Lake Manyara National Park – The Facts You Never Knew

Ranging from diverse habitats to wilderness experience and dense woodlands, this national park nestled in Tanzania is a perfect place to stop and enjoy nature. Lake Manyara National Park has steep mountains and mesmerizing setting that will capture your heart.

The park is known for the tree-climbing lions and elephant herds, and what’s most surprising is that park was established to protect this unique wildlife.

Honestly, we would be surprised if you didn’t like to have a safari in this fascinating park, and did we mention, it has a ground-water forest that you won’t find anywhere else in the world?

So, if you are already astonished by the beauty this park has to offer, we are sharing more about Lake Manyara National Park that you never knew before!

What Is Lake Manyara National Park?

This is a protected area in the Manyara and Arusha regions that is nestled in the Great Rift Valley and Lake Manyara of Tanzania. The park is administered and monitored by the Tanzania National Parks Authority and is spanning over 325 km2, including 230 km2 of lake surface and there are over 350 species of birds living around the lake.

Ever since the 1920s, this national park has been a place for sports hunting and a game reserve was designed in 1957. In 1960, it achieved the status of a National Park while 1400 acres of land was added to the southern end in 1974.

The land area of this park is basically a narrow path that runs between Lake Manyar, Gregory Rift, and the alkaline lake.

The shores of the lake are always crowded with pink flamingos that look so serene. The safari delivers a very fascinating experience and hot springs, known as Maji Moto is a perfect place.

Lake Manyara National Park gets two rainy seasons – the long rains from March to May and short rains from November to December.

It’s located 126km in the southwest part of Arusha and has become an important part of the biosphere reserve. Honestly, this is a fascinating corridor with amazing wildlife.

Click on the picture below to see where this park is located on Google maps:

The Lake Manyara National Park Wildlife.

Ranging from large herds of buffaloes to tree-climbing lions, there is amazing wildlife in this national park. Lake Manyara National Park is actually popular for flamingos that feed around the lake during the wet seasons and did we mention over 400 species of birds in the park? Even more, it has become a popular breeding site for pink-backed pelicans and yellow-billed stork. In addition, there is more wildlife including;


Lake Manyara National Park boasts a huge population of migratory mammals, including;

  • Wildebeest
  • Zebra
  • Grant’s gazelle
  • Thomson’s gazelle
  • Bushbuck
  • Waterbuck
  • Impala
  • Giraffe
  • Cape buffalo
  • Baboon
  • Warthog
  • Elephants
  • Hippopotamus

Predator Animals

  • Spotted hyena
  • African wild cat
  • Lion
  • Leopard
  • Black-backed jackal
  • Honeybadger
  • Serval
  • Bat-eared fox
  • African civet
  • African golden cat
  • Cheetah


It has become the locality for endangered fish species and some of them fly in saline lakes. The best part is that exploitation of fish is prohibited in the national park and the protected park area also offers seed stock to ensure the fish population is well-fed.


Lake Manyara National Park has over 180 butterfly species that have been documented in this park.

How Far Is It To Travel To Lake Manyare?

Lake Manyara National Park can be accessed through northern as well as southern gates but the northern side is commonly used. It is at a distance of 126km from Arusha, making it a 90-minutes drive. As far as traveling is concerned, it can be reached by air or by road;

By Air

If you prefer flying, you can get here through Kilimanjaro International Airport, which is around 46km from Arusha. With a domestic flight, you can simply fly to the Arusha Airport from DAR.

In addition, the international flight from the Julius Nyerere International Airport is also possible but you will need to take a connecting flight from ARK or JRO. Even more, there is a charter flight to Lake Manyara Airport that connects from Arusha or Serengeti.

While the tour operator can book charter flights, you have to get in contact with domestic air carriers for domestic flights.

By Road

Lake Manyara National Park has a distance of 126km from Arusha and can be accessed by car. Usually, people opt to drive from Bahati and will drop you at the northern circuit and will take up to two hours. As far as public transport is concerned, you can take a bus to the Mto Wa Mbu village and rent a vehicle to get you to the part.

The Best Times To Visit

This is an all-year-round destination, but if you are fond of game viewing, visiting during June and October is the best time. The groundwater forests actually create amazing scenery.

On the other hand, if you don’t like the crowd and can manage through rain, take a flight during March and April. In fact, during the rainy season, there are incredible discounts available on hotel rooms and restaurants.

Some More Highlights Of Lake Manyara National Park

As it’s time to go off the beaten path and experience nature like never before, the following are some common highlights of the Lake Manyara National Park that you must visit;

Tourists Canoeing at Lake Manyara.
  • Walk through the treetops at the Treetop Walkway which offers the bird’s eye view of the forest and has a series of suspension bridges with the most secure netting.
  • Watch some pretty pink flamingos at the edge of the lake, along with some sparrow lark and crowned crane.
  • Enjoy the night and day game drives with the diverse ecosystem that shines throughout the time
  • Go canoeing at Lake Manyara and enjoy the aquatic species while relaxing
  • Go on a road trip to the nearby villages where Maasai people have built their circular huts from straws and mud, known as Bombas

Have a closer look at this Youtube video from a lady who takes you on a trip to Lake Manyara National Park to go see the tree-climbing lions!

What Do Other People Say About Lake Manyara National Park?

Having coined a 4.5-star rating on Trip Advisor, it’s clear that the Lake Manyara National Park is a must-visit place if you head to Tanzania this vacay season. Having said that, the following are some experiences people have had at this national park;

  • July 2021, from ClaireBintheWorld from Houston, says, “it’s so challenging for me to find the right words to appreciate the beauty lies and is a magical place. I went with my kids and we couldn’t stop looking at the extensive wildlife”
  • August 2021, from Pawel C from Wroclaw, says, “I went to the national park with my 19-year-old daughter with a perfect guide and saw lions twice and four huge rhinos”

The Final Verdict

Lake Manyara National Park has everything you want to enjoy the nature, ranging from scenic views to diverse wildlife to ensure you have a promising experience.

There are some top-notch hotels around for you to rest after a day of roaming in the park. So, if you just want any clarifications, let’s talk in the comments!

Happy travels!

Kind regards,


2 thoughts on “Lake Manyara National Park – The Facts You Never Knew”

  1. This would be an incredible place to go. It has the two animals on my Wishlist to see, Giraffes and Elephants. Have you ever seen an elephant? I wonder if they are as nice as they are in YouTube videos. We, humans, are like pet dogs to those giraffes and elephants lol. Do you have any recommendations on how to book hotels to visit this park? 

    • Hi David!

      Oh yes, elephants are quite remarkable, as you can see in my blog post on them 🙂 

      About your question on hotels: please bookmark my website, because I will write about lodges, campsites, and hotels soon!

      Happy travels,



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