This park is often passed by in a rush towards the Serengeti, but although small, (325sq km), this is one of the prettiest and most interesting game-rich parks in Tanzania. It boasts a higher diversity of plant and animal species than the far larger Serengeti National Park. At Lake Manyara, the Great Rift Valley is at its most impressive, with the escarpment dropping some 500m down to the flamingo-rimmed lakeshore.
As in Tarangire, the local lions often take to the trees - so remember to look up - and there also plenty of leopards as well as wonderful bird life. Amongst them paddle waterbirds such as flamingos, pelicans, cormorants and herons in the shallow soda waters of Lake Manyara. Further out hippos grunt and puff their way through the heat of the day.
In the heart of a mahogany forest is the only luxurious Tree Lodge offering exclusivity, elegance and sophistication. Lake Manyara Tree Lodge is tucked away with game-rich surroundings and guests are treated with mouthwatering Pan-African cuisine at all times.Although it is one of Tanzania’s smaller wildlife enclaves, Lake Manyara National Park is a spectacular reserve that boasts an incredible diversity of terrain, as well as plant and animal species. Established specifically to protect the elephant herds that have made this area world renowned, the park provides an excellent and varied wildlife experience. An incredible array of habitats, as well as a wealth of biodiversity, is crammed into a relatively small area in Lake Manyara National Park.
Apart from the elephants, as well as the thousands of flamingos that inhabit the lake shore. Large herds of buffalo, cheetah, Maasai giraffe, hippo and impala can be encountered. The lake supports an incredible diversity of birds, particularly water fowl and migrants.
Lake Manyara is generally warm to hot throughout the year, with temperatures rising to above 35°C / 95°F during the warmest months (September, October and January). The rainfall is seasonal, with two dry periods and two rainy periods during the year. Short, late-afternoon or evening thunderstorms occur in November and December, as well as from March to May. The dry periods last from June to October, as well as during January and February.
From the east, the Rift Valley wall rises several hundred metres to form an impressive backdrop to the lake. From the west, if one is perched at the top of the escarpment, the park lies far below, with a long green strip of water that glistens in the sunlight. The vegetation around the lake’s shores is surprisingly varied and comprises mostly forest, acacia woodland and open grassland. The park covers an area of 330 sq km of which about 230 sq km is the lake itself. You will always find hippo in the Simba River, elephant in the forests and a resident herd of Cape buffalo on the open plains at Mahali Pa Nyati, which means, ‘the place of the buffalo’ in Swahili. In addition, there are approximately 400 species of birds, good leopard sightings and the occasional tree-climbing lion. Canoeing safaris are a great option and only run when the lake is high.
Nearly two thirds of Lake Manyara National Park’s 33 000 hectares is taken up by the waters of Lake Manyara, but the remaining third contains an amazing range of habitats. Grassy plains ring the lake, which then give way to dense acacia woodlands and finally to the rocky base of what is the Tanzanian escarpment. The Rift Valley escarpment forms a noteworthy landmark and provides a spectacular backdrop to Lake Manyara. At the entrance gates, you will find dense jungle-like groundwater forests.
In the forests, huge monkey troops can be seen, as well as shyer forest antelope species such as bushbuck and klipspringer. Nearly 400 species of birds have been identified in the park and the lake itself is particularly well-known for its waterfowl and migrant birdlife. Highlights include thousands of pink-hued flamingos on their perpetual migration, as well as other large waterbirds such as pelicans, cormorants and storks. Each of these distinct habitats provides a variety of game viewing options.