Lake Manyara National Park is a small park at the base of the Rift Valley escarpment. Its groundwater forest offers a nice change of scenery from the more savannah dominated parks. Although the park is known for tree-climbing lions, big cats aren’t that easily seen. Elephants are prolific and are the main attraction.
This park is known for its large elephant population. The big cats are present but not seen that easily. The forest patch is home to habituated troops of olive baboon and blue monkey. Buffalo, giraffe, and several antelope species are easily encountered on a drive.
Lake Manyara is a shallow, alkaline lake at the base of the Western Rift Valley escarpment. The park has a remarkable variety of habitats in a small area. The park entrance leads to a beautiful groundwater forest.
Other habitats include the grassy floodplain, rocky escarpment, and acacia woodland, all of which can be covered in a half-day visit. Deeper into the park, a visit to the hot springs (Maji Moto) is recommended.
1. Lake Manyara National Park location
Located in the northern part of Tanzania, Lake Manyara National Park is 126 kilometers west of Arusha Town. The park covers 330 sq km / 125 sq miles, including a lake surface of 230 sq km/89 sq miles.
2. How to Get to Lake Manyara National Park
The park is part of the popular northern safari circuit. Arusha is the gateway town, and the best way to get there is to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), situated about 46km/29mi from Arusha.
It is also possible to fly into Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam and fly on to Arusha Airport (ARK) or Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).
There are flights from Arusha and the Serengeti to Manyara’s airstrip, but the trip from Arusha on the tarred road only takes 1½ hours by car.
Coming from the Ngorongoro Crater, the driving time is about two hours to cover the 80km/50mi.
Airlines & Ticket Prices
Please check Skyscanner, or for multiple-destination flights check Expedia, to see which airlines can take you to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) or Arusha Airport (ARK) tickets would cost.
In most cases, flights between parks are booked by your tour operator as part of your safari package. Domestic flights can be booked with a local carrier:
- Coastal Aviation flies to Manyara.
- Air Excel flies to Manyara.
- Regional Air flies to Manyara, Arusha and Kilimanjaro Airport
- Safari Air Link flies to Arusha.
- Auric Air flies to Manyara.
- Air Tanzania flies to Kilimanjaro Airport.
- Precision Air flies to Arusha and Kilimanjaro Airport.
- ZanAir flies to Arusha.
3. Wildlife in Lake Manyara National Park
The Tree Climbing Lions of Lake Manyara National Park
One would wonder, are there tree climbing lions in Lake Manyara National Park? There is a thriving population of unique lions in the park, which can climb trees; being nocturnal animals, the animals spend most of their day resting up in the big fig trees. At sunset, they descend when the temperatures are cooler. This is one of the only two populations of these unique lions, the other being in the Ishasha area in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Bird watching in Manyara National Park
With a Bird list of more than 350 species and an alkaline within the park’s boundaries, Lake Manyara National Park is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit on a Tanzania Birding Safari.
Large flocks of pelicans and pink flamingos are usually spotted in the middle of the lake. While the spoonbills, egrets, herons, stalks, and other waders converge around the edges and water meadows.
Other habitats such as the evergreen forests and other woodlands serve as a haven to many other species like the crowned eagles, created guinea fowl, and the noisy silvery cheeked hornbills.
You’ll surely spot plenty of pink flamingos, grey-headed kingfisher, white-faced duck, cormorants, long-crested eagle, hornbill, pelicans, Egyptian goose, spoonbill, storks, and sacred ibis, among many others water and migratory birds. No wonder the Park is so popular with birdwatchers.
Other Wildlife in Manyara National Park
The park is also home to the majestic giraffe, hippos, baboons, and impalas. Like the elephants, the baboon troops are huge- the biggest in the continent. Waterbuck, warthog, and zebras can also be spotted along with the very African Kirk’s dik-dik and klipspringer- both are types of antelopes.
