Lake Manyara National Park

Located on the way to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, Lake Manyara National Park is worth a stop in its own right. Its ground water forests, bush plains, baobab strewn cliffs, and algae-streaked hot springs offer incredible ecological variety in a small area, rich in wildlife and incredible numbers of birds.

The alkaline soda of Lake Manyara is home to an incredible array of bird life that thrives on its brackish waters. Pink flamingo stoop and graze by the thousands colourful specks against the grey minerals of the lake shore. Yellow-billed storks swoop and corkscrew on thermal winds rising up from the escarpment, and herons flap their wings against the sun-drenched sky. Even reluctant bird-watchers will find something to watch and marvel at within the national park.

Lake Manyara’s famous tree-climbing lions are another reason to pay a visit to this park. The only kind of their species in the world, they make the ancient mahogany and elegant acacias their home during the rainy season, and are a well-known but rather rare feature of the northern park. In addition to the lions, the national park is also home to the largest concentration of baboons anywhere in the world — a fact that accounts for interesting game viewing of large families of the primates.

Stretching for 50km along the base of the rusty-gold 600-metre high Rift Valley escarpment, Lake Manyara is a scenic gem, with a setting extolled by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest I had seen in Africa”.

What to see

Treetop walkway
Lake Manyara Treetop Walkway allows you to have a thrilling sky-high adventure straight through the forest. This 370 m airwalk, lets you to walk right among the treetops, giving you a bird’s eye view of the forest. The treetop walkway starts right from the short board-walk and eventually rises in altitude leading to a series of suspension bridges with secure netting on either side.

Get a sweeping view of the world from above.

These bridges rise to a total altitude of 18 m off the ground, and allow you to enjoy the fauna and flora of the forest facilitated by tour guides who can point out each of the varying species, and give you interesting tidbits about each kind.

Flamingos at Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park may be one of the best parks in Tanzania to engage in birding: with close to 400 bird species including migrating birds from Eurasian locations, and 3 species that are unique and endangered to Tanzania.

A place where the most uninterested people turn into avid bird watchers.

A majority of the birds that can be seen often migrate from Lake Natron where they breed, to Lake Manyara which acts as their feeding ground. This means that the floodplains of Lake Manyara are populated with spectacular species such as the Grey crowned crane, Fischer’s sparrow lark, pink lesser flamingos and the Crowned Plover.

Leopard sightings at night
Sure, every park has day game drives, but what about a nocturnal experience? A Lake Manyara safari shows its diverse ecosystems at its shining best through night game drives which make you feel like you’ve entered a whole new world!

One of the few national parks with night game drives

Lake Manyara is also known for its population of big cats, with lions being seen both during the day as they sleep, and at night when they are on the prowl.

Lake Manyara National Park also has the distinction of being one of the few national parks in Tanzania that allows canoeing! By canoeing at Lake Manyara, you will be able to get up close and personal with dozens of aquatic species and species of birds such as the pink flamingoes that gather near the water to relax and relieve their thirst.

Calling all adventure lovers!

Lake Manyara is also home to a number of giraffes and elephants all of which can be seen with a closer look as you canoe past them into the serene waters.

Maasai bombas
Surrounding Lake Manyara Tanzania are villages of the Maasai people who live in their quaint circular huts made of mud and straw which they refer to as Bombas. The Maasai are very friendly and often break into song and dance as they welcome you to their village.

Get a taste of the Maasai culture

If you are looking for a taste of the indigenous cultural heritage you must visit some of the neighboring villages where you can also taste the local cuisine and mingle with the locals, to understand the rich culture of Tanzania better.