Located at the base of the Rift Valley escarpment, Lake Manyara National Park is a small park with a groundwater forest that offers something different from other parks that are dominated by savannahs. The park is well-known for tree-climbing lions. However, these big cats are not seen that often. The main attraction at the Lake Manyara National Park is the elephants.
This shallow lake is nestled at the base of the Western Rift Valley escarpment. There are different habitats in the park and all of them are scenic. After you’ve reached the park entrance, you will continue your journey through the amazing groundwater forest. Some of the other habitats here in Lake Manyara National Parl include acacia woodland, grassy floodplain, and rocky escarpment. All of the mentioned habitats can be covered in one day.
The park is well-known for being home to plenty of wildlife including the main attractions like tucked elephants and tree-climbing lions. Grassy plains of the park attract large buffalos, zebra herds, and wildebeests. The best place to see these animals is the hippo pool. Travelers will have a chance to see large flocks of flamingos, as well as a variety of water birds.
At the entrance of the park, there is a forest patch that houses troops of olive baboons and blue monkeys. Bushbuck can be also spotted here on rare occasions and pairs of klipspringer are visible on the rocks at the southern part of the park.
Best Time to Visit
Wildlife viewing in Lake Manyara National Park is good throughout the year. However, the best time for watching wildlife is during the Dry season from June to October. The Wet season which lasts from November to May also has its advantages. The waterfalls cascade down the escarpment and the vegetation is lush during this time of year.
June to October –Dry Season
- Animals are easier to spot in the thinner vegetation where they gather around water sources
- There is little rain and plenty of sunshine.
- There are fewer mosquitos and less chance of getting malaria.
- Pack warm clothing for game drives in June and August, as it gets quite cold in the mornings.
November to May –Wet Season
- The scenery is quite lush and green.
- There are fewer visitors in April and May since it’s the low season. The rates are also lower.
- Although the best time for wildlife viewing is the Dry Season, Lake Manyara NP offers good wildlife viewing conditions all year long.
- There are migratory birds and this is the best time for bird-watching.
- Some roads become impassable because of the heavy rain.
- The peak of the Wet season is from March to May.
Lake Manyara NP is a part of the northern safari circuit. A number of safaris to this circuit start from Arusha. The easiest way to reach it is to fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), which is located 46km from Arusha. You can also fly to Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam and then take another flight to Arusha Airport (ARK) or Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) via domestic flights.
You can also book a cheap flight to Nairobi in Kenya and then take a shuttle bus to Arusha. Your tour operator is usually in charge of picking you up from the airport in Tanzania. Travelers can also get to Manyara’s airstrip via flights from Serengeti and Arusha. However, the trip from Arusha only takes 90 minutes by car. Most visitors do the circuit in a safari vehicle, especially as the park is on the way to some other parks of the northern circuit including Serengeti and Ngorongoro.
The driving time from Ngorongoro Crater and from Tarangire Np is in both cases about two hours.
Airlines & Ticket Prices
Travelers can check Skyscanner for airlines and ticket prices. You can also check Expedia for multiple destinations flights and to find out which airlines fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) or Arusha Airport (ARK).
Flights between parks are usually booked by the tour operator as part of the safari package. Domestic flights can be booked via local carries.
In most cases, flights between parks are booked by your tour operator as part of your safari package. Domestic flights can be booked with a local carrier:
- Coastal Aviation flies to Manyara
- Safari Air Link flies to Manyara
- Auric Air flies to Manyara
- Air Tanzania flies to Arusha and Kilimanjaro Airport
- Precision Air flies to Arusha and Kilimanjaro Airport
- Regional Air flies to Manyara, Arusha and Kilimanjaro Airport
- ZanAir flies to Arusha
- Fastjet flies to Kilimanjaro Airport