranquil waters of the lake offers a serene experience. Cultural tours not only provide insights into the traditions of local tribes but also offer a deeper understanding of the lives of the Maasai and Hadzabe tribes. Hiking and biking are ideal for exploring the park’s diverse landscapes, while the treetop walkway provides a unique perspective of the forest canopy.

The park serves as a gateway to other Tanzania destinations such as Ngorongoro Crater, Selous Game Reserve, Tarangire National Park, and more. Its strategic location makes it an ideal starting point for exploring the diverse landscapes and wildlife of northern Tanzania.

Lake Manyara National Park Facts

Lake Manyara National Park Vegetation | Ecosystem

Lake Manyara National Park is nestled at the base of the Great Rift Valley escarpment, and it includes a diverse range of ecosystems that create a unique environment for an array of flora and fauna. The park is renowned for its groundwater forest, fed by springs that emerge at the base of the escarpment, supporting a dense canopy of evergreen trees. This forest transitions into woodlands dominated by acacia species, which are adapted to the semi-arid conditions of the region.

The park’s central feature, Lake Manyara, is an alkaline lake that supports specialized vegetation such as marshlands and saline flats. These areas are crucial for the large flocks of flamingos and other waterbirds that feed and breed here. Surrounding the lake are grasslands and floodplains that provide grazing grounds for herbivores during the wet season.

On the park’s periphery, the escarpment rises dramatically, giving way to a dry savanna ecosystem where baobab trees and scrublands are prevalent. These areas are important for animals that require less water and can tolerate drier conditions.

The park’s diverse habitats are interconnected, forming a continuous ecological gradient from the lush groundwater forest to the open grasslands and the arid escarpment. This gradient allows for the movement and intermingling of species, creating a dynamic and resilient ecosystem. Human interventions, such as anti-poaching patrols and controlled burns, help maintain the balance of this delicate ecosystem, ensuring the park remains a sanctuary for wildlife and a natural wonder for visitors.


Climate: Dry & Wet Season | Best Time to Visit

Lake Manyara National Park experiences a bimodal pattern of rainfall, with two distinct wet seasons. The ‘long rains’ occur from March to May, and the ‘short rains’ from November to December. During these periods, the park’s vegetation becomes lush and green, providing a vibrant backdrop for wildlife and birdlife. The average daytime temperature ranges from 25°C (77°F) to 27°C (81°F), with cooler nights.

The dry season, spanning from June to October, is considered the best time for wildlife viewing. Animals congregate around water sources, making them easier to spot. The vegetation is less dense, which also improves visibility. This period is characterized by less rainfall and milder temperatures, creating ideal conditions for game drives and other outdoor activities.

Visitors can enjoy Lake Manyara National Park throughout the year, but those interested in birdwatching may find the wet season particularly rewarding, as migratory birds, including flamingos, populate the area. However, be advised that March and April can be very wet, potentially affecting travel plans and access to the park


Location | How to get to Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is situated about 126 kilometers southwest of Arusha, a major city in Tanzania. Visitors can reach the park by a scenic drive from Arusha or opt to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport, which is approximately 50 kilometers from Arusha. From there, they can take a connecting flight to Lake Manyara’s airstrip or continue by car. The drive from Arusha to the park takes about 1.5 hours, and from the Ngorongoro Crater, it’s about a 2-hour drive to cover the 80 kilometers to the park.

The park is part of the popular Northern safari circuit, and it’s usually accessed from Arusha, which is the gateway town for many safaris in the region. There are also domestic flights available from Arusha and Serengeti National Park to Lake Manyara’s airstrip for those who prefer to fly directly into the park area.


Lake Manyara National Park Entrance Fees

Dates From

Dates To East Africa Citizen Expatriates

Non-Residents

1st Jan 2024

14th Mar 2024  10,000 Kenya Shillings 25 US Dollars 50 US Dollars
15th Mar 2024 15th May 2024  10,000 Kenya Shillings 22.5 US Dollars

40 US Dollars

16th May 2024

31st Dec 2024  10,000 Kenya Shillings 25 US Dollars

50 US Dollars

Child Rate – Aged Between 5-15 Years

Dates From Dates To East Africa Citizen Expatriates

Non-Residents

1st Jan 2024

31st Dec 2024  2,000 Kenya Shillings 7.5 US Dollars

15 US Dollars


Mammals | Wildlife & Animals

Lake Manyara National Park is a sanctuary for a wide variety of wildlife, including several large mammal species. The park is particularly famous for its tree-climbing lions and impressively tusked elephants. Large herds of buffalo, wildebeest, and zebra roam the grassy plains, while the escarpment provides a habitat for a dense population of leopards, although they are elusive and require some luck to be spotted.

