On the shores of Lake Manyara, there is excitement.
Why visit the Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park is an integral part of the Tanzania safari experience and should not be overlooked in the rush to visit its more famous neighbors, the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. It is literally down the road from Arusha, Tanzania’s entry and exit point for the ‘northern safari circuit,’ and makes for a relaxing, breath-taking day or two stopover.
Lake Manyara is a shallow alkaline lake located at the foot of the Great Rift Valley escarpment. Its northwestern shore is protected by the Lake Manyara National Park. While the lake occupies a large portion of the 330-square-kilometer park, one of the many surprises for visitors is the remarkably diverse range of terrestrial habitats – forest, wetland, floodplain, and acacia woodland – which supports an equally impressive variety of wildlife.
On a Lake Manyara safari, the first thing you’ll notice is the birdlife: nearly 400 species have been recorded here, making it an excellent and easily accessible introduction to East African birds. Large flocks of flamingos and numerous birds of prey are among the feathered highlights.
Additional surprises await the visitor. Along with a supporting cast of buffalo, antelope, zebra, and giraffe, Lake Manyara is home to a growing elephant population, and the park’s lions have developed an unusual habit of tree climbing. The park is home to the ever-elusive leopard, while boat cruises take visitors in search of snorting hippo pods and basking crocodiles.
The best months for game viewing on a Lake Manyara safari are December to February and May to July, although the destination is included on the majority of Tanzania safari itineraries all year. There is excellent luxury accommodation both inside and outside the park, which allows visitors to explore via 4X4, canoe, motor boat, mountain bike, or even on foot.
More About Lake Manyara National Park
Measuring 330km² in size, Lake Manyara National Park is home to cliffs, verdant acacia woodlands, open savannahs, and the alkaline, underground spring-fed waters of Tanzanian Lake Manyara. The park’s diverse landscape is home to an array of wildlife from land-dwelling mammals to over 400 bird species flitting across the escarpment and between the lakeshore and trees.
Flamingos wade through the lake’s waters alongside pods of hippos, whose movements create ripples that lead to the shoreline. Giraffes lope across the grassland amid herds of zebra whose ears twitch nervously, ready to elude any leopards hiding in the acacia woodlands. Other animals to be spotted in the park include lions, elephants, buffalo, and migrating wildebeest.