Lake Manyara National Park

Not only famous for its unusual tree-climbing lions but also known for having one of Tanzania’s biggest elephant population and pink Flamingos, it is Lake Manyara National Park. The lake is the best introduction to African Safari as it offers a very beautiful scene and the diversity of many animal species. The lake attracts large herds of buffalos, cheetahs, and Masai giraffes.  



Lake Manyara National Park is situated between Lake Manyara and the Great Rift Valley and it is under the Tanzanian Authority. Covering almost 325 km2 (125 sq mi), including about 230 km2 (89 sq mi) lake surface, it is a home for a large variety of mammals, birds, and plants. The park offers its visitors a wilderness experience that is one of a kind. What makes Lake Manyara National Park exceptional is that the park also features a groundwater forest and hot springs. 

Location and History:


Lake Manyara area was used mainly for sports hunting since the 1920s. The first game reserve was established in 1957 and Lake Manyara officially became a National park in 1974. The Lake is located in the north part of Tanzania and it is 126 kilometers west of Arusha Town. The Park covers almost 330 sq km and 125 sq miles, including a lake surface of 230 sq km.


Lake Manyara Ecosystem:


    The Park has various areas within it. There is the breathtaking scenery of the Great Rift Valley's escarpment in the west and behind it there is a narrow area that protects the place between the escarpment and Lake Manyara. The bowls of salt deposits ease the ability of the alkaline lake to expand the diversity between the seasons. Near the lake, there are grassy floodplains while in the far end one can notice bands of mixed acacia of evergreen forests right next to the escarpment. They are watered by the perennial underground waters coming from the bottom of the escarpment.


WildLife and Top Attractions in Lake Manyara:

- The most notable thing about Lake Manyara National Park is its mountain climbing lions. The park is full of thriving groups of unique lions that are capable of climbing trees. As they are nocturnal animals, they tend to spend all their day resting on top of trees and by the sunset, when the temperature is cooler, they start to descend. With the other part of this kind of lions being in the Ishasha area in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Manyara National park is where tree climbing lions are to be found.  


- The park is also famous for attracting pink flamingos. Thousands of pink flamingos flock on Lake Manyara depending on when you go. You can see one or thousands depending on the luck you draw, as it is impossible to predict their appearance. They fly between Lake Manyara and other Eastern lakes.


- Lake Manyara National park has a huge number of elephants, giraffes, zebras, impalas, and many wild beasts. In the park, you will notice that a good amount of leopards are hosted within the forests and escarpment. Additionally, one will never fail to witness baboons living in troops that reach up to 200 members.  


- For those who are fond of bird watching, Lake Manyara is without a doubt one of the best places to do such an activity. With more than 350 species and alkaline within Lake Manyara park's boundaries, the park is a perfect place to do some birding safari. As mentioned before, large groups of pink flamingos as well as pelicans are very likely to be spotted in the middle of the lake. Other bird species such as spoonbills, egrets, herons, stalks are around the edges and water meadows. Evergreen forests and woodlands there serve as a home to many species such as crowned eagles, created guinea, fowl, and noisy silvery cheeked hornbills.


- Lake Manyara's famous tree-top Canopy walk gives you the opportunity to witness other wildlife in a unique way. Walking at a tree-top height you will have the chance to see many birds and some primates within the forest.




What to do in Lake Manyara:


The Lake offers a number of interesting tourist attractions that you will enjoy within it. Rich with wildlife, vegetation, and many other things that attract tourists who like to try different and adventurous experiences. Lake Manyara National Park gives you the chance to do the following:  

1- Observing the large elephant herds  

2- Game Drives

3- Tracking the tree climbing lions  

4- Visiting the “pink Lake" of Flamingos

5- Exploring the treetop walkway


Climate and When to visit Lake Manyara:


Lake Manyara has two rainy seasons, the short one from November to December and the long one from March to May. The month that witnesses the highest rainfall is April and it also marks the highest number of rainy days (19 days). The driest months are July, August, and September with September ranking the least number of rainy days (2 days). The warmest months are January, February, and March averaging 30 C (86 F). On the other hand, the Months with the lowest temperature degrees are June and July with an average temperature of 25 C (77 F).  


- The dry season from June to October is also referred to as the peak tourist season, especially from January to February, with a large number of tourists, which makes accommodations and safari rates high and costly. On the other hand, for people who are on a budget, it is recommended to visit Lake Manyara Park in the period from November to December. However, the temperature is hot with short thunderstorms in the afternoons.  

- During this time, animals gather around the remaining water sources. Also, the vegetation is easy to spot.  

-It is highly recommended to visit as there is a lot of sun and little rain. There are also slighter chances of malaria.  

During this time, it tends to get cold in the early mornings, so it is highly recommended to bring warm clothes for the early morning’s game drives.  

-In a nutshell, the best time for seeing the largest groups of mammals in Lake Manyara National Park is in the dry season (from June to October), January and February. On the other hand, bird watching can be best done from November to December and from March to May.



How to get to Lake Manyara National Park:


- The best way to get to Lake Manyara National park is by flying into Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA). This Airport is situated 46 KM from Arusha.

- You will be able to reach the park in only one hour and a half driving through the Arusha road. You can reach the park in even less than an hour if you are coming from the Ngorongoro crater. All the northern areas of the ark get really busy with numbers of tourists in the afternoon. It is advisable to stay within the park or in a nearby place for two nights at least to be able to enjoy the park sufficiently.





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