Other common mammals include giraffes, hippos, and blue monkeys. The park also hosts olive baboons, bushbucks, and klipspringers. The dik-diks with their distinctive appearance are a common sight, and pairs of klipspringers are sometimes seen on the rocks at the southern end of the park.


Bird Checklist | Birdlife

Lake Manyara National Park is a birding paradise, boasting over 400 species, making it an exceptional location for bird enthusiasts. The park’s diverse habitats, from its alkaline lake to the groundwater forest, support a rich avifauna. Notable species include the flamboyant flamingos, raptors like the Martial Eagle, and waterbirds such as the African Spoonbill.

The forested areas are home to the Silvery-cheeked Hornbill and Narina Trogon, while the grasslands provide a haven for the Kori Bustard and Yellow-throated Longclaw. This incredible variety of birdlife, alongside the park’s commitment to conservation, ensures that Lake Manyara remains a vibrant and vital ecosystem for birdwatching throughout the year.


Lake Manyara National Park Opening Time

Lake Manyara National Park is open daily from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm.


Where To Stay In Lake Manyara Park | Lake Manyara National Park Accommodation

Experiencing Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania is truly memorable when you stay within or near the park. AndBeyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge is a unique accommodation offering luxury treehouse suites nestled in the forest canopy | Click here for more details.

In the vicinity of the park, you can find Maramboi Tented Lodge, which provides a comfortable and adventurous tented experience on the shores of Lake Manyara. Other accommodations include a variety of lodges and campsites that cater to different preferences and budgets, ensuring every visitor finds a suitable place to rest after a day of exploring the park’s wonders. For a comprehensive list of options, it’s recommended to check travel websites or contact the park authorities directly.

Lake Manyara Treetop Walkway

The Lake Manyara Treetop Walkway, nestled in the lush environs of Tanzania’s Lake Manyara National Park, is a marvel of eco-tourism. This 370-meter-long aerial walkway, designed to blend seamlessly with its natural surroundings, offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the park’s vibrant canopy ecosystem. As visitors ascend the gentle incline, they are enveloped by the dense foliage of the groundwater forest, home to an array of wildlife including mischievous blue monkeys, graceful impalas, and a kaleidoscope of butterflies.

The walkway peaks at 18 meters, where a series of sturdy suspension bridges and viewing platforms around ancient tree trunks provide a sanctuary for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. Here, the forest’s secrets are revealed, from the chattering of silvery-cheeked hornbills to the distant trumpeting of majestic elephants.

The experience is both a serene and thrilling adventure, offering a bird’s-eye view that captivates the senses and heightens the appreciation for Tanzania’s natural beauty. Open from dawn till dusk, this attraction is a testament to the wonders of the African wilderness, inviting all who traverse its path to share in its enchanting world.

Lake Manyara National Park Night Game Drives

Lake Manyara National Park Night game drives are a thrilling way to experience the park’s nocturnal wildlife. As the sun sets and darkness blankets the landscape, the park transforms into a different world, alive with the sounds and movements of creatures that remain hidden during the day. The drive begins at 8:00 PM, with visitors embarking on a three-hour journey through the park’s diverse habitats.

Guided by the soft glow of the vehicle’s lights, tourists are accompanied by an expert ranger guide who helps spot elusive animals like genets, civet cats, and porcupines. The highlight for many is the chance to see predators such as leopards and lions, which are more active and easier to spot at night. The drive takes routes through the forest and towards the lake area, where the silhouette of hippos can often be seen against the moonlit water.

The park’s ecosystem is particularly suited for night game viewing due to its all-year water supply, which attracts wildlife to drink at various water points. This makes for an exceptional game-viewing experience, as the animals are drawn out into the open, making them easier to observe. During the dry season, from June to October, the shorter grass and favorable road conditions further enhance the night drive experience.

In addition to the night drives, Lake Manyara National Park offers morning and afternoon game drives. These drives provide opportunities to see a wide array of animals in their most active states, including elephants, buffalos, hippos, monkeys, baboons, warthogs, klipspringers, zebras, giraffes, and the park’s famous tree-climbing lions. The park is renowned for its large herds of elephants and the rare sight of lions lounging in acacia trees.

Visitors to Lake Manyara National Park can expect a unique safari experience that combines the thrill of nighttime exploration with the beauty of Tanzania’s wilderness. Whether it’s the quiet observation of nocturnal habits or the excitement of spotting a lion on the hunt, night game drives offer an unforgettable adventure that showcases the park’s rich biodiversity under the stars.

Booking & Reservations Lake Manyara National Park Contact

Mobile: +254-721-242-711
WhatsApp: +254-721-242-711
Reservations: +254 718-179-967
Email: info@africanspicesafaris.com
Website: https://africanspicesafaris.com

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