4. Climate at Lake Manyara National Park
Weather in January
January is a tropical summer month in Lake Manyara, Tanzania, with an average temperature ranging between min 16°C (60.8°F) and max 30°C (86°F). With an average high-temperature of 30°C (86°F), January through March are the warmest months.
Weather in February
February, the last month of the summer, in Lake Manyara, is another hot month, with temperature in the range of an average low of 17°C (62.6°F) and an average high of 30°C (86°F). The warmest months are January through March, with an average high-temperature of 30°C (86°F).
Weather in March
The first month of the autumn, March, is still hot in Lake Manyara, Tanzania, with temperature in the range of an average high of 30°C (86°F) and an average low of 17°C (62.6°F). The warmest months are January through March, with an average high-temperature of 30°C (86°F).
Weather in April
April, like March, in Lake Manyara, Tanzania, is another warm autumn month, with an average temperature ranging between min 18°C (64.4°F) and max 27°C (80.6°F). In Lake Manyara, the average high-temperature marginally drops, from a hot 30°C (86°F) in March to a moderately hot 27°C (80.6°F).
Weather in May
May, the last month of the autumn, in Lake Manyara, is also a moderately hot month, with average temperature varying between 17°C (62.6°F) and 26°C (78.8°F). In Lake Manyara, Tanzania, May’s average high temperature is relatively the same as in April – a still warm 26°C (78.8°F).
Weather in June
The first month of the winter, June is also moderately hot in Lake Manyara, Tanzania, with an average temperature ranging between min 15°C (59°F) and max 25°C (77°F). The coldest months are June and July, with an average high-temperature of 25°C (77°F).
Weather in July
July, like June, in Lake Manyara, Tanzania, is another warm winter month, with temperature in the range of an average high of 25°C (77°F) and an average low of 14°C (57.2°F). With an average high-temperature of 25°C (77°F), June and July are the coldest months.
Weather in August
August, the last month of the winter, in Lake Manyara, is also a moderately hot month, with average temperature varying between 26°C (78.8°F) and 15°C (59°F). In Lake Manyara, the average high-temperature is practically the same as in July – a still moderately hot 26°C (78.8°F).
Weather in September
September, the first month of the spring, in Lake Manyara, is still a warm month, with an average temperature ranging between min 15°C (59°F) and max 28°C (82.4°F). In September, the average high-temperature is essentially the same as in August – a still moderately hot 28°C (82.4°F).
Weather in October
October, like September, in Lake Manyara, Tanzania, is a moderately hot spring month, with average temperature fluctuating between 16°C (60.8°F) and 29°C (84.2°F). In Lake Manyara, the average high-temperature is almost the same as in September – a still warm 29°C (84.2°F).
Weather in November
November, the last month of the spring, in Lake Manyara, is also a moderately hot month, with temperature in the range of an average high of 29°C (84.2°F) and an average low of 17°C (62.6°F). In Lake Manyara, Tanzania, the average high-temperature remains the same as in October – a still warm 29°C (84.2°F).
Weather in December
December, the first month of the summer, in Lake Manyara, is also a moderately hot month, with average temperature fluctuating between 29°C (84.2°F) and 16°C (60.8°F). In Lake Manyara, the average high-temperature remains the same as in November – a still warm 29°C (84.2°F).
5. Lake Manyara National Park Entrance Fee
When you plan a safari to Tanzania, it is important to know the Government Park entrance fees you need to pay before entering each Tanzania National Parks. These costs are essential to know as the Tanzania National park fees are high in cost.
It is also important to know that if you plan to pay the Tanzania National park fees yourself, then you need to pay the Tanzania National park fees with a Visa or Master Card Only as no cash is accepted.
Conservation fee for Lake Manyara National Park is:
- Of or above the age of 16 years $45
- Between the age of 5 and 15 years, $15
- Children below the age of 5 years free
6. Lake Manyara National Park Activities
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 a few other Tanzania places, attracting more people.
In the day game drive, Lake Manyara does not let down visitors because many other animal species range from smaller mammals like dik-dik, rabbits, and many others. Also larger mammals like elephants, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, warthogs and so far.
