Lake Manyara National Park




Lake Manyara National Park, situated in northern Tanzania, is a captivating gem renowned for its diverse ecosystems and breathtaking scenery. The park, covering approximately 330 square kilometers, is nestled between the Great Rift Valley’s escarpment and the soda-rich waters of Lake Manyara. Characterized by a remarkable variety of habitats, including dense woodlands, open savannahs, and the alkaline lake itself, Lake Manyara National Park provides a microcosm of East African biodiversity. The park is especially celebrated for its prolific birdlife, hosting a vast array of species, from pink-hued flamingos along the lake’s shores to majestic raptors such as fish eagles and storks. Apart from its avian wonders, the park is home to a diverse mammalian population, including elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, and the iconic tree-climbing lions, a unique behavior observed in some prides within the park.

Visitors to Lake Manyara can embark on game drives, exploring the various landscapes and encountering the rich wildlife that inhabits the region. The dramatic contrast between the dense groundwater forest and the expansive lake shores adds to the park’s allure, creating a picturesque setting for wildlife observation. Additionally, the park’s proximity to the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park makes it a valuable component of Tanzania’s northern safari circuit, offering a compact yet rewarding safari experience with a unique blend of ecosystems and wildlife encounters.

How to get there?

By Car

To reach Lake Manyara National Park by car, start from the town of Arusha, a common base for safaris in northern Tanzania. Head west on the A104 road, the main highway connecting Arusha to the western regions. After approximately 2 to 3 hours of driving, you’ll reach the town of Mto wa Mbu, situated near the entrance to Lake Manyara National Park.

Alternatively, if you’re in Karatu, a town near the Ngorongoro Crater, head east on the B144 road. After about 1 to 1.5 hours of driving, you’ll also arrive at Mto wa Mbu. From there, follow the signs to the entrance of Lake Manyara National Park.

Always check current road conditions and use a reliable map or navigation system. The journey not only provides practical access to the park but also offers glimpses of the scenic beauty of Tanzania’s rural landscapes. Once inside the park, you can enjoy diverse ecosystems and abundant wildlife, including the famous tree-climbing lions and a variety of bird species along the shores of Lake Manyara.

By air

To reach Lake Manyara National Park by air, start by flying into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), the main international airport serving northern Tanzania. From Kilimanjaro, take a domestic flight to Lake Manyara Airstrip, the nearest airstrip to the park.

Alternatively, you can fly into Arusha Airport (ARK) and then connect to Lake Manyara Airstrip through a domestic flight.

Once you land at Lake Manyara Airstrip, which is the closest airstrip to the park, ground transportation can be arranged to take you to the entrance of Lake Manyara National Park. This can be organized through your safari operator or accommodations.

It’s essential to coordinate your flights, ground transportation, and safari plans with your chosen operator or accommodation in advance. Many safari packages include these logistical arrangements, providing a convenient and efficient way to access Lake Manyara National Park. Always check flight schedules, airstrip availability, and transportation options before planning your trip.

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Tree-Climbing lions







When to visit Lake Manyara National Park?

Dry Season

Embarking on a safari to Lake Manyara National Park during the dry season, from June to October, promises an optimal wildlife experience amidst favorable weather conditions. Characterized by minimal rainfall, this season unveils clearer landscapes, making it easier to spot the diverse array of wildlife that calls the park home. From the renowned tree-climbing lions to majestic elephants, giraffes, and vibrant birdlife, the dry season provides excellent visibility for wildlife enthusiasts.

The reduced vegetation during this time enhances the chances of wildlife sightings, creating an ideal setting for immersive game drives along the shores of the lake and through the park’s diverse ecosystems. The migration of large herbivores adds to the spectacle, making the dry season a prime opportunity to witness the dynamic and thriving biodiversity of Lake Manyara. With comfortable temperatures and clear skies, visitors can relish the beauty of this Tanzanian gem while enjoying an unforgettable safari experience.

Heavy Rain Season

Embarking on a visit to Lake Manyara National Park during the heavy rain season, typically from March to May, provides a unique and captivating experience amidst the lush and rejuvenated landscapes. While the rains bring occasional challenges, such as muddy trails, they also transform the park into a verdant paradise. The vegetation flourishes, and the surroundings burst with vibrant colors, creating a picturesque backdrop for wildlife enthusiasts.

During this season, the park is less crowded, allowing for a more intimate safari experience. The heavy rain season is characterized by refreshing showers and mist-shrouded forests, enhancing the overall ambiance of the park. While wildlife may be more dispersed, the verdant scenery and the opportunity to witness the natural beauty of Lake Manyara in its most lush state make this period a captivating choice for those seeking a more tranquil and serene safari adventure.

Short Rain Season

Embarking on a visit to Lake Manyara National Park during the short rain season, typically from November to December, offers a unique and enchanting safari experience. While the rainfall is lighter compared to the heavy rain season, the park becomes a vibrant tapestry of lush greenery and blooming vegetation. The shorter rain spells contribute to the park’s revitalized ecosystem, creating a picturesque setting for wildlife enthusiasts.

During this season, the landscapes are adorned with fresh foliage, and the air is filled with the scent of the rejuvenated flora. The shorter rain season provides a quieter and more serene ambiance, with fewer visitors on the trails, allowing for a more intimate connection with the natural surroundings. While occasional showers may occur, the opportunity to witness Lake Manyara National Park in a state of renewal, with its vibrant colors and refreshed landscapes, makes the short rain season a captivating choice for those seeking a unique and tranquil safari adventure.
















Places to stay

Tours & Safaris

Frequently Asked Questions

The best time is during the dry season, from June to October, for optimal wildlife viewing and pleasant weather.
The park is renowned for its diverse wildlife, including tree-climbing lions, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, and a variety of bird species.
Yes, Lake Manyara is home to thousands of flamingos, creating a striking spectacle along the lake’s shores.
Yes, Lake Manyara National Park is famous for its tree-climbing lions, a behavior not commonly observed in other lion populations.
Activities include game drives, birdwatching, boat safaris, cultural tours, hot air balloon safaris, and guided nature walks.
You can drive to the park from Arusha or Karatu, using the A104 or B144 roads, respectively.
Yes, Mto wa Mbu village near the park offers cultural tours, allowing visitors to experience local life and markets.
There are no accommodations within the park, but various lodges and camps are located in the surrounding areas.
Yes, the park is open throughout the year. However, wildlife viewing conditions and park landscapes vary with the seasons.
While self-drive is allowed, guided tours with experienced rangers or safari operators are recommended for a richer and safer safari experience.

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