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Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara is a small park containing a large diversity of habitats...

...and especially birds.

Staying inside the park is probably the best wildlife experience.

You may spot some tree climbing lions while on safari.

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park: in detail

Lake Manyara safari holidays: the full story

Lake Manyara National Park is very easy to access: it's about 90 minutes' drive from Arusha and barely an hour from the Ngorongoro Crater. Because of this, some of the northern side of the park can get very busy, especially in the afternoons. To see the park at its best, we recommend that you either stay within the park or spend two nights somewhere close, entering the park early for a full-day safari.

Safaris to Lake Manyara National Park

Many people will often visit Lake Manyara National Park enroute to or from the Crater, as part of a short half day safari. Often they won't even spend the night in the area, but will rush on, so as to include as many areas, in as short a space of time as possible.

Though this can save on money, we feel that it restricts time and therefore only allows for visits to the busy northern quarter of the park. This can result in a rushed experience of Lake Manyara that can sometimes result in disappointment.

Instead we would recommend the following two options for visiting Lake Manyara National Park. The first is to stay within the park itself, either in a permanent camp or a more mobile one. This tends to be the more expensive choice, but it is certainly the best way to explore the park. It enables you to be on safari before most others, and explore deeper into the park which day visitors won't have the time to do. Without any doubt, staying inside the park is the best wildlife experience.

Secondly you can opt to stay somewhere outside, but near to the park gate. From here you can enter the park early and enjoy the whole day exploring. There are some economical accommodation options outside the park, some of which are dotted along the top of the Rift Valley Escarpment with great views down across the park

Entrances to the National Park

There are two main entrances to Lake Manyara National Park, a gate in the north and in the south. Almost everybody uses the northern gate, since the majority of accommodation options are situated here and as a result the northern part of the park is by far the busier one. The gate in the far south is not commonly used and also has restricted access. Only few camps and lodges can use this entrance. Please contact us for more information on camps that can enter via this quiet gate.

Flora & Fauna of Lake Manyara

Covering about 330km², of which typically two-thirds is underwater, Lake Manyara National Park is a small park by African standards. However, it's also very beautiful and contains tremendous diversity of habitats, animals and especially birds.

Animals

Lake Manyara's game includes good numbers of elephant, buffalo and wildebeest along with plenty of giraffe. Also prolific in number are zebra, waterbuck, warthog and impala. You may need to search a little harder for the small and relatively shy Kirk's dik-dik, and klipspringer on the slopes of the escarpment. The broken forests and escarpment make it good country for leopard, whilst Manyara's healthy lion population are famous for their tree-climbing antics. (Whilst unusual, this isn't as unique to the park as is often claimed.) Immediately obvious to most visitors are the huge troops of baboons – which often number several hundred and are widely regarded as Africa's largest.

Birds

As with the habitats, the birdlife here is exceptionally varied. In the middle of the lake you'll often see flocks of pelicans and the pink-shading of distant flamingos, whilst the margins and floodplains feed innumerable herons, egrets, stilts, stalks, spoonbills and other waders. With so much water around, the woodlands are equally productive, but it's the evergreen forests where you'll spot some more entertaining species such as the noisy silvery-cheeked hornbills, crowned eagles and crested guinea fowl.

Vegetation

Set beneath the spectacular backdrop of the Great Rift Valley's steep western escarpment, this long, narrow park protects an area between the escarpment and Lake Manyara. The parks namesake is a shallow, alkaline lake which expands and contracts with the seasons within a long, silvery bowl of salt deposits. Adjacent to it are wide, grassy floodplains and, further away, bands of mixed acacia woodlands. Further still, next to the escarpment, are patches of enchanting evergreen forests, which are sustained by perennial groundwater springs issuing from the base of the escarpment.

Where to stay in Lake Manyara

Our suggestions for safari camps in Lake Manyara National Park


Kirurumu Manyara Lodge

Kirurumu Manyara

With spectacular views over Lake Manyara, Kirurumu is one of the simplest camps we offer in northern Tanzania.


87% (18 reviews)
Lake Manyara Tree Lodge

Lake Manyara Tree Lodge

Comfortable, stylish and remote, Lake Manyara Tree Lodge is one of only two places to stay inside the park, and offers excellent guiding and service.


99% (16 reviews)
Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge

Lake Manyara Serena

Lake Manyara Serena is a large, reasonably priced hotel perched on the lip of the Great Rift Valley with spectacular views of Lake Manyara.


90% (10 reviews)
Escarpment Luxury Lodge

Escarpment Lux Lodge

Escarpment Luxury Lodge offers stylish, modern accommodation and stunning views of Lake Manyara National Park.


80% (1 review)
Lake Manyara Green Camp

Manyara Green Camp

With comfortable tents and an adventurous atmosphere, Lake Manyara Green Camp is one of two camps located inside the park.


No reviews yet

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings in Lake Manyara

This is their success for sightings in Lake Manyara National Park.
Click on a species for more detail. How we work this out.


Lion

86% success

Elephant

86% success

Hippo

86% success

Buffalo

71% success

Giraffe

71% success

Zebra

71% success

Wildebeest

50% success

Spotted Hyena

29% success

Leopard

17% success

Eland

17% success

Striped Hyena

14% success

Cheetah

0% success

Wild dog

0% success

Aardvark

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

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