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Lake Manyara National Park

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Wondering where to see tree-climbing lions in Tanzania? Then come on a tailor-made safari in Lake Manyara National Park and see if you can spot a pride hanging out in the branches, probably the most unusual thing to see on safari! Lake Manyara is also famous for its flamingo covered lake, a truly colourful spectacle to behold. A visit to Lake Manyara National Park is an easy inclusion on many Tanzania northern circuit safaris, as well as being an ideal stop on the way to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.

About Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park sits at the bottom of a dramatic wooded escarpment, beside the alkaline Lake Manyara. The national park is 325 km² in size, and whilst less visited than many other safari destinations in Tanzania, anyone who ventures here will be rewarded with unique game viewing opportunities and inspiring landscapes. The dense woodland is a different Tanzanian safari experience to the savannahs of the Serengeti National Park, and wildlife viewing is good throughout the year.


The park is conveniently located 2.5 hours west of Arusha, and a stay in Lake Manyara is an exciting way to break up a day of driving between Tarangire National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater.

Image by Sergey Pesterev

Lake Manyara National Park Wildlife Safaris

Safaris in Lake Manyara are done with a local guide in a 4×4. As you pass through the park’s main gate you’ll enter a thick forest, where sightings of baboons, blue monkeys and vervet monkeys are common. The trees become less dense as you drive further into the park, and soon open areas of land begin to appear, with the possibility of seeing the pink specs of flamingo on the lake ahead. Elephants are often spotted on safari in Lake Manyara, and the park is renowned for its healthy population of big ‘tuskers’. Giraffe, zebra and wildebeest all appear in high numbers, whilst buffalo can often be seen wading neck-deep through the marshes.


The highlight of any luxury Lake Manyara safari is the famous tree-climbing lions, and lucky visitors will see entire prides sprawled along branches taking shade from the sun. In fact, almost half the lion sightings on safari in Lake Manyara are of these big cats up in the trees, something that is very unusual and rarely seen elsewhere. There is some debate as to why lions climb trees in Lake Manyara, especially as they weigh between 100 - 200 kgs and aren’t natural climbers. Some people believe that it is to escape mosquitoes and other insects, whilst others think it is to seek relief from the African sun. Whatever the reason, seeing it first-hand is a real highlight of a bespoke Lake Manyara safari.



Bird Watching in Lake Manyara National Park


Birdlife in Lake Manyara is excellent, with recorded species exceeding 400, many of which can be seen in a single day. Thanks to its lakeside location, water birds such as the lesser flamingo, saddle-billed storks and heron are common at Lake Manyara. There are also more than 50 types of birds of prey including the African fish eagle, crowned eagle, martial eagle and the imperial eagle. Threatened species of bird found in Lake Manyara National Park include gray crowned cranes, white-backed vulture and Rueppell’s griffon. Lake Manyara is certainly one of the best places to go bird watching in Tanzania.

 
Image by sutirta budiman

Best Places to Stay in Lake Manyara National Park

The location of Lake Manyara National Park means that it is not necessary to spend a night here. Many visitors opt to stay further west in Karatu and use Lake Manyara to break up a day’s drive between Arusha and Tarangire or the Ngorongoro Crater. There are some properties that sit on the border of Lake Manyara National Park and we're happy to reccomend our preferred if you're set on staying nearby.

 
Image by Brianna Reak

Best Time to Visit Lake Manyara National Park

June to October is Tanzania’s dry season and the best time to see wildlife in Lake Manyara. During these months, vegetation is thinner making wildlife easier to find, so it’s an ideal time for a family safari in Lake Manyara. Between the months of November and March tourism in Tanzania reduces and safaris in Lake Manyara are quieter. At this time, game viewing is still very good. 


The low period in Lake Manyara is between March and May. During this wet season, the vegetation in the park becomes luscious and green, and it’s now that the park is at its most beautiful. Wildlife is harder to find because of the thicker vegetation but safaris are still very enjoyable with few other visitors around.

Weather During the Year

How to Book a Lake Manyara National Park Safari

To discuss your Tanzania safari holiday, Lake Manyara day trips and tailor-made itineraries, speak to one of our Tanzania experts today by contacting us.

 

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