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Lake Manyara National Park

Incomparable Luxurious Safaris to Africa's Top Wildlife Viewing Parks

Ernest Hemmingway called Manyara the loveliest lake he had seen in Africa. And he might have been right. Stretched out at the base of the mighty Rift Valley escarpment, with shorelines coloured pink by thousands of flamingos and great game viewing in a small area, it is a true African gem indeed.

Locked in between the Rift Valley Escarpment, Lake Manyara, the village of Mto wa Mbu and several farms, the 30% land area of Lake Manyara National Park is an exceptional jewel. It is part of the expansive Maasai ecosystem and a corridor for the great migration of huge herds of mammals towards the north and the south. Lake Manyara is highly alkaline and shallow, without any outgoing rivers. Even in the rainiest month, April, depth doesn’t reach more than 2, 5 metres, almost dropping to zero in the dry season. From the top of the Rift Wall the natural Marang forest towers above you. Here you might encounter big—tusked elephants on their quest for food and water.

The park is a corridor for the great migration of huge herds of mammals towards the north and the south.

Manyara is also home to another forest: an evergreen, jungle—like area full of monkeys enjoying the many, remarkably high trees. The most dominant of them all is the spectacular sycamore fig, hardly to be missed thanks to its creamy yellow and brown bark. Other stunning specimens typical for Lake Manyara National Park are the huge baobabs that you will find all over the Rift Wall. The lushness of the forest derives from groundwater seeping down from the extinct Ngorongoro volcano. This underground life artery can be experienced directly in the hot springs in the south of the park where sulphurous water bubbles out, steaming hot to the touch.

Despite the rather small strip of land, Lake Manyara National Park won’t let you down when it comes to wildlife spotting

Despite the rather small strip of land, Lake Manyara National Park won’t let you down when it comes to wildlife spotting. There are over 500 bird species; even an amateur will be able to detect an impressive hundred a day. Flamingos dot the lake surface, joined by myriad other water birds that are best spotted at the end of the dry season. The most astonishing encounter in the forest is the silvery—cheeked hornbill and there’s no better place than Lake Manyara to encounter a palm—nut vulture. And that’s just the start. Practically all large mammals roam the grassy floodplains, as residents or migratory visitors. Although lion, spotted hyena, serval, caracal, leopard and cheetah are more prolific in other parks, keeping an eye out will reap high rewards here. Don’t forget to look up; the narrow belt of acacia woodland is the favourite playground of Manyara’s fabulous tree-resting lions the reasons behind this peculiar behaviour remains a mystery even today. You will tick the boxes for buffalo, elephant, zebra, wildebeest, warthog, baboon, many kinds of antelope and Maasai giraffe.  An interesting  fact about the latter is that the older the male, the darker the skin. Manyara happens to showcase some unusually dark males. If you’re keen on an encounter with a pair of hard-to spot Klipspringers, try your luck on the edge of the groundwater forest, where their silhouette is often visible above steamy hot springs.

  • Lake Manyara National Park is Tanzania’s second oldest National Park, together with Arusha National Park, and was established in 1960.
  • With its 648 km2 (only 30% is land) it is Tanzania’s third smallest national park; it stretches 32 km from south to north at its broadest point.
  •  Height: from 960 m (Lake Manyara) to 1,600 m (highest point of the Rift Wall in the south).
  •  The park is easily accessible, both by air and good tarmac road.
  • Best time to visit - all year round.

What to do

Canoeing when the water level is sufficient, game drives (day and night), walking safaris, bird watching, bush dining experience and several cultural programs at Mto wa Mbu.

Accommodations  nearby Lake Manyara National Park

Check out our handpicked collection of Safari accommodations that offer easy access to Lake Manyara National Park; Lake Manyara Tree Lodge | Gibb’s Farm Lodge | The Manor Ngorongoro

Contact us to personalize your next lake Manyara luxury safari in the exemplary heart of Tanzania today, and browse our vacation packages featuring Lake Manyara National Park below.

Lake Manyara National Park