Lake Manyara National park overview
Lake Manyara National Park is situated in Northern Tanzania, west of Arusha. The lake extends for 50km along the base of the 600 meters high Great Rift Valley slope. Lake Manyara National Park is 330 square kilometers and when the water is high the lake stretches to 200 square kilometers. The park is a scenic gem, with a setting lauded by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest I had seen in Africa”
The compact game-viewing circuit through Manyara National park offers a virtual microcosm of the Tanzanian safari experience. From the entrance gate, the road winds through an expanse of lush jungle-like groundwater forest where hundred-strong baboon troops lounge unemotionally along the roadside, blue monkeys scamper nimbly between the ancient mahogany trees, dainty bushbuck tread warily through the shadows, and outsized forest hornbills honk cacophonously in the high canopy.
Lake Manyara National Park offers a wilderness experience in diverse habitats, from its Rift Valley soda lake to dense woodlands and steep mountainsides. Apart from a spectacular setting, the park is famous for its unusual tree-climbing lions and the vast elephant herds it was established to protect. When you’re in Lake Manyara you can visit nearby destinations such as Serengeti, Tarangire, and Ngorongoro crater
Wildlife in Lake Manyara National park
The Lake Manyara National is dominated by open plains, near the lakeshore, and by an acacia forest in the part closest to the rocky slope of the Rift Valley; in the Northernmost part, near the main entrance, there is a dense equatorial forest fed by the groundwater and dominated by the fig plants and, in the most Southern part, there is the Marang Forest that extends for 250 sq km on the Rift Valley slope, this part was added in 2012 to the Lake Manyara National Park.
The diversity of Lake Manyara’s features make the lake a particularly memorable destination to visit. Animals found in the area include zebra, elephant, hippo, monkey, wildebeest, waterbuck, warthog, gazelle, impala, buffalo, wildebeest, waterbuck, warthog, hyena, baboon, and giraffe. Manyara is also known for its tree-climbing lions. These majestic animals find shelter from the heat and biting flies in the branches of trees, and these lions can easily kill buffalo – which are far greater in weight and size than themselves. There are also over 350 species of birds, with a variety of local species inhabiting the forest and bush, including pelicans that waddle around next to the short grass on the shore of the lake.
Whatever you are looking for – animal sightings, bird-life, or breath-taking scenery – Lake Manyara has it all. Explore Lake Manyara on a safari through Tanzania and discover the secrets, history, and beauty that Manyara is known for.
When to go to the Lake Manyara National park
The best time for viewing large mammals in Lake Manyara National Park is in the dry season from June to October and January to February, and then bird watching can best be done during the wet season from November to December and from March to May.
What to do in Lake Manyara
Activities in Lake Manyara National Park are the ventures that the travelers engage in when they visit the park in Tanzania on wildlife safaris. More than half of the park is the Lake where different social, economic, and cultural activities take place.
Day game driving: Visitors always get a chance to view the mysterious lion species characterized by the behavior of climbing trees. Tree climbing lions are found in Lake Manyara National park and other few places in Tanzania that have been attracting more people. In the day game drive, Lake Manyara does not let down visitors because there are many other animal species ranging from smaller mammals like dik-dik, rabbits, and many others. Also larger mammals like elephants, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, warthogs and so far
Night game driving: Sometimes it is not possible to see all species during day time because some species are nocturnal. So the best time to see them is night, and even some bird species like nightjar are mostly flying from one place to another during night hours. There special safari jeep only for night game driving these cars are characterized by being open beside and on the top of it to ensure comfortable night game driving and viewing, because using normal safari jeep window glasses inhibit viewing activities because of reflex action of dim lights
Bird watching: In Lake Manyara national park there are more than 500 species of birds that flying here and there. The most attractive are pink flamingo that several times migrate from Lake Natron to Lake Manyara and vice versa. Not only at forests found in the park but also visitors enjoy bird watching at the lake where more species feed insects and get water. Some other species include the yellow-billed storks, marabou storks, goose, turkey, weavers, pelicans, and other hundreds of species
Camping: The park has many campsites where visitors will get accommodated and doing camping activities at the same time. Some camps are luxury and others are ordinary. Some areas are plain areas where visitors have to come with their camping facilities to experience how camping activities
Walking safaris: Walking safaris in the park are organized where visitors walk in the forest but his tour is conducted under the care and perfect security from park rangers so that when dangerous and aggressive animals invade the visitors they will be assured of safety. Walking tours in the park encompasses visiting some oldest trees that have more than 200 years which is a baobab tree near rift valley escarpment or sometimes it is called Mto wa mbu viewpoint where there is a beautiful view of the village.
Hiking: Inside the park visitors hike to the rift valley escarpment which looks like hills surrounding Lake Manyara national park. It is always a big chance for tourists to go to physical exercise for their body fitness and health. This is also one of the activities of Lake Manyara National Park.
Canoeing: This activity is conducted on Lake Manyara whereby visitors will interact with fishermen who most of the day spend in the Lake. Local canoes that are made up of fig trees and mahogany tree species are used during the tour. During the tour visitors enjoy the natural beautifulness of this alkaline soda lake that is found down the rift valley escarpment
Visiting natural hot spring: This activity involves visit the natural phenomena of molten materials eruption. The temperature of the hot spring is about 60 Celsius that is enough to boil an egg within 15 minutes.
Climate in Lake manyara
The climate of Lake Manyara National Park is moderate and temperate. Its height above sea level ranges from 953 meters to 1445 meters (or 312 feet to 4741 feet) and it becomes cooler as the altitude rises. For each 100 meters you climb, the temps drop by approximately 6.5°C 3.5°F or each 1000 feet by 1000ft). On Average, the overall temperatures are consistent all year round. It is really uncommon for it to be uncomfortably hot here, however, the early morning and evening are mostly very cold. We recommend that you carry along with warm clothes, particularly for the early morning game drives.
The dry season in Lake Manyara National Park begins in June and ends in the month of September. The wet season is characterized by long rains that are experienced from the start of March to the end of May, as well as short rains which are experienced from the month of October to November. In the wet season expect Thunder and frequent showers although it is not common for it to rain for the entire day
By Air; The best way to get to Lake Manyara np is by flying into the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA). From Arusha, this airport is located about 46 km. Using a domestic flight, it is also possible to fly to Arusha Airport (ARK) while flying from the Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam.
Alternatively, you can take an international flight to the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam and then catch a connecting flight from either JRO or Arusha Airport (ARK). There are there are charter flights to the Lake Manyara Airport (LKY) that connect from the Serengeti or Arusha. From there you can connect by road to the park gate which is about 16.km away (approximately 30 minutes drive)
Road; Located southwest of Arusha town, the distance from Arusha to Lake Manyara National Park is 126 km (78 miles) and can easily be reached by car. You can also flexibly get there from Bahati, the capital of Manyara region. This is the most popular transport means among holidaymakers visiting the park along the northern safari circuit.