Lake Manyara

National Park

Lake Manyara national park is one of the tourism jewels in Tanzania situated at the base of the Great Rift Valley and is found in both Arusha and Manyara regions about 126 kilometers Southwest of Arusha, the park lies between Lake Manyara and the Great Rift Valley.

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Located in northern Tanzania, Lake Manyara National Park is a stunning park that boasts breathtaking landscapes and is home to a diverse range of African wildlife. The park features a shallow soda and alkaline lake with a maximum depth of 3.7 m and a varied vegetation cover that ranges from groundwater forests to flood plains and woodlands.


Covering an area of 325 km2, with approximately 230 km2 of the lake surface, Lake Manyara is situated 124 km away from Arusha town, nestled between the Ngorongoro conservation area and Tarangire National Park. It takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes to drive from Arusha city, which is Tanzania’s main tourist hub.


The park is renowned for its tree-climbing lions, large concentration of elephants, and vast flocks of migratory birds, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.


Lake Manyara National Park, located in northern Tanzania, has a rich history. The area was originally a hunting ground, but in 1957, it was upgraded to a game reserve status and declared a national park in 1960. It is the second protected area in Tanzania to be designated as a national park, after Serengeti.


Lake Manyara National Park is a popular tourist destination, offering an abundance of wildlife resources for an African wildlife safari. Visitors can experience the park’s attractions and activities, such as spotting the famous tree-climbing lions, observing a variety of flora and fauna, and taking in the stunning view of the Rift Valley escarpment.


The park is also home to Lake Manyara, which houses thousands of aquatic bird species, and the largest concentration of baboons in the world. Visitors can explore the park through day game drives, during which they can witness animals in their natural habitats, or night game drives, which offer a chance to experience the African wilderness by night.


Canoeing at Lake Manyara National Park provides visitors with an extraordinary experience of game viewing from the water’s edge. Guests paddle silently along the shoreline in two-man canoes, observing different wild animals such as buffalo, giraffe, and elephants on the banks, and wallopings of hippo and fabulous aquatic birdlife in the water. This rare and unforgettable safari offers a unique perspective on wildlife – “wildlife from the waterside.”


Lake Manyara is an ideal habitat for birdlife, making it a perfect destination for birdwatchers. With over 400 species of birds, including African spoonbills, flamingos, storks, pelicans, and most aquatic birds, there is plenty to see and explore.


The Lake Manyara Treetop Walkway offers visitors an exciting sky-high adventure through the forest. The 370m airwalk takes visitors right among the treetops, giving them a bird’s eye view of the forest. The treetop walkway starts from the short boardwalk and rises in altitude, leading to a series of hold-up bridges with protective nets on either side.


Walking safaris provide visitors with a unique opportunity to experience the African bush up close while seeing the unseen. This type of safari lets visitors encounter things they may have never seen before while on a normal game drive.


The best time to visit Lake Manyara National Park is from late June to October during the dry season. However, trips can be customized based on visitors’ interests. For example, June to October is ideal for big game viewing, while November to April is perfect for bird lovers, especially flamingos. During this time, thousands of flamingos arrive from their breeding site at Lake Natron and gather at Lake Manyara before migrating elsewhere.


Lake Manyara National Park is a popular destination in Tanzania’s northern circuit safari, located 124 km (2 hours 30 minutes) from the main tourist hub of Arusha. You can reach the park either by land or air, with a tarmac road leading to the park’s entrance gate and several airstrips within the park.


Accommodation options in Lake Manyara range from budget to luxury, with camping and lodge options available both inside and outside the park. For budget travelers, the Twiga Camp located a few kilometers from the Hippo Pool is a recommended option with an outdoor swimming pool, barbecue facilities, and free WiFi.


For medium lodges, the Escarpment Lodge, situated on the Great Rift Valley escarpment, offers stunning views of the African bush from the comfort of its superbly appointed bar lounge. Lake Manyara Hotel, located on the edge of the western escarpment, and Kirurumu Tented Lodge, known for its excellent views and slightly larger lodge style, are also good options.


For those seeking luxury, Lake Manyara Serena and Lake Manyara Tree Lodge (owned by &Beyond) are excellent choices. The former offers large dining facilities, a pool, and comfortable lodge accommodation, while the latter is one of the most expensive lodges on the northern circuit and located in a quiet area of Lake Manyara. However, the drive to this lodge is quite long, so it is recommended to stay for at least two nights to make it worthwhile.


Overall, Lake Manyara offers a range of accommodation options inside and outside the park, making it a great destination for any traveler.



Hippopotamus: With an estimated 30,000 hippos in Tanzania, these huge water animals spend most of their time in water bodies to keep their enormous bodies cool. The numerous waterholes in Lake Manyara National Park can guarantee you to spot these large creatures!

Elephants: The elephant is the world’s largest animal. Elephants are peaceful when left alone and did you know that to smell and place food in their mouths, they use their trunks!

Zebra: Since the 1960s, Tanzania has been blessed with the presence of zebras. Every year, loads of zebras commence their journey from Tanzania to Kenya and that is the Great Migration.

Giraffe:  In Tanzania, The Maasai Giraffe is the popular and native one. You can spot these 17 feet tall creatures in most of Tanzania’s National Parks. It is also called The Kilimanjaro Giraffe and it is spotted by the irregular spots around it’s body. 





Flamingos: With an estimated 1.9 million of these pink beauties, Lake Manyara’s soda lake always looks blissful. The wet (green) season is the best time to spot these water birds as the water levels are high during those times.

Grey Crowned Crane: This aggressive bird is The National Bird of Uganda but can be seen around Africa. Being around 1 m tall, the Grey Crowned-Crane has a wingspan of 2 m. You can spot these in grasslands, rivers and also near lakes.

The tawny Eagle:  Like all eagles, The Tawny Eagles also has legs that are heavily feathered and can weigh up to 3 kilograms. The Tawny Eagle can be found near drier areas when not breeding.

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