Lake Manyara Budget Travel


Lake Manyara National Park – Tanzania's Birding Paradise, home to the scenic Rift Valley Lake

Lake Manyara National Park is part of Tanzania’s Northern Safari Circuit, the top game viewing region in this game-rich East African country.

Lake Manyara is famous for its large elephant population, tree-climbing lions, and huge flamingo flocks, numbering in the thousands. The game park is dominated by Lake Manyara, an alkaline, soda-lake attracting a staggering diversity of birds.

Where is Lake Manyara National Park?

The game park is in Northern Tanzania just northwest of Tarangire Park and to the southeast of the nearby Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park. Together these superb game parks form one of the densest game viewing areas in Africa – the Northern Safari Circuit.

Lake Manyara Park is located 100km’s (60 miles) southwest of Arusha, near Mount Kilimanjaro and the northern border with Kenya.

Running 50 km’s along the floor of the East African Rift Valley, or Great Rift Valley, in the Manyara and Arusha Regions, Manyara is set in a picturesque locale.

The Highlights of Lake Manyara National Park

  • Stunning scenic setting – described by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest I had seen in Africa”.
  • Tree climbing lions and massive elephant herds
  • Diverse birdlife – thousands of flamingos, water birds and other migratory species
  • Shallow Rift Valley Lake stretching through the park

Lake Manyara Wildlife

In addition to the tree climbing lions and big elephant herds that Manyara is famous for, the park is also home to an abundance of hippos, as well as plenty of buffalo, zebra and wildebeest.

Lion, leopard, rhino and giraffe inhabit the park, along with bushbuck, impala and warthog. Manyara National Park also hosts great numbers of baboons and monkeys, as well as banded mongoose and klipspringers.

Lake Manyara Birdlife

With over 400 recorded bird species found in Lake Manyara National Park, a visit to the park provides a great overview of the birdlife in Tanzania.

Bird species include numerous water birds, especially the flocks of pink flamingos, found in the thousands fringing the shallow Lake Manyara.

Other water birds also flock to the park, among them pelicans, cormorants and storks. Hornbill, Spoonbill, Egyptian Goose, White Faced Duck, Red Billed Quelea, Long-crested Eagle, Grey-headed Kingfisher and Sacred Ibis are also found in Lake Manyara National Park.

Quick Facts About Lake Manyara Park

  • Contains five distinctive zones of vegetation, offering diverse habitats.
  • Lake Manyara National Park was founded in 1960, primarily to protect elephants.
  • As much as 200 sq km of the park is covered by Lake Manyara when the water levels are high.
  • Relatively small game park at 330 km².
  • Hosts salt and rock phosphate deposits.

Best Time to Visit Lake Manyara Park

For game viewing – the dry season (from July to October) especially to see the larger mammals.
For bird watching, canoeing and visiting its waterfalls – the wet season (from November to June).

Vegetation in Lake Manyara Park

This compact park hosts an incredibly high ecological diversity – from ground water forests and open floodplains to baobab studded cliffs and hot springs in the southernmost part of the park where Klipspringers live on the rocks.

The dense groundwater forests that look like jungles, feature ancient mahogany trees reaching high up into the canopy.

In contrast to the forests are the game-rich grassy plains, and the alkaline lake, then the dramatic, rocky volcanic peaks towering over the vast Maasai Steppes. A narrow belt of acacia woodland lies inland of the floodplains - hosting legendary tree-climbing lions, elephants, banded mongoose and Kirk’s dik-dik, a small antelope species.

Actvities in Lake Manyara Park

  • Game drives, night game drives and canoeing when the water levels are high enough.
  • Cultural tours to the nearby Mto wa Mbu, an ethnically diverse market town.
  • Bush dining, mountain biking, abseiling and forest walks in the vicinity of the park.

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Google Map of Lake Manyara

Use the Google map to explore Lake Manyara. Feel free to Print the Street Map when you're ready.

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