Lake Manyara National Park

One of Tanzania’s lesser-known parks on the Tanzania Northern Circuit is Lake Manyara National Park. A variety of colorful birds, curious monkeys, and other animals concealed in the trees abound in the forested area. It is most famous for its enormous flocks of pink flamingos and tree-climbing lions. The lake, Lake Manyara, which makes up the majority of the park, bears the name of the national park. Of the overall 325 km2 (125 sq. mi), the lake occupies around 230 km2 (89 sq. mi)

Despite being small, the park features an intriguing array of varied landscapes. From dense forests with groundwater to vast marshes where hippos enjoy feasting day and night Lake Manyara National Park is by far the greenest of all the national parks in the vicinity.

 The Great Rift Valley, a striking fissure in the earth’s crust that began 22–25 million years ago, is close to Lake Manyara. Thousands of kilometers throughout East Africa, the Rift Valley Escarpment, which is 400 meters deep, may be seen. The valley produces a special environment that supports the dense forestation in the area.


The park is divided into a number of regions. The limited space that protects the region between the escarpment and Lake Manyara is hidden behind the beautiful scenery of the Great Rift Valley’s steep escarpment in the west. The alkaline Lake Manyara can swell and contract with the seasons thanks to the silvery bowls of salt deposits. Its immediate neighbors are grassy floodplains, while at the far end are patches of mixed acacia forests. Moreover, there are stretches of continuously green forests near the escarpment that are irrigated by the escarpment’s perpetual subsurface waters.


Tanzania’s Lake Manyara National Park is a well-liked safari location. Compared to the arid, sprawling savannah that makes up most national parks, the jungle forests are a welcome break.

 Although Lake Manyara is sometimes considered as a pit stop for travelers traveling on longer safaris to the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater, it is unquestionably worthwhile to see on its own.


Elephants, giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, impalas, waterbucks, warthogs, dik-dik, and the Klipspringer live along the escarpment’s ramps in Lake Manyara. Leopards live in the scattered forests and on the cliffs, while lions, which are well-known for their extraordinary ability to climb trees, are present in good numbers. Also, you won’t miss the numerous baboons in this park, which may form large troops with up to 200 individuals.


Within the first ten minutes of entering Lake Manyara National Park, you can come across sizable herds of hippos grazing on the nutrient-rich marshes. One of Lake Manyara’s best features, and the reason the national park is on many people’s bucket lists, is the hippo pool.

 The hippopotamuses often remain in their pools from dark until dawn; thus, Lake Manyara National Park is a good option if you’d like to view some hippopotamuses. Hippopotamuses may be observed rolling around, snapping their enormous lips at one another, and engaging in other typical hippo behavior during the day when it is too hot for them to venture outside.

Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park Hippo Pool


Is there lions that can climb trees in Lake Manyara National Park? Because they are nocturnal creatures, the lions spend the majority of the day sleeping up in the tall fig trees and only come down at dusk, when it is cooler. There is a thriving population of these unusual lions in the park. There are only two populations of these particular lions, with the other one being in the Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Ishasha region.


The countless pink flamingos that flock to Lake Manyara during the rainy seasons (November–December and March–May), when the generally shallow lake is at its deepest, are the reason for its fame.

Large flocks of pink flamingos, pelicans, storks, and cormorants are among the migratory water birds that are drawn to the lake’s highly alkaline waters during this time of year. Currently, the lake may take up as much as 60% of the whole park. The lake can, however, significantly dry up and shrink during the dry seasons.


Lake Manyara National Park is without a doubt one of the best locations to visit on a Tanzania Birding Safari because it is home to more than 350 kinds of birds and has an alkaline within the park’s boundaries. Pink flamingos and sizable pelican groups are frequently seen in the lake’s center. While waders congregate at the water’s edge and in the water meadows, including spoonbills, egrets, herons, stalks, and others. Many other species, like crowned eagles, created guinea fowl, and noisy silvery-cheeked hornbills, find refuge in various habitats, such as evergreen forests and other woodlands.


A popular safari location all year is Lake Manyara National Park. Whether you like to watch wildlife or birds will determine the best time for you to visit.

 One of the features is the migratory water birds, including the pink flamingos, which aren’t always there. The wet seasons are the best times to observe birds (November–December and March–May). The migratory birds come at this time.

 The best time to go, however, would be between June and October during the dry season if you wish to see wildlife. As this is the driest time of the year, it is much simpler to notice them in the normally dense, jungle woodlands.


Like other national parks in the north, Lake Manyara National Park has a warm and temperate climate. The yearly average temperature remains constant. The daytime highs are lovely, while the evening lows are pleasant. Early morning game drives require warm gear.


If you visit Lake Manyara National Park, you can choose from a ton of fantastic tours and activities. One of the most popular ones is undoubtedly engaging in cultural activities, traveling to the adjacent village of Mto WA Mbu, or taking a lovely bicycle ride across Lake Manyara’s lush surrounds. For example:

  • Canopy Walk
  • Mto Wa Mbu Cultural Tour
  • Mountain bike tour
  • Canoeing on Lake Manyara
  • Visit the Maasai Tribe
  • Visit the Hadzabe Tribe
  • Night game drive
  • Bird watching
  • Walking safari
  • Enjoy a day of cooking with the local mama’s


  • The distance between Arusha and the Park is around 2.5 hours by car.
  • It takes around one hour to drive from Ngorongoro to Lake Manyara.
  • Driving takes roughly three and a half hours from the Serengeti to Lake Manyara.
  • It takes around an hour to drive from Tarangire to Lake Manyara.
  • Depending on the level of traffic, it takes between 3.5 and 4 hours to drive from Moshi to Lake Manyara National Park.

Keep in mind that you can only drive in the parks from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.