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 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 the Lake Manyara National Park. Lake Manyara National Park is very easy to access: it’s about 90 minutes’ drive from Arusha and barely an hour from the Ngorongoro Crater. Because of this, some of the northern sides of the park can get very busy, especially in the afternoons.
To see the park at its best, we recommend that you either stay within the park or spend two nights somewhere close, entering the park early for a full-day safari. Safari to Lake Manyara National Park Many people will often visit Lake Manyara National Park en route to or from the Crater, as part of a short half day safari. Often, they won’t even spend the night in the area but will rush on, so as to include as many areas, in as short a space of time as possible.
Though this can save on money, we feel it restricts the time and therefore only allows for visits to the busy northern quarter of the park. This can result in a rushed experienced Lake Manyara that can sometimes result in disappointment. Instead, we would recommend the following two options for visiting Lake Manyara National Park. The first is to stay within the park itself, either in a permanent camp or a more mobile one. This tends to be the more expensive choice, but it is certainly the best way to explore the park. It enables you to be on safari before most others, and explore deeper into the park which day visitors won’t have the time to do. Without any doubt, staying inside the park is the best wildlife experience.
Secondly, you can opt to stay somewhere outside, but near to the park gate. From here you can enter the park early and enjoy the whole day exploring. There are some economical accommodation options outside the park, some of which are dotted along the top of the Rift Valley Escarpment with great views down across the park.
Entrances to the National Park
There are two main entrances to Lake Manyara National Park, a gate in the north and in the south. Almost everybody uses the northern gate since the majority of accommodation options are situated here and as a result, the northern part of the park is by far the busier one. The gate in the far south is not commonly used and also has restricted access. Only a few camps and lodges can use this entrance. Please contact us for more information on camps that can enter via this quiet gate.
Flora & Fauna of Lake Manyara
Covering about 330km2, of which typically two-thirds is underwater, Lake Manyara NationalPark is a small park by African standards. However, it’s also very beautiful and contains tremendous diversity of habitats, animals and especially birds. Animals Lake Manyara’s game includes a good number of elephants, buffalo, and wildebeest along with plenty of giraffes. Also prolific in number are Zebra, Waterbuck, Warthog, and Impala. You may need to search a little harder for the small and relatively shy Kirk’s dik-dik, and Klipspringer on the slopes of the escarpment.
The broken forest and escarpment make it a good country for the leopard, whilst Manyara’s healthy lion population are famous for their tree climbing antics. (whilst unusual, this isn’t as unique to the park as often claimed). Immediately obvious to most visitors are the huge troops of baboons – which often number several hundred and are widely regarded as Africa’s largest.