Tanzania Safari Expert

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park: Where Nature’s Beauty Takes Center Stage


Welcome to Lake Manyara National Park, a hidden gem nestled at the base of the Great Rift Valley in Tanzania. With its diverse landscapes, abundant wildlife, and unique attractions, Lake Manyara offers a captivating safari experience that will leave you spellbound. From the shimmering lake and lush forests to the iconic tree-climbing lions, this park is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.

Location and Geography

Lake Manyara National Park is located in northern Tanzania, about 126 kilometers (78 miles) west of Arusha. Covering an area of approximately 325 square kilometers (125 square miles), the park stretches along the eastern edge of the Great Rift Valley escarpment. The centerpiece of the park is Lake Manyara, a beautiful alkaline lake that attracts a wide variety of bird species and serves as a vital water source for wildlife.

How to Get There:

Travelers can reach Lake Manyara National Park by flying into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) or Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR).

From there, it is a scenic drive of approximately two hours to the park. Alternatively, domestic flights are available to Lake Manyara Airport, which is conveniently located near the park’s entrance.

Best Time to Visit:

Lake Manyara National Park can be visited year-round, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences and interests. The dry season, from June to October, is considered the peak wildlife-viewing season. During this time, animals congregate around the lake and other water sources, making it easier to spot them. The wet season, from November to May, brings lush greenery, fewer tourists, and a chance to see migratory birds.

ngorongoro concervation
lake manyara national park lions

Attractions and Activities:

  1. Wildlife Safari: Lake Manyara National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, making it a paradise for safari enthusiasts. Embark on thrilling game drives to explore the park’s different ecosystems, including the lakeshore, groundwater forest, and open grasslands. Keep your eyes peeled for the famous tree-climbing lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, buffaloes, hippos, and a variety of antelope species.
  2. Canopy Walkway: Lake Manyara is renowned for its unique canopy walkway, providing a bird’s-eye view of the park’s lush forest. Walk along suspended bridges amidst the treetops, offering stunning panoramic views and an opportunity to observe monkeys and birdlife up close.
  3. Hot Springs: Visit the Maji Moto hot springs, located within the park’s boundaries. These natural hot pools provide a rejuvenating experience amidst the tranquil surroundings of the park. Take a dip and relax while soaking in the therapeutic waters.
  4. Birdwatching: Lake Manyara National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers, with over 400 bird species recorded. Explore the diverse habitats, including the lake, woodlands, and swamps, to spot an incredible variety of birdlife. Look out for pink flamingos, pelicans, storks, hornbills, kingfishers, and many other colorful and exotic bird species.
  5. Cultural Interactions: Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting nearby Maasai villages. The Maasai people have a strong presence in the area and have maintained their traditional way of life. Engage in cultural activities, learn about their customs and traditions, witness traditional dances, and purchase authentic Maasai handicrafts.

Accommodation Options:

Lake Manyara National Park offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. From luxury lodges perched on the escarpment with breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding landscapes, to tented camps and campsites for a closer connection to nature.

Notable options include Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge, Manyara Wildlife Safari Camp, Kirurumu Manyara Lodge, and Migunga Tented Camp.

Local Culture and Etiquette:

Respect the local culture and customs of the Maasai and other communities living in the area. Seek permission before taking photographs, dress modestly, and support local artisans by purchasing their crafts directly.

Engage in cultural exchanges with the local communities to learn about their way of life and traditions.

kirurumu manyara

Safety and Health:

Lake Manyara National Park is generally safe, but it’s important to follow the guidance of your guides and park rangers. Be cautious and maintain a safe distance from wildlife. It is advisable to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and to consult your healthcare provider for any required vaccinations or health precautions before your trip.

Local Cuisine and Dining Options:

Within the park, lodges and camps offer a range of dining options, including delicious Tanzanian and international cuisine.

Indulge in a variety of dishes prepared with fresh local ingredients.

Don’t miss the chance to sample traditional Tanzanian delicacies, such as pilau (spiced rice), mtori (beef and banana stew), vitumbua (coconut rice pancakes), and nyama choma (grilled meat).

Additional Tips and Recommendations:

  • Pack lightweight and breathable clothing suitable for both warm days and cooler evenings.
  • Bring comfortable walking shoes or sturdy safari boots for game drives and nature walks.
  • Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, sunglasses, and a reusable water bottle.
  • Respect the park’s rules and regulations, including not littering and not feeding or disturbing the wildlife.
  • Consider hiring a knowledgeable guide who can enhance your wildlife sightings and provide insights into the park’s ecology and cultural heritage.


Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Lake Manyara National Park, where diverse wildlife, picturesque landscapes, and cultural encounters await. Prepare for an unforgettable safari experience that will leave you with lasting memories of Tanzania’s remarkable biodiversity and breathtaking scenery.