Lake Manyara National Park, positioned between the Great Rift Valley and the alkaline soda lake, is a protected area in Tanzania’s Arusha and Manyara Regions, located on the road from Arusha to the famous Tanzanian northern circuit safari, which includes Ngorongoro and Serengeti national parks. The Tanzania National Parks Authority manages the park, which spans 330 km2 and includes around 230 km2 of Lake Surface. The lake has around 400 bird species, and because it is on the road to the famed Ngorongoro and Serengeti national parks, the lake Manyara national park is a major stop for travelers visiting those parks.
Groundwater forests, bush plains, baobab-strewn cliffs, and algae-streaked hot springs are just a few of the park’s habitats, which provide remarkable ecological variability in a limited area, as well as a plethora of fauna and birds. The park is known for its tree-climbing lions, as well as other larger creatures like gazelles, zebras, buffaloes, and hippos, to name a few. Apart from mammals, the park is home to a variety of bird species due to its diverse environments, including woodland birds and water-loving bird species, with flamingos being the most famous and more visible.
THE HISTORY OF THE PARK
Since the 1920s, the area around Lake Manyara has been utilized for sports hunting. In 1957, a wildlife reserve was established, and in 1960, the Tanzanian government designated it as a national park. In 1974, around 550 ha were added to the southern end. A short strip of land runs between the Gregory Rift wall to the west and Lake Manyara, an alkaline lake, to the east, making up the majority of the park’s land area. The national park only covers around 200 km2 of the lake’s northwest region. It is part of the Lake Manyara Biosphere Reserve, which was established by UNESCO in 1981 as part of its Man and the Biosphere reserve.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO/ VISIT LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK?
The dry season, from June to October, is considered the best time for game viewing and is the most popular time for visitors to explore Tanzania safaris during this time. However, remember that this is the peak tourist season, and the northern section of the park is very crowded, especially in the mornings, for the majority of the year, that is to say, from June to October. Yes, the park is very crowded; nonetheless, the park experiences rain in the months of March and April, resulting in a low tourist season with no traffic congestion.
Because the park contains a diverse range of bird species as a result of the varied habitats it hosts, the greatest time for bird viewing is during the wet season, which runs from November to December and March to May, when the park is more rewarding for birds.
WEATHER IN LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
The dry season and the wet season are the two main weather seasons in Lake Manyara National Park, but each has its own rewards and uniqueness compared to the other, which is why it is considered an all-year-round Tanzania destination, with the dry season being the best time for animal watching and the wet season being the best for bird watching.
The dry season
During the months of June to October, the park enjoys its dry season, which is also known as the main tourist season. The short dry season occurs in January and February, when a huge number of tourists rush the park, resulting in more expensive Tanzania safari tours due to the high demand for housing. The animals congregate around the few surviving water sources at that time of year, and because the vegetation is sparse, they are plainly visible. The dry season is not recommended for visitors, especially those on a tight budget.
The wet season
The rainy season at Lake Manyara National Park lasts from November to May, and during this period the park shines in its natural beauty as the rains nourish and stimulate the vegetation to become greener, so if you decide to visit during this time, you will enjoy the beautiful nature of the lake Manyara national park.
The arrival of the rains breathes new life into the park’s landscape, reviving the dried plants and revealing a magnificent green scenery once more. The charges are generally lower because the park is less congested during the low season, which is April and May. Although the best animal watching occurs during the dry season, Lake Manyara National Park offers excellent wildlife viewing throughout the year. During the wet season, many migratory birds may be spotted in the park, making it the best time to see Lake Manyara birds.
Also, because there are fewer guests visiting Tanzania safaris during this season, it is the best time for budget safaris in Tanzania. Most accommodations offer greater discounts during this period.
HOW TO GET TO LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
The park is accessible from all parts of Tanzania; however, the easiest way to get there is to fly to Arusha, and then take a road safari from there to the park’s entrance gate, which takes around 1 to 2 hours. The road to the park is well-paved, but the inner roads may require the use of a competent four-wheel-drive car.
For international visitors, the ideal alternative is to fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport, which is only a few kilometers from Arusha town. From there, you may drive to Arusha city or have your company pick you up and bring you to Lake Manyara National Park. However, if you prefer to fly, there are several flights available from both the Kilimanjaro and Arusha airports to one of the airstrips in the Lake Manyara national park.
Another option is to fly to Dar es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport and then either take a bus or a flight to Arusha. Alternatively, you can fly to Nairobi, Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta international airport, and then either fly to Arusha or drive to Arusha city, which is only a few kilometers from Lake Manyara National Park.
