About Lake Manyara National Park
Size: 330 sq km (127 sq miles), of which up to
200 sq km (77 sq miles) is lake when water levels are high.
Location: In northern Tanzania. The entrance
gate lies 1.5 hours (126km/80 miles) west of Arusha along a newly
surfaced road, close to the ethnically diverse market town of
Mto wa Mbu.
Having been collected from your hotel in either Arusha or Moshi,
we drive to Lake Manyara which takes approximately 2 hours.
When to go
Dry season (July-October) for large mammals;
Wet season (November-June) for bird watching and the impressive
What to see
Lake Manyara stretches for 50 kms and your game viewing day-trip
offers a view of a virtual microcosm of the full Tanzanian safari
experience.From the entrance gate, the road winds through an expanse
of lush jungle-like groundwater forest where hundred-strong baboon
troops lounge nonchalantly along the roadside, blue monkeys scamper
nimbly between the ancient mahogany trees, dainty bushbuck tread
warily through the shadows, and outsized forest hornbills honk
cacophonously in the high canopy.
Contrasting with the intimacy of the forest is the grassy floodplain
and its expansive views eastward, across the alkaline lake, to
the jagged blue volcanic peaks that rise from the endless Maasai
Steppes. Large buffalo, wildebeest and zebra herds congregate
on these grassy plains, as do giraffes – some so dark in
coloration that they appear to be black from a distance.
Inland of the floodplain, a narrow belt of acacia woodland is
the favoured haunt of Manyara’s legendary tree-climbing
lions and impressively tusked elephants. Squadrons of banded mongoose
dart between the acacias, while the diminutive Kirk’s dik-dik
forages in their shade. Pairs of klipspringer are often seen silhouetted
on the rocks above a field of searing hot springs that steams
and bubbles adjacent to the lakeshore in the far south of the
Manyara provides the perfect introduction to Tanzania’s
birdlife. More than 400 species have been recorded, and even a
first-time visitor to Africa might reasonably expect to observe
100 of these in one day. Highlights include thousands of pink-hued
flamingos on their perpetual migration, as well as other large
waterbirds such as pelicans, cormorants and storks.