Walking safaris in the park are organized where visitors walk in the forest. Still, his tour is conducted under the care and perfect security of 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 with more than 200 years, a baobab tree near the rift valley escarpment, or sometimes called Mto wa mbu viewpoint, where there is a beautiful view of the village.
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 is a 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. Using normal safari jeep window glasses inhibits viewing activities because of the reflex action of dim lights.
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 exercise physical exercise for their body fitness and health. This is also one of the activities of Lake Manyara National Park.
This activity is conducted on Lake Manyara, where visitors will interact with fishers who spend most of the day 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 this alkaline soda lake’s natural beauty that is found down the rift valley escarpment. Visiting natural hot springs: This activity involves visit the natural phenomena of molten materials eruption. The hot spring temperature is about 60 Celsius that is enough to boil an egg within 15 minutes.
Numbers of campsites are found outside than inside, so these campsites are either luxury or ordinary and depend on a guest’s preference. Some of the campsites are Twiga, holiday camps, & beyond tented camps, and many others found in Mto wa mbu village.
Being a home of more than 120 ethnic groups, Mto wa mbu finds itself the best place for organizing cultural tourism activities. Visitors enjoy the authentic flavor of locally prepared African cuisines using local knowledge of fueling.
Agro-tourism activities are organized at Mto wa mbu village of Rhotia. In Mto wa mbu, about 1800 square kilometers of agricultural people’s activities were to cultivate rice, maize, and a high percent cultivate banana. Also, in Karatu (Rhotia), there is wheat cultivation and coffee cultivation; all these ensures the perfect agro-tour.
7. Best time to visit Lake Manyara National Park
Watching wildlife in Lake Manyara National Park is good all year, but at its best from late June to October, during the Dry season. However, this very scenic park is most beautiful during the Wet season, from November to May, when the vegetation is lush and waterfalls cascade down the escarpment.
Best Time of the Year
June to September (easier to spot animals)
High Season in Lake Manyara National Parks
Most of the year – July to March (northern section of the park gets crowded by visitors in the afternoon)
April and May is the slowest season of the year with a low number of visitors.
June to October (a few showers of rain)
March and April (Peak of Wet season)
June to October – Dry Season
- Animals are more easily found in the thinner vegetation.
- Lots of suns and very little rain
- Less chance of catching malaria, as the mosquitoes are fewer
- Bring warm clothes in June and August as it tends to be cold in the early mornings.
November to May – Wet Season
- The scenery is green and lush.
- April and May are low seasons, so it’s usually less crowded with generally lower rates.
- Although wildlife is easier to spot in the Dry season, Lake Manyara National Park offers good wildlife viewing throughout the year.
- Bird watching is best at this time since migratory birds can be found.
- Roads may become hard to travel due to the rains.
- March to May is the peak of the Wet season.
8. Accommodations in Lake Manyara National Park
Here’s where to stay on your safari trip! All the best hotels and lodges in Laka Manyara Tanzania for your African safari adventure
While Lake Manyara National Park may not boast the same variety of accommodation as Ngorongoro or the Serengeti, there is nonetheless something for all tastes and budgets.
Budget Accommodation in Lake Manyara National Park
Most budget travelers will find better options in nearby Karatu, but Lake Manyara National Park is also home to both a campsite and a budget lodge that caters to those on a tight budget.
If you’re not looking for all of the bells and whistles, Twiga Camp is the best value for money you can find in the area.
With both regular rooms and campsites, there are a variety of options to suit all budgets. The presence of a swimming pool and on-site restaurant make it a cut above other campsites in Tanzania’s National Parks too!
Recommended For: Budget travelers and adventurous travelers.
Medium Budget Accommodation
There are several Lake Manyara lodges for those on a conservative budget, with both tented camps and brick and mortar options.
Lake Manyara Wildlife Lodge
Boasting one of the most breathtaking views of Lake Manyara you’re likely to find, Lake Manyara Wildlife Lodge is a brick and mortar lodge catering to families, large groups, and those who want affordable accommodation close to the park.
