Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is one of the smallest parks in Tanzania and one of the most scenic, it really is a photographer’s dream. Two thirds of the park is taken up by the alkaline lake that dominates the landscape and gives the park its name.

Lake Manyara is easily visited, its located at the base of the Rift Valley western escarpment, just 90 minutes from Arusha. The landscape is diverse, ranging from evergreen forests sustained by groundwater springs to savannah and marshland. This biodiversity sustains a variety of wildlife and birdlife. It is here you will find the tree-climbing lions, not normal lion behaviour, and the forests have a healthy leopard population too. The savannah supports plenty of plains game including zebra, wildebeest, buffalo and impala and you will also come across elephant and giraffe. The lake sustains a myriad of birds with pelicans and flamingos amongst them. By the edges of the lake you will get many waders such as herons, egrets and spoonbills – over 400 species of bird have been recorded here.

Things to do in Lake Manyara National Park

  • Night Drives – this is the only park in northern Tanzania where you can take part in a night drive so it’s well worth staying overnight in the park.
  • Game Drives – as with any safari, a game drive is an essential experience and part of what being on safari is all about. There are plenty of different areas to explore even though this might be one of Tanzania’s smallest parks.
  • Tree Climbing Lions – Lake Manyara is well known for its lions who ‘hang about’ in trees, not your usual lion sighting, it makes for great photographs too.
  • Visit Mto Wa Mbu – enjoy a village walk and traditional lunch at this village beside the park
  • Picnic lunch – spend the full day in the park and explore more of this beautiful terrain, picnic lunches enjoyed al-fresco are the way to go.
  • Nature walks – these aren’t usually offered in national parks, but certain properties such as Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge do have permission to show guests the beauty of the area on foot.
  • Bike rides – perhaps not something you would associate with a safari but bike rides to a local village are a different way to explore the park and meet the villagers. It’s worthwhile to spend a morning or afternoon in the saddle.


When to visit Lake Manyara National Park

Wildlife viewing is good all year round but if you are looking for the absolute best game viewing then you should go from late June to October, which is the dry season. The wildlife will congregate around the water sources and the grass will be shorter and wildlife easier to spot. Make sure you bring some warm clothes though as mornings in June, July and August can be rather chilly. March and April are the peak of the rainy season, however, the wildlife viewing in Lake Manyara NP will still be good. This is a good time for birders too with the migratory species found here at this time. Add to that lower prices and fewer visitors, it’s still a good time to visit.

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Lake Manyara safari Holidays

Below you will find some Lake Manyara itineraries that we’ve put together as recommended suggestions. You might find one of these is perfect for your needs as we’ve put a lot of thought into including some wonderful experiences in each of these safaris, and we really love what they offer. However, if none of these quite fit the bill for you, do call us and let us know what you’d like. We ready to help you plan your perfect Tanzania safari holiday..

Luxury Serengeti & Crater Safari

Prices from £5,320 pp for 9 days
(exc. intl flights)

This safari is not about watching the pennies, it’s about some of the best quality game-viewing and a few of our absolute favourite places to stay…

A Tanzanian Family Adventure

Prices from £1,385 pp for 7 days
(exc. intl flights)

This classic safari is ideal for families, as there are no long road transfers but you still get excellent game viewing. It’s also great value for money…

Maasai Culture & Wilderness

Prices from £3,330 pp for 8 days
(exc. intl flights)

Not the faint-hearted or safari first-timers, this serious wilderness adventure travels far off the beaten track to remote Lake Natron…

Elephants, Birds & Big Cats

Prices from £3,035 pp for 8 days
(exc. intl flights)

From Arusha to the Serengeti, via Tarangire, Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater, this is an unforgettable Tanzanian safari…

A luxury short break in the Maasai Highlands

Prices from £3,075 pp for 5 days
(exc. intl flights)

Instead of the Scottish Highlands, try the Maasai Highlands .. staying in a luxury domed pod.

Mount Meru Climb

Prices from £2,060 pp for 5 days
(exc. intl flights)

Climb Tanzania’s 2nd highest mountain. An exhilarating climb to the summit of Mount Meru, rewarded by superb views and a great sense of achievement.

Wildebeest & Waterfalls

Prices from £4,390 for 11 days
(exc. intl flights)

Three of the most spectacular natural phenomena on earth: the Great Migration in the Serengeti, the vast Ngorongoro Crater and the colossal Victoria Falls.

Simba Safari

Prices from £2,495 pp for 8 days
(exc. intl flights)

An exciting safari in the famous northern circuit offering excellent value money and thrills a-plenty.

Where to stay around Lake Manyara National Park

There are camps both in the national park and just outside. The advantage of staying in the park is that you are there before others arrive, including day visitors, so you can get to less crowded areas. It also means you can discover more of what this beautiful park has to offer and partake in night drives and guided walks or cycle trails. In short, staying in the park means you get to experience more of Lake Manyara.