Attractions of Lake Manyara National Park : Lake Manyara  National Park is protected area in Manyara region and Arusha Tanzania. It is situated along the Great Rift Valley and Lake Manyara. It is a popular tourist destination in Tanzania for its large herds of elephants. The park was established in 1960 to protect these largest land animals from danger and threatened by poachers ,hunting them for their ivory. The park is easier to access because of its close distance from the nearby town of Arusha. Lake Manyara National Park is also famous for its tree climbing lions, the park’s lions tend to climb trees more than other lions in the nearby parks of Serengeti National park or at Tarangire National Park. There is nothing more rewarding in a safari destination than spotting a tree climbing lions.


Lake Manyara National Park is located 125 kilometres  from Arusha town. The park can be accessed by road a journey that takes approximately two hours and twenty five minutes. This closeness to a town makes the park easy to access and therefore it is one of the most visited tourist destinations receiving more than 178,000 tourist per year, Attractions of Lake Manyara National Park

The park covers 325 Km² ,which Lake Manyara covers the surface area of 230 km². It is governed by Tanzania National Parks Authority. It is found in the Arusha region and Manyara region of Tanzania, which near the city of Arusha. The park was first established in 1957 as a Game reserve before being given the National park status in 1974. The lake can also be reached  from Babati the capital of Manyara region.  Marang Forest Reserve which is 35,399 ha is located in the south and kwa Kuchinja wildlife  migration is located in the East. The corridor allows the animals to migrate between Tarangire National Park to the Southeast ,Lake Manyara to the west ,and Engaruka basin to the North.

Wildlife in Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is a sanctuary for hippos, Giraffes, Zebras, Impalas, vervet monkeys, elephants, leopards, baboons , bushbuck, lions ,cheetahs, hyenas jackals among others. It is a wildlife rewarding destination for many wildlife species. Lake Manyara is also one of the recognised important bird area, it is part of Lake Manyara Biosphere Reserve.

Lake Manyara

The Lake was formed through a depression of Rift Valley, it is an alkaline shallow lake with altitude of 960M. When full the lake has a maximum depth of 3 metres and covers two third of the park. The lake has no outflow, the lake is fed by permanent underground springs that rises from Ngorongoro Highlands. The lakes depth and size fluctuates significantly during the dry season.

On the shores of the lake ,there are Marshlands and saline flats which expand during the rainy season and shrink during the dry season.  There is tall forest near the park’s gate sustained by the underground water . In the northern part of the lake ,there is a hippopotamus pool and two springs in the Southern end. There is Maji moto hot water spring in the western end of the lake. The hot water spring has water temperatures up to 60°c ,because the water passes through the hot volcanic magma  rocks underground of the Great Rift Valley, Attractions of Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara is also the habitat for a sizeable number of lesser flamingos which feed on the  Algae on the shores of the lake. The lake is salty water ,other wildlife rarely drink the water unless during the extreme dry season when there is serious scarcity of water.

 Lake Manyara National Park Vegetation

Lake Manyara National Park has a vegetation that varies from swamp, alkaline short grasslands, bush land, some woodland, groundwater and scarp forest. The trees found in the park include acacia trees, sycamore trees and candelabras trees which are synonymous for the parks unique tree climbing lions. The trees provide shade during the dry season and also provide the shelter during the rainy season. The large regions of Central part of Tanzania is characterized by a semi arid type of climate which is conducive environment for wildlife. The soil of the park varies with the type of vegetation cover. Mahogany and sausage trees are also found widely distributed across the park with blue and vervet monkeys inhabiting the trees .

 Bird watching

Lake Manyara National Park is one of the rewarding birding area in Tanzania with over 400 species being recorded in the park. On a bird watching Lake Manyara National Park safari one is likely to see the following birds: Squacco Heron, Crested Heron, silver cheecked Hornbill, purple swamphen, African jacana, Rufous Bellied Heron, knob billed duck, Giant kingfisher, African fish eagle, African grey Hornbill, Abdim’s storks, comb duck, crowned eagle, Greater flamingos, Hermerkops,  little stint, southern ground Hornbill, Spur-winged goose, pied Avocet, Hottentot teal, Von der deckens Hornbill among others.

Attractions of Lake Manyara National Park
Rufous Bellied Heron

In Lake Manyara National Park bird watching is good throughout the year, but the best time for a memorable birding safari is during the months of November to April. This is the period when there is plenty of food because of the abundant rain ,it is the time that most birds are seen in their breeding plumage. It is also the period when many migratory birds from Europe and North Africa arrive.

 The best time to visit Lake Manyara National Park

The best time for wildlife viewing for a memorable safari experience in the lake Manyara National park is during the dry months of the late June to October. However,  the scenic parks is more beautiful and lively during the wet season of November to May , when the vegetation is green and the waterfalls cascade down the escarpments, Attractions of Lake Manyara National Park

How to get to Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park can be reached by two means of transport i:e By road and by air. The means of transport in to the park will depend on one’s choice ,budget and other necessities and preferences. Every tourist should have the quality information on the modes of transport into the park to help in proper planning for a smooth enjoyable safari tour to remember.

By Air

Lake Manyara National Park can be accessed by air , this is the quickest and the most convenient way. This is achieved by flying into Kilimanjaro international Airport which is 52 kilometres from Arusha town, then connect a domestic flights to Lake Manyara Airport which located in the Northern side of the park. Some of the Domestic flights flying to Lake Manyara Airport include:

  • Safari Air link
  • Coastal aviation
  • Air Excel
  • Regional Air
  • Auric air

Most of these flights are usually booked by the tour operators as part of the tour safari package.

By Road

This is the popular and the most used means of transport to the park .There are well established road network from the nearest towns of Arusha and Babati which one can comfortably drive for those who are on self drive safari tours . The other option is taking a safari van organised by the tour operator of your choice that offer transport to various parks in Tanzania

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