While the rooms are a little small and lack some amenities, you can’t beat the stunning view.
Recommended For: Families.
Perched on the Great Rift Valley escarpment, the aptly named Escarpment Lodge is another property that can boast a gorgeous view of the park.
Its infinity pool, huge viewing deck, and gorgeous decoration make it a better option than Lake Manyara Wildlife Lodge for those who want a little something special.
Recommended For: Those with a little extra money.
Kirurumu Under Canvas offers stunning views of the Great Rift Valley and the thrill of camping in the wilderness for those wanting the tented camp experience.
You’re not roughing it in your tented accommodation, either! There’s hot and cold water, 24-hour electricity, and all of the comforts you’d expect to find in a hotel room.
Ideally located between Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara, and Tarangire – Kirurumu Manyara is a great place to base yourself for a few days.
Recommended For: Adventurous travelers.
Lake Manyara’s immense natural beauty and its position on the Great Rift Valley escarpment lend it to some truly spectacular luxury lodges.
Lake Manyara Kilimamoja
When it comes to luxury properties in Lake Manyara, Kilimamoja, the best value offers luxury services at a price that even medium travelers can afford.
From the same family behind the popular Ole Serai and Oldeani properties, Kilimamoja is one of our favorite lodges.
Recommended For: Luxury on a budget.
Serena Lake Manyara
The popular Serena chain of hotels has a strong presence in Lake Manyara. For those traveling with their family or a large group, the trusted Serena brand is always a good option.
Like other Serena properties, Lake Manyara Serena can boast a large pool, spacious dining facilities, and comfortable lodge accommodation.
Recommended For: Families.
Manyara Wildlife Safari Camp
For a luxury tented camp experience, Manyara Wildlife Safari Camp is the place to be.
Combining world-class luxury with a closeness to nature you won’t find at other Lake Manyara lodges; Wildlife Safari Camp is perfect for those wanting the comforts from home while also enjoying an authentic African bush experience.
Recommended For: Barefoot luxury and adventurous luxury.
Ultra Luxury Accommodation
There may not be many top luxury options in Lake Manyara, but the one the park can boast of is one of the best.
AndBeyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge
From the first name in African luxury experiences comes Lake Manyara Tree Lodge. Not only is this one of Tanzania’s most photogenic properties, but it’s also one of its most decadent.
Each of the property’s nine treehouse suites can boast 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape. Designed to leave a minimal footprint on the surrounding ecosystem, Tree Lodge combines &Beyond’s signature flair for luxury with an experience that is akin to sleeping in the trees like one of the park’s famous tree-climbing lions!
Recommended For: Honeymooners.
10. Safety and Security in Lake Manyara National Park
Like most parks and reserves in Tanzania, Arusha National Park is very safe, in our opinion. Most visitors to the park stay in Arusha town, and normal safety precautions should be taken when walking around urban areas.
Get advice from your hotel before heading out, never carry unnecessary valuables, and don’t walk around after dark; rather, take a taxi. For more information, see ‘Cities & Urban Areas: Safety Precautions’ below. When following these precautions, it is doubtful that you will run into any issues.
Malaria & Vaccinations
Precautions against malaria and certain vaccinations are advisable (consult your local healthcare professional before traveling). Precautions against malaria include taking antimalarial medication and using mosquito repellent (those containing DEET are most effective). It’s also a good idea to cover up exposed skin in the evening.
Wildlife Viewing Safety in Arusha National Park
Wildlife viewing is very safe as long as you follow your guide’s directions. If you’re on a self-drive safari, you should make yourself familiar with the rules of the park and never get out of the vehicle except in designated areas. Also, take note of ‘Wildlife Viewing Safety Precautions’ below.
Plan your visit well in advance so you can take advantage of great flight prices and reliable tour operators. Depending on what you are most excited about, choose the time of your visit. For birds, be there during the rainy season that stretches from November to June. The animals are better spotted during the dry period because they look for water and food. That season is from July to October.
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