Lake Manyara National Park
Under the shadow of the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Manyara is best used as a mild beginning to an East Africa safari. While the visual splendor of this park is unquestionably appealing, the wildlife watching here pales in comparison to that available in Tarangire, the Ngorongoro Crater, and the Serengeti. Manyara is worth a day trip but not much longer because of its tree-climbing lions, flamingos, breathtaking scenery, and the soda-ash lake in the center.
Lake Manyara is a beautiful picturesque park on the way from Arusha to the Ngorongoro Crater, known for its tree-climbing lions, abundant birds, and excellent elephants and baboons. The lake itself occupies a large portion of the park, leaving a strip of land running along its borders where wildlife gathers.
Manyara is frequently visited for an afternoon game drive on the way to Ngorongoro, and it would be a shame to miss it if you’re going directly by it – but in terms of game watching, it’s not up there with the heavyweight big boys. But, if you go on to Ngorongoro and Serengeti, you’ll see lots of animals.
The densities of wildlife here are not quite as great as in neighboring parks, but there are a number of distinctive species that make it worthwhile to safari here. The park’s major draw is Lake Manyara’s famed tree-climbing lions – why these lions climb trees is still a mystery, but seeing a pride lounging in an acacia tree is a breathtaking sight! The park is especially noted for its elephant and a vast number of baboons, and its diversified geography supports an outstanding range of other species including wildebeest, buffalo, hippo, flamingo, zebra, warthog, waterbuck, giraffe, dik-dik and impala. Birdwatching is also excellent, particularly for raptors.
How many flamingos can you count on Lake Manyara?
Depending on the season, flamingos can number in the thousands in Lake Manyara. They wander between this and other East African lakes, making predictions impossible. You could see one or you might see 10,000… It all comes down to the luck of the draw.
Manyara’s designated peak season runs from July to October, according to the area’s migratory trend. This should not be a decisive issue for such a tiny park; if you are in the region and have time, Lake Manyara is dependably fantastic as a soft game-watching park at any time of year. Lake Manyara is an excellent place to begin your Tanzania safari, and we recommend stopping by on your route to the Ngorongoro Crater in Northern Tanzania.
The major activity for visitors is daytime game drives, while the park has lately begun to provide night safaris and short hikes from the camps deep inside the park. Staying outside the park in the Rift Valley, on the other hand, opens up a world of choices, with activities such as strolling, village tours, trekking, and mountain riding offered at certain lodges.
The most famous lodge at Manyara is &Beyond’s magnificent Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, which offers the only accommodation located inside the park.
The far more reasonable Kirurumu Tented Camp and Lake Manyara Serena Resort are nestled on the top of the Rift Valley with spectacular views looking down into the park.
We often stay at lodges in the surrounding Karatu region, the finest of which being Plantation Lodge and Gibbs Farm, both of which provide easy access to Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater.