The spectacular alkaline Lake Manyara forms the centre point of this small and very beautiful park with surprisingly diverse fauna and flora. A circuit drive through the park passes through forest, wetlands, grassy plains and acacia forests, offering views of different animals and multitudes of birds. Elephant, hippo, giraffe, tree-climbing lion and baboon are just a few of the game that call Manyara home.

Highlights
  • Tree-climbing lions, good elephant sightings and many baboons
  • Incredible birdlife with over 300 migratory bird species including flamingo and long-crested eagle
  • Lake Manyara is a beautiful, alkaline lake with the Rift Valley escarpment providing a spectacular backdrop
  • Round-trip drive that includes diverse habitats and animals
  • Night safaris
  • Guided walks, hiking, village trips, abseiling and mountain biking offered just outside the park

A small park, with the alkaline (pH over 9) Lake Manyara covering over 230 km² of its 330 km² surface during the wet season, Lake Manyara National Park offers visitors beautiful scenery and a compact, round-trip game-viewing circuit.

Towering above the park, the volcanic peaks of the Rift Valley Escarpment provide a spectacular backdrop to the park, with its floodplains, forested and lake areas. Ernest Hemingway declared it the loveliest park he'd been to in Africa and it's not hard to see why!

Inside Manyara National Park

Expect to see a multitude of baboons, plenty of elephants, blue monkeys, buffalo, giraffes, zebra, tiny dik-dik and the well-known tree-climbing lions. Be sure to look up to spot them lazing in the acacia trees.

Lake Manyara National Park Tree climbing lion Dmitrii Zhodzishskii I Unsplash

Don't miss the tree-climbing lions Lake Manyara is famous for

(Image: Dmitrii Zhodzishskii I Unsplash)

With a surprisingly diverse number of habitats in a small area, from forest and grassy floodplains to the lake itself and acacia woodland, the park provides a home to a wide range of animals and incredible birdlife. It's a birdwatcher's paradise, with a huge range of bird species, including pink-plumed flamingos and many raptors.

Staying in Manyara

Within the park, there is one luxury camp. With suites designed around the trees in a secluded, forested area of the park, this exclusive spot is the height of a luxurious safari. Just outside the park, there are a number of lodges and camps that range from basic to high-end luxury.

Getting there

By road - Lake Manyara National Park is about 150 km from Arusha (about a two- to three-hour drive).

By air - Arusha is served by two airports. Arusha Airport has daily flights from numerous local destinations and Kilimanjaro International Airport has daily flights from local, African and international airlines. 30-minute flights can be booked from Arusha to Manyara Airstrip.

Manyara Wildlife Safari Camp
Manyara Safari Wildlife Camp - Tanzania

Manyara Wildlife Safari Camp is perched on a hill overlooking the floodplain of Lake Manyara. Offering permanent tents and cottages that blend into the bush, its a quick drive to Lake Manyara National Park, with its diverse fauna and flora, prolific birdlife and a wide range of animals, including tree-climbing lions and abundant elephant herds.

Lake Manyara Tree Lodge
Lake Manyara Tree Lodge - Lake Manyara National Park -Tanzania

Live amongst the treetops, alive with monkeys and bush babies, in this secluded camp set in an emerald mahogany forest. The only accommodation within Lake Manyara National Park, Lake Manyara Tree Lodge offers luxuriously furnished suites built in the canopy of the trees. The park boasts incredible scenery, fabulous birdlife, tree-climbing lions, plenty of elephant and a huge baboon population.

Arusha National park
Arusha National Park Tanzania Giraffes Gather

Don't be fooled by the fact that Arusha National Park is small (552 km2). Within its borders, it has a diverse topography and wonderful wildlife. From the rugged peaks of Mount Meru to the marshy depths of the Ngurdoto Crater where warthog wallow, to monkey-filled montane forest and rolling grassy hills on which giraffe and zebra graze, there's plenty to see here.

Ngorongoro Crater
Feature Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania Mariola Grobelska

Ngorongoro is a Tanzanian must-see. The Ngorongoro Crater, a caldera or collapsed volcano, while only covering 260 km², includes a diverse range of habitats including montane forest, grasslands, acacia forests, a salt-lake and swamps. The diversity of the habitat provides refuge to an incredibly wide range of birds and animals, including the Big Five, in a concentrated area. Accommodation around the rim of the crater provides spectacular views and easy access to the crater.

Tarangire National Park
Feature Buffalo herd Tarangire National Park Ray Rui I Unsplash

Tarangire National Park is traversed by the Tarangire River which never dries up. Being the only source of water during the dry season from July to October, it draws hundreds of animals to the park, making for spectacular wildlife and bird spotting. The landscape is varied, with grassy savannahs, swamps, hills and spectacular baobabs.

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