Lake Manyara Na. Park

Described by Ernest Hemingway as the ‘loveliest I had seen in Africa’, Lake Manyara National Park is situated on the Western escarpment of the Rift Valley. Home to lesser flamingos, tree-climbing lions, and one of Africa’s highest concentrations of elephants, Lake Manyara National Park is one of Tanzania’s most popular safari destinations.

Lake Manyara, at a glance

Located in the Arusha Region of northern Tanzania, Lake Manyara is the centrepiece of the Lake Manyara National Park. Lake Manyara is a soda lake and its 230km² surface covers two thirds of the park’s total area.

Designated as a national park in 1960, Lake Manyara National Park is home to a diverse range of stunning landscapes, including marshland, dense acacia woodland, and steep rocky slopes.

Lake Manyara National Park is famous for housing vast flocks of flamingostree-climbing lions, and one of the highest concentrations of elephants in all of Tanzania.

Where does Lake Manyara fit into your Tanzanian adventure?

Lake Manyara is part of the northern circuit of national parks in Tanzania. A popular route is to start in Arusha and visit Lake Manyara before continuing to Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and finishing your adventure at Arusha. These attractions can be combined as part of a 5-6 day itinerary.

Although Lake Manyara National Park does not contain as much wildlife as its bigger sisters, the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, scientists believed that Lake Manyara contained one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa during the 1980s.

Your park entry fee (US$53.10 per adult, per day at time of writing) will support conservation work that aims to return the park to its former glory as one of Africa’s most biodiverse areas.

Accommodation at Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara Tree Lodge: Owned by &Beyond, this luxury lodge is nestled within an ancient mahogany forest. You can choose between 9 exclusive treehouse suites, and your private butler will ensure that you have a relaxing stay. The lodge has a refreshing outdoor pool and a spa which offers a range of massage treatments. This lodge is also one of the few lodges that offers night safaris within the park.

Chem Chem Safari Lodge: Situated on the eastern shores of Lake Manyara, this lodge is split across 3 locations. The main site is close to Lake Manyara National Park. The lodge offers 8 spacious, tent-style suites which are all at least 80m apart. Chem Chem is perfect for travellers who value their own space.Lake Manyara Ranch Conservancy: Located within a private conservancy just outside of Lake Manyara National Park, this campsite offers 8 spacious tents with 7-foot beds. Each tent has a wardrobe, a writing table, and wooden storage chests.

Lake Manyara Serena Lodge: This tranquil retreat is located just outside of Lake Manyara National Park. The lodge offers a range of exciting activities, including community lunches where you can learn more about Maasai culture,and daily game drives. You can choose between a comfortable standard room and the luxurious Losimingori Suite. Manyara Green Camp: Owned by Wayo Africa, this sustainable camp offers 8 square en-suite eco tents on raised platforms which are situated on the banks of the Endabash River. You can choose between communal dining in the spacious mess tent or private dining. Each tent has a comfortable bed and a decking area, and they are designed to minimise their environmental impact without compromising on comfort.

Getting to Lake Manyara

Most travellers visit Lake Manyara National Park from Tanzania’s safari capital, Arusha. By road, Lake Manyara is 126km from Arusha, and the drive to the northern gate takes 1.5-2 hours along a new tarmac road.

You can also fly to Lake Manyara Airport (LKY) from Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), and the journey takes around 40 minutes. Kilimanjaro International Airport is located around 46km from Arusha.

Choose between early morning, afternoon, and night safaris, and expect to see an abundance of wildlife. You can expect to see a range of large mammals, including tree-climbing lions, elephants, buffaloes, and warthogs. The park is also home to smaller mammals, including dik-diks and honey badgers.

You can take a tour of a Maasai boma or visit Mto wa Mbu, a small town which is adjacent to the park. Visiting this rural market town is a great way to immerse yourself in semi-rural Tanzanian life. Mto wa Mbu’s is a melting pot of local tribes, and you can try local banana beer, visit a brewery or a farm, and enjoy a traditional Tanzanian meal.

Cultural tourism can be a great way to discover a country, but it also has some ethical implications. Cultural tourism can have a great effect on rural communities and bring money into a region, but you should exercise caution. Some cultural tourism can perpetuate dangerous stereotypes and create a rift between travellers and the local community.

We recommend that you go with a guide as they can inform you about local customs and help you in difficult circumstances.

Home to over 400 bird species, Lake Manyara National Park is an excellent location for bird watching. You have a chance of seeing pelicans and flamingos on the lake, and egrets, yellow-billed storks, and marabou stalks on the floodplain.