Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara national park is a remarkable Tanzania safari destination located in the northern region of Tanzania in Arusha and Manyara regions, the park is situated between Lake Manyara and the great Rift Valley and extends 50 kilometers along the bottom of 600 meter high Rift Valley Escarpment. Lake Manyara is located close to Tarangire national park and along the route leading to Ngorongoro conservation area and Serengeti national park, the park is located in about 126 kilometers south west of Arusha and a 1 hour’s drive.
The park was described as the a loveliest spot he had ever seen in Africa by Ernest Hemingway because of its spectacular scenery, the park covers an area of 325 square kilometers which is composed of diverse terrain consisting of open grasslands, forests and dominant red western rift escarpment with a backdrop of Lake Manyara.
Lake Manyara is the trademark attraction in the park and it from which the park gets the name, Lake Manyara is a shallow alkaline and the 7th largest lake in Tanzania covering an area of 470 square kilometers. Lake Manyara national park is famous for tree climbing lions, one of the biggest elephant population in Tanzania and flocks of thousands of flamingoes attracted to Lake Manyara.
The park composed of a scenic landscape composed of grassy flood plains, bands of mixed acacia woodlands, patches of evergreen forests and savannah grasslands. Lake Manyara national park is a home to a variety of wildlife animals such as elephants, tree climbing lions, wildebeests, giraffes, zebras, warthogs, impalas, warthogs, waterbucks, Kirk’s dik-dik, klipspringers and many more.
Lake Manyara national park hosts over 400 bird species calling the park a home which makes it an ideal destination for bird watching safaris, the park is famous for flocks of thousands of flamingoes found on the edge of Lake Manyara most especially in wet season when they migrate from Lake Natron.
Birds found in lake Manyara include lesser flamingo, white pelican, pink-backed pelican, marabou stork, yellow-billed stork, white stork, Abdim’s stork, black stork, open-billed stork, saddle-billed stork, great cormorant, long-tailed cormorant, grey-headed heron, african darter, little bittern, dwarf bittern, black-crowned heron, cattle egret, common squacco heron, little egret, black heron, great egret, black-headed heron, goliath heron, purple heron, African spoonbill, sacred ibis, glossy ibis, egyptian goose, spur-winged goose, hottentot teal, Southern Pochard, African jacana, pied avocet, little stint, black-winged stilt, Hammerkop, pied kingfisher, grey-headed kingfisher, malachite kingfisher, little bee-eater, white-throated bee-eater, silvery-cheeked hornbill, African grey hornbill, Von der Decken’s hornbill, Southern ground hornbill, grey crowned crane, Fischer’s lovebird and many more.
Safari activities to do in Lake Manyara national park
Lake Manyara national park is a remarkable destination for Tanzania game viewing safari, game drive in lake Manyara are done in the southern are of the park and are offered as day game drives and night game drives. Game drives are done in 4X4 wheel vehicle, while driving through the savannah plains of the park lookout for sights of many animals such as wildebeests, zebras, elephants, tree-climbing lions, buffaloes, and troops of baboons, lions, leopards and many more. Night game drives in Lake Mburo are done as the sun sets and it is an ideal time for enjoying a sunset and a spotlight is used to provide light for spotting animals, night game drives offer views of animals such as tree climbing lions, leopards aardvarks and many more.
