On safari in Lake Manyara National Park
Couched between the impressive Rift Valley escarpment and the sparkling waters of the lake, Lake Manyara National Park is a lush little wedge of paradise. Baboons, elephants, zebra, hippos, flamingos, giraffe, monkeys, many types of antelope and the elusive tree lions make for an exciting safari. Lake Manyara National Park is a true paradise for bird lovers!
Game drives in Lake Manyara National Park
In the early morning or late afternoon: magnificent game drives through the park and along the banks of the lake. The variety of wildlife in this relatively small area makes a deep impression on visitors and makes it possible to do experience some very different game drives in this park. This variety is due largely to the variety of habitats in the area. Acacia forest, swampland, grassland, the shoreline, and the lake itself offer a livelihood for many different types of mammals, reptiles and birds.
You can sit under the rich green forest canopy and watch the antics of the baboons or venture into the open air to observe giraffe, antelope and zebra grazing against the stunning blue backdrop of the lake. The animals can generally be found in close proximity to the roads and are easily observed and photographed at an extremely close range.
Just after the gate, you can find a wonderful green forest (which feels like being in a rainforest!), the home of large groups of baboons. We also visit the “Hippo Pool”, where hippos spend their day lying in the water. Here you can enjoy listening to the nice grumbling sounds of those amazing animals.
The best chance to see a lion in a tree is in general late afternoon.
The best time to visit Lake Manyara: June – October. Good time to visit Lake Manyara: November – Februari.
Park Admission Fees and all Game Drivers are included. The activities below are optional and could be arranged for an additional charge.
Night Game-drive in Lake Manyara
Lake Manyara National Park is the only park where you can experience a night game drive which gives you a totally different perspective of the park and wildlife.
- Start around 20:00. You head into the thick ground-water forest of Lake Manyara, from where you head down towards the lake following the Simba River to the hippo pools. You will return back to the forest and finally be back around 22:30.
- Porcupines, genets and civet cats are frequent visitors to the forest.
- Hippos are nocturnal animals (active by night) and it is highly likely to see many of these beasts grazing on the side of the road.
- Although it is not a common occurrence Leopards are spotted on a regular basis.
- Lions are mostly sleeping in the daytime but at night they are almost always active.
Walking safari in Lake Manyara National Park
It’s possible to do a light walking safari along the shores of the lake, guided by an experienced ranger. The walk takes about 3 hours and ends at the Hot Springs.
Tip: make this walk in the early morning, when the park is still quiet and a lot of animals come to the lake to drink water before searching for a place in the shadow to rest during the day.
Birding safari in Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara provides the perfect introduction to Tanzania’s birdlife. More than 400 species have been recorded. Even a first-time visitor to Africa can reasonably expect to observe 100 of these in one day. A big array of water-associated birds including pink-backed pelicans, herons and storks, sacred and glossy ibis, and black egret are easily seen around the hippo pool. When the water level is right, the lake is also home to thousands of pink-hued flamingo, but it isn’t usually possible to see the big flocks due to limited roads near the water’s edge. More than 50 birds-of-prey have been recorded including the crowned eagle and African hawk-eagle. Migratory birds are present from November to April.
Best time for bird watching in Lake Manyara National Park: Although it is good throughout the year, the best bird watching in Manyara is from November to April, when you can spot the migratory birds from Europe and northern Africa. This is also the time many birds can be seen in their breeding plumage.
Lake Manyara Tree Top Walkway
Manyara Treetop Walkway takes you on an adventure through the beautiful forest of Lake Manyara. Walk among the treetops, the experience untouched nature and wildlife from a unique perspective. This 400m canopy walk starts with a short board-walk that gradually rises from ground level up through the canopy of the forest. You walk over a series of suspension bridges with thick netting on the sides and reach a height of 18m off the ground. It offers a unique birds-eye view of the world around you. Enjoy life in the canopy amongst butterflies, monkeys and birds. The average time it takes to enjoy the Treetop Canopy Walkway is approximately 30 minutes to an hour from the time you entered the ground, allow yourself ample time to relax and enjoy the views. All children must be 6 or older and accompanied by an adult. Please click here for more information about the Lake Manyara Tree Top Experience.
Mountainbike excursion in the buffer zones of the park
You can book a 2-hour tour through the area of Mto wa Mbu, a village at the border of the park. Guided by a local guide you will visit a local market, farms, a church and pub. The tour includes a lunch at a local restaurant. The 3-hour tour has the same program but also leads you to the shores of the lake where you can enjoy beautiful views of the lake en de Rift Valley. The sandy roads are more or less flat.