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Lake Manyara National Park

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Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is a special place dominated by a shallow alkaline lake, located at the base of the Rift Valley escarpment. It’s known for its unique features, such as tree-climbing lions and large elephant herds. The park entrance leads to a jungle-like groundwater forest, where you can find many olive baboons and blue monkeys. A thrilling 370m-long treetop walkway provides a bird’s eye view into this unique habitat.

Changes in Wildlife Viewing

In recent years, the high water level of Lake Manyara has led to changes in the park’s landscape. Unfortunately, there’s no longer a game-drive track following the shore, impacting the quality of wildlife viewing and birding. Despite this, four of the Big Five (excluding rhino) can still be spotted. Animals like buffalo, elephant, giraffe, zebra, and wildebeest are easily seen. Keep an eye out for bushbucks in the forest and klipspringer near the hot springs (Maji Moto).

Diverse Habitats in a Small Area

The park boasts a remarkable variety of habitats within a small area. The dense, evergreen groundwater forest is home to ancient mahogany and fig trees. Other habitats include a grassy floodplain, rocky escarpment, and acacia woodland, all of which can be explored in a half-day visit. Deeper into the park, a visit to the hot springs (Maji Moto) is recommended.

Activities in Lake Manyara National Park

While game drives offer a quick way to see diverse wildlife, there are other ways to connect with nature in Lake Manyara. Night drives provide a chance to spot nocturnal creatures, and a canoe safari might reveal the famous flocks of pink flamingos. For those seeking a more immersive experience, walking tours are available. The treetop walkway offers a thrilling adventure for those with sturdy nerves.

Best Time to Visit Lake Manyara

Wildlife viewing in Lake Manyara is good throughout the year but reaches its peak in the Dry season from June to October. March and April, being very wet months, are an exception. The Wet season months (November to May) showcase the park’s scenery at its most beautiful. Since many visitors pass through the park on their way to or from the Ngorongoro Crater, early mornings are ideal for a less crowded experience.

Getting to Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is part of the popular Northern safari circuit, with Arusha serving as the gateway town. The best way to reach Arusha is to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), located about 50km from Arusha. Alternatively, you can fly into Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam and then connect to Arusha Airport (ARK) or Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).

Lake Manyara National Park

Flights from Arusha and Serengeti National Park to Lake Manyara’s airstrip are available, or you can opt for a 1½ hour drive from Arusha on the tarred road. If coming from the Ngorongoro Crater, expect a 2-hour drive to cover the 80km distance.