Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park


Welcome to Lake Manyara National Park, a stunning gem nestled between the Great Rift Valley and Lake Manyara in northern Tanzania. This picturesque park, renowned for its diverse ecosystems and abundant wildlife, offers a unique and unforgettable safari experience.

Lake Manyara National Park covers an area of approximately 325 square kilometers, with Lake Manyara itself occupying a significant portion of the park. Despite its small size, the park boasts a rich variety of landscapes, including dense woodlands, open grasslands, acacia forests, and the expansive alkaline lake. The park is easily accessible, located just 126 kilometers west of Arusha and en route to the famous Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park.


Key Attractions

Lake Manyara

Lake Manyara

The centerpiece of the park, Lake Manyara is a shallow, alkaline lake that attracts a multitude of bird species, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise. The lake’s shores are often lined with flocks of flamingos, creating a vibrant pink hue that contrasts beautifully with the blue waters and green surroundings.

Diverse Wildlife

Diverse Wildlife

Lake Manyara National Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Visitors can expect to see elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, hippos, and a host of other animals. The park’s dense forests are also home to troops of baboons and blue monkeys.

Tree-Climbing Lions

Tree-Climbing Lions

One of the park’s most famous attractions is its population of tree-climbing lions. These unique lions can often be seen lounging in the branches of acacia trees, a behavior that is rare among lion populations elsewhere.

Great Rift Valley Escarpment

Great Rift Valley Escarpment

The park lies at the base of the dramatic Great Rift Valley escarpment, which rises sharply to form a stunning backdrop. The escarpment provides breathtaking views of the park and Lake Manyara below.

Wildlife in Arusha National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is home to an impressive array of wildlife. Some of the animals you may encounter include:

  • Elephants: Large herds are commonly seen foraging in the park’s varied landscapes.
  • Giraffes: These gentle giants are often spotted browsing the treetops.
  • Buffaloes and Zebras: Frequently seen grazing in the grasslands and along the lake shores.
  • Hippos: Found in large numbers in and around Lake Manyara.
  • Tree-Climbing Lions: A unique highlight, these lions are often seen resting in trees.
  • Primates: Including olive baboons, blue monkeys, and vervet monkeys.
  • Birdlife: Over 400 species of birds have been recorded, including flamingos, pelicans, storks, and raptors.

Safari Activities in Arusha National Park

Lake Manyara Game Drive

Game Drives

Experience the park’s diverse ecosystems and abundant wildlife on a guided game drive. Morning and late afternoon drives offer the best opportunities for wildlife sightings.



During the wet season, canoeing on Lake Manyara provides a unique perspective on the park’s wildlife and scenery. Glide silently past hippos, birds, and other animals along the lake’s edge.

Night Game Drives

Night Game Drives

For a different safari experience, night game drives are available, offering a chance to see nocturnal animals like bushbabies, genets, and elusive predators.

Walking Safaris

Walking Safaris

Explore the park on foot with a guided walking safari. These walks provide an intimate look at the flora and fauna and are an excellent way to learn about the park’s ecosystems.

Bird Watching

Bird Watching

With its rich avian diversity, Lake Manyara National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers. Bring your binoculars and enjoy the sight of flamingos, pelicans, and many other species.

Mto wa Mbu village

Cultural Tours

Visit the nearby Mto wa Mbu village to experience local culture and traditions. These tours offer a glimpse into the lives of the indigenous people and their crafts, including banana plantations, local markets, and traditional homes.

Best Time to Visit

Lake Manyara National Park can be visited year-round, but the best time for wildlife viewing is during the dry season from July to October. The wet season, from November to June, is ideal for bird watching as migratory birds arrive, and the park becomes lush and green.


While there are no lodges within Lake Manyara National Park itself, there are several excellent accommodation options nearby:

  • Luxury Lodges: Enjoy world-class service and comfort at nearby luxury lodges, many offering stunning views of the park and lake.
  • Tented Camps: Experience the charm of safari living in well-equipped tented camps.
  • Budget Options: Affordable guesthouses and lodges are available in the nearby towns of Mto wa Mbu and Karatu.

Getting There

Lake Manyara National Park is easily accessible from Arusha, which is well connected by road and air. The park is approximately a two-hour drive from Arusha town and about 90 minutes from Kilimanjaro International Airport. Private transfers and organized tours are readily available.

Why Visit Lake Manyara National Park?

  • Scenic Beauty: From the stunning Great Rift Valley escarpment to the shimmering Lake Manyara, the park offers breathtaking scenery.
  • Diverse Wildlife: Encounter a wide variety of animals, including the famous tree-climbing lions and abundant birdlife.
  • Unique Activities: Enjoy a range of safari experiences, from game drives and walking safaris to canoeing and cultural tours.
  • Accessibility: Its proximity to Arusha makes it an ideal day trip or a starting point for a longer northern circuit safari.
  • Birdwatcher’s Paradise: With over 400 bird species, the park is a haven for bird enthusiasts.

Lake Manyara National Park provides a perfect blend of adventure, wildlife, and stunning landscapes. Whether you’re a seasoned safari-goer or a first-time visitor, the park promises an unforgettable experience. Explore the beauty and diversity of Lake Manyara National Park, where every visit offers new discoveries and unforgettable moments.


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Kilimanjaro's central cone, Kibo, rises to 19,340 feet (5,895 meters) and is the highest point in Africa.


Ranking as the 6th largest National Park in Tanzania and covering an area of 2,600 square kilometers

Lake Manyara

It covers an area of 325 km² including about 230 km² lake surface. More than 350 bird species have been observed on the lake.

Arusha National Park

Covers Mount Meru, a prominent volcano with an elevation of 4566 m, in the Arusha Region of north eastern Tanzania.

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