Welcome to Lake Manyara National Park well known for the tree climbing lions, the soda ash lake that attracts thousands and pink flamingos, one of Tanzania’s biggest elephant population and breathtaking scenery!
Lying at the foot of the Great Rift Valley escarpment, Lake Manyara is a shallow alkaline lake, the north-west of which is protected by the Lake Manyara National Park. Much of the 330km² park is taken up by the lake but one of the many surprises in store for visitors is the remarkably wide diversity of terrestrial habitats – forest, wetland, floodplain, acacia woodland – which in turn supports an equally impressive variety of wildlife.
The first thing you’ll notice on a Lake Manyara safari is the birdlife: nearly 400 species have been recorded here and it’s an excellent and easily accessible introduction to the birds of East Africa. Feathered highlights include large flocks of flamingos and many birds of prey.
More surprises lie ahead for the visitor. Besides a supporting cast of buffalo, antelope, zebra and giraffe, Lake Manyara is home to a growing elephant population while the park’s lions have developed the intriguing habit of climbing trees. The ever-elusive leopard occurs in the park while boat cruises will take you in search of snorting hippo pods and basking crocodiles.
Lake Manyara National Park is considered as an all year round Tanzania safari destination however the dry season from June to October is considered the best time for game viewing. At the base of the River valley Escarpment is a small park, Lake Manyara National Park. Unlike the more Savanna dominated parks, its ground water forests give you superior change of the scenery. In the peak tourist season, the northern section of the park is very crowded especially in the mornings for most of the year that is to say in June to October; however in the months of March and April the park is experiencing rains which makes it the low tourist season.
Lake Manyara Weather
Lake Manyara National Park experiences two main seasons in a year and that is the dry season and wet season each of these coming with its unique rewards as highlighted below.
The park experiences the dry season during the months of June to October, and this is also referred to as the peak tourist season. The short dry season comes in January and February with large number of tourists flooding the park which results into more costly safari tours as the demand on accommodation is generally high. During that time of the year, the animals gather around the few remaining water sources and because the vegetation is thin they can easily be spotted.
This time of the year is also highly recommended to visit as there is a lot of sun with little rains and since mosquitoes are very few, there are slighter chances of contracting malaria. It tends to get cold in the mornings and you are therefore advised to bring warm clothes for the early morning game drives during this time of the year. The dry season is not a recommended time to visit especially for holiday makers wishing to travel yet on a low budget.
The wet season in Lake Manyara National Park is experienced from November to May. The coming of the rains bring life to park’s terrain, with the dried vegetation thriving again and a beautiful green scenery unveils yet again. Generally, the rates are lower since the place is usually less crowded during the low season in the months of April and May. Although the best views of wildlife are enjoyed during the dry season, Lake Manyara National Park still provides good viewing of the wildlife throughout the year. Many migratory birds are seen in the park during the wet season, hence making it the best time to see the Lake Manyara birds.
The short rains begin in November to December and at that time of the year it is generally hot with average temperatures of 35C / 95F presenting with short thunderstorms in the afternoons / evenings. This is proceeded with the long rains that begin in March. Due to the rains, most roads in the park may become very hard to traverse especially in the months of March, April and May when Lake Manyara np is experiencing the heaviest rains.
This is the best time to enjoy a Budget Tanzania Safari since there are fewer tourists visiting the park and most of the accommodation facilities are offering great discounts which lowers the overall cost of a safari in Lake Manyara National Park at this time of the year.
The best time for viewing large mammals in Lake Manyara National Park is in the dry season from June to October and January to February, and then bird watching can best be done during the wet season from November to December and from March to May.
Lake Manyara includes plenty of elephants, wildebeests along with so many giraffes, and buffaloes. In addition, the park is also very famous for its large number of zebras, impalas, warthogs and waterbucks. On the slopes of the escarpment, you may need to search a little hard for the tinny and renowned shy kirk’s dik dik and klipspringer.
The road circuit for game drives is limited and can be covered in about 3 to 4 hours where you can see the animals that are always on the move. On Average a Tanzania safari cost about $200 per day if you are using road. A luxury safari involving flights translated into high prices. It is therefore worth to revisit. Most safari companies organize for afternoon visits but taking a morning one is far much better as there are fewer other vehicles yet with more wildlife activity.
Among the lions living in Lake Manyara is a healthy population of the unique tree climbing lions whose unique tree climbing character can only be found in just two populations across the world the other being in Ishasha Area in Queen Elizabeth National Park – Uganda. A very large number of tourists and photographers visit the park to see these exceptional animals.
This national park is home to a very large number of elephants which can easily be seen within the evergreen forests as well as the acacia woodlands. the high amount of ground water as well as the verdant vegetation provide adequate ground to feed these forest giants.
Besides the traditional way of viewing wildlife in Lake Manyara National Park, the tree-top canopy walk offers you an opportunity to see other wildlife in yet a unique way. Walking at tree-top height you will be able to see some primates and various birds within the forest.
The heart of Masaai Country houses Manyara National Park. Here is where you can visit the unforgettable appealing red-robbed pastoralists who are populous in a boma. Outside the park, undertaken can be mountain bike tours, and escarpment forest walks. When water levels are suitable, canoe safaris are also offered.