Lake Manyara Safari

Lake Manyara Safari

One of the most beautiful of Africa’s national parks, with a remarkable diversity of habitats and wildlife, Manyara is nevertheless small by African standards, covering just 330km2, of which about two thirds is lake.

Many visitors don’t spend more than a few hours in Lake Manyara National Park as the wildlife numbers aren’t as high as elsewhere, but if you have the time and the patience a safari here can turn up some wonderful and unexpected safari experiences.

You’ll enter the park through a shady forest, where giant fig and mahogany trees are sustained by perennial groundwater springs. Home to shy troops of blue monkeys and a haven to buffalo and giraffe, this forest is a unique habitat.

Emerging onto the plains around Lake Manyara and at the foot of the picturesque Rift Valley escarpment you’ll begin to see more grazers – herds of elephant, zebra and giraffe, warthog families and groups of gazelle. The shallow, alkaline lake is often tinged pink with flamingos and if you are lucky they’ll be close to the lakeshore, providing a beautiful backdrop for your photographs.

A closer look might turn up Kirk’s dik-dik, one of Africa’s smallest antelope, or an agile klipspringer on the rocks. The broken acacia forests and escarpment make it good country for leopard, and there’s a healthy population of lion. Manyara’s lion are known for climbing trees more often than their relatives in Africa’s other parks. Huge troops of baboons, often numbering in their hundreds, are comical to watch.

The diversity of habitats is home to a wide variety of colourful birds, making Lake Manyara National Park a ‘must visit’ for keen ornithologists. Pelicans, storks and cranes feed on the lakeshore; ground hornbills, secretary birds and ostriches stalk the plains; Verreaux’s eagle and augur buzzards patrol the skies; gymnogenes (African harrier-hawks) root their prey out of tree stumps; and orioles, babblers and trogons sing in the woodlands.

A full-day game drive in Lake Manyara National Park usually starts early in the morning. However, the park can also be visited for a few hours en route between Arusha or Tarangire Park and the Ngorongoro Crater.

Please note: Expert Africa only books excursions as a part of a full, Expert Africa itinerary.