Canoeing in Lake Manyara is an adventurous Tanzania safari done on Lake Manyara in a in a two canoe with a guide, this experience is for 3 and half hours and two sessions are offered that is morning canoeing starting at 07:00 am and afternoon canoeing starting at 02:00 pm . As you slowly paddle on the calm waters of Lake Manyara you will enjoy sights of many animals such as elephants, giraffes, and buffaloes as the graze on the shoreline of the lake. You will also get sights of many water birds such as flocks of pink flamingoes, pelicans, cormorants, storks, shoebill and many more
Lake Manyara is one of listed best bird watching spots in Tanzania, the park boosts over 400 bird species including a huge concentration of pink flamingoes which migrate from Lake Natron to Lake Manyara and flock of pelicans sighted on the shores of Lake Manyara. Bird watching in Lake Manyara national park offers sights of many bird species such as Abdim’s stork, African fish eagle, African grey hornbill, African hawk eagle, African jacana, African spoonbill, Baglafecht weaver, Comb duck, Crowned eagle, Great white pelican, Greater flamingo, Grey crowned crane, Hamerkop, Hottentot teal, Lesser flamingo, Little stint, Pied avocet, Pied kingfisher, Pink-backed pelican, Sacred ibis, Saddle-billed stork, Silvery-cheeked hornbill, Southern ground hornbill, Spur-winged goose, Von der Decken’s hornbill, Yellow-billed stork and many more
Mountain biking is an active safari experience you can add on your Tanzania wildlife safari while in Lake Manyara, mountain biking safaris is a 3-4 hours experience offering a chance to explore more the park’s terrain, meet and interact the locals of Mto Wa Mbu. This safari experience begins with a short briefing where a safari guide takes you through bike logistics including packed snacks, gloves, boots and helmets.
Hiking and Nature walk
The national park offers excellent nature viewing through hiking and nature walk, hiking and nature walk in Lake Manyara national park is a 2-3 hours walk done with an armed ranger for security purposes. This activity is done on foot and conducted on 3 trails running through the park that are Msara Trail, Lake Shore trail and Iyambi River trail.
Msara Trail– is a 11 kilometer trail situated nearest to the main gate and follows Msara river along the Rift Valley Escarpment, this trail is great for bird watching as it runs through a bird territory leading to a viewpoint.
Lake Shore trail – is a 38 kilometers trail near Maji Moto hot springs, this trail crosses acacia woodland and savannah grasslands, this trail offers sights of many large animals such as elephants, buffaloes and many birds such as flocks of flamingoes.
Iyambi River trail – is a 50 kilometer trail from the gate, this trail is wooded and rocky offering a chance for spotting birds and animals.
While visiting Lake Manyara national park you will have an engage in a Tanzania cultural tour in the Karatu local villages and markets found between Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro conservation area in a cool mountain valley. Cultural encounters in Lake Manyara national park offer a thrilling insight into the local African lifestyle of the Tanzania people and their exciting history, this activity is a 2-3 hours walk where you get to interact with the locals, enjoy scenic views of farms, visit the traditional homes of the of the Maasai women the Bomas which are built in circular form. On your visit to the Bomas you will have a chance to participate in traditional food making and purchase beautiful handmade jewelry pieces.
How to get to Lake Manyara national park
Lake Manyara is situated in the northern region of Tanzania and lies in a distance of 126 kilometers west of Arusha town where most of the safaris to the park start from, the park is easily accessed using air and road means of transport.
By road – Lake Manyara is located southwest and from this town it is a 1-2 hours’ drive to the park main entrance gate, Lake Manyara national park lies in the northern safari circuit which makes it very accessible from other national parks such as Serengeti national park, Ngorongoro conservation area and others. When getting to Lake Manyara park by road you can either used public means of transport or private vehicle, it is highly recommended to use a 4X4 wheel vehicle.
By air– Getting to Lake Manyara national park by air require flying to Tanzania using Kilimanjaro international Airport which is situated 46 kilometers from Arusha Airport, domestic flights are also offered from Dar es Salaam using Julius Nyerere international Airport to Arusha Airport. Also chartered flights are offered from Arusha Airport to Lake Manyara Airport, these flights are connecting flights to Serengeti national park.
Where to stay in Lake Manyara national park
Accommodation in Lake Manyara national park is offered in a wide range of lodges and camps situated in the vicinity the park either inside or out, these safari lodges and camps are offered in three statuses that is Luxury, Midrange and Budget. Accommodation in Lake Manyara national park is got from Lake Manyara plantation lodge, Andbeyond Lake Manyara Tree lodge, Manyara ranch conservancy, Isoitok camp Manyara, Lake Manyara Serena lodge, Kirurumu tented lodge, Lake Burunge Tented camp, Manyara Wildlife safari camp, Haven Nature camp and lodge, Lemala Manyara camp, Lake Manyara hotel and many more.