WHAT TO SEE OR TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
Lake Manyara National Park is a small park at the base of the River Valley Escarpment. Unlike the more savanna-dominated parks, its groundwater woods provide a more varied landscape. Within Lake Manyara National Park, there are a variety of sensational tourist attractions to visit, including various vegetation kinds, larger mammals, and many bird species, among others.
The lake is small and shallow. Manyara is an alkaline lake in this park that swells and shrinks in size depending on the seasons and is surrounded by a long, silvery bowl of salt deposits. It comprises 220 square kilometers, or two-thirds of the park’s entire surface area. The lake is home to a great number of pink flamingos as well as other animals such as hippos that live in the river’s shallows.
The groundwater forest is the principal habitat and gives the park its beauty, especially during the wet season. It is set beneath the beautiful Great Rift Valley’s sheer western escarpment. Wide grassy flood plains can be found near the lake, and areas of mixed acacia forests can be seen further away.
The animals in Lake Manyara includes elephants, wildebeests, giraffes, and buffaloes in plenty. The park is also known for its large population of zebras, impalas, warthogs, and waterbucks. However, the park is home to over 400 different bird species, ranging from woodland birds to water-loving birds, with flamingos being the most visible in the park’s alkaline lake.
Tree climbing lions
This is the primary attraction in Lake Manyara National Park; among the lions that live there is a robust population of the rare tree-climbing lions, which can only be found in two populations across the world, the other being in the Ishasha Area of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. However, tree climbing lions are not commonly observed and cannot be viewed all of the time in Lake Manyara national park. What is required is timing, and if you’re lucky, you may be able to see these well-known Lake Manyara national park attractions.
Hot springs (maji moto)
Several hot springs that seep from the neighboring rift valley wall run across a huge swampy area on the western beaches of Lake Manyara national park. They’re hot enough to pass the “boil an egg” test, bubbling at around 60°C and displaying the unmistakable yellow of sulfur in some parts.
WHAT TO DO/TOURIST ACTIVITIES IN LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
Day and Night Game Drive
Enjoy the adventure of a nighttime game drive under the stars. Night game drives give you the opportunity to see nocturnal/most night active animals such as owls and leopards that are not visible during day game drives, as well as hear different sounds of wildlife because the sounds are better and easier to hear at night than during the day. This unique opportunity should not be missed while visiting Lake Manyara National Park. You will be accompanied by a park ranger with a firearm to safeguard your safety from dangerous creatures.
These bridges climb to a total height of 18 meters above the ground, allowing you to take in the forest’s animals and flora. The Treetop Walkway at Lake Manyara allows you to experience a thrilling sky-high excursion right through the forest. This 370-meter aerial walk allows you to wander among the treetops, giving you a bird’s-eye view of the forest and faraway wildlife. The treetop walkway begins with a short boardwalk and gradually rises in elevation, finally leading to a series of suspension bridges with secure netting on both sides.
Lake Manyara National Park is also unique in Tanzania because it is one of the few national parks that allows canoeing. You may get up close and personal with dozens of aquatic species and bird species, such as pink flamingos that gather near the water to rest and quench their thirst by paddling at Lake Manyara. But, when you paddle past them into the tranquil waters of Lake Manyara, you’ll also notice a number of giraffes and elephants, all of which may be viewed with a closer look.
This is yet another tourist attraction in the national park of Lake Manyara. Visitors to Lake Manyara will be able to enjoy bird watching in various areas of the park, as the park is home to over 400 bird species. You will be able to observe forest birds from the ground water forest, and you will have the opportunity to explore the water-loving species, including the famed flamingos, at alkaline Lake Manyara.
Filming and photographing
Visitors are encouraged to record and photograph their own life memories, and Lake Manyara national park is an ideal location. With so many attractions, as well as so many stunning filming sites, a photographer will be delighted to capture a dozen images for their lifelong memories.
WHERE TO STAY/ ACCOMMODATIONS AT LAKE MANAYARA NATIONAL PARK
In addition to its beauty and natural beauty, Lake Manyara National Park is focused on providing a variety of different accommodations to improve your expectations when planning to visit this groundwater forest and tree climbing Lions Park in Tanzania, to make it more rewarding, delightful, and enjoyable for tourists. Manyara National Park includes a variety of hotels ranging from budget to mid-range to luxury lodges to ensure that all types of guests are treated equally. The following are some of the best accommodations and places to stay in Lake Manyara National Park.
- Lake Manyara plantation lodge
- Andbeyond lake Manyara tree lodge
- Manyara Ranch Conservancy
- Isoitok camp Manyara
- Lake Manyara Serena lodge
- Kirurumu tented lodge
- Lake Burunge tented camp
- Manyara wildlife safari camp.
- Lemala Manyara camp
- Haven nature camp and lodge
- Lake Manyara view lodge