Located in Tanzania’s northern tourism circuit, lake Manyara is a lovely scenic gem, a lush green paradise enjoying spectacular settings against the a back-drop of 600 m high rift-valley escarpments. Though receiving less than 800ml of rainfall much of the park is covered by the ever green ground water forest. The ground water forest resembles a rain forest with tall large trees, lianas, struggling fig trees and canopy. The ground ever green forest is home to a variety of wildlife. Primates thriving in the forest include the blue monkeys, baboons and vervet monkey. Forest birds like the silvery-cheecked horn-bills abound. Also found here are the guinea fowls.
Lake Manyara is also a perfect bird watcher’s paradise with 400 species of birds recorded. The star of this afivauna are the large flocks of pink feathered flamingos on the lake shores. The availability of geothermal heated hot-springs makes it possible for the green algae, spiralina (food of flamingos) to thrive. Other wanders (water birds) to be found on the lake shores are pelicans, storks, jacanas, egrets, plovers, ducks and geese. Elephants and other mammals do visit the forest too.
Found in lake Manyara are the tree climbing lions. Tree climbing lions are also to be found in Ngorongoro, Tarangire and Serengeti Parks. In Uganda, will find them in Isasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National park. They climb up the trees to avoid the often painful bite of the tsetse flies.
Other big mammals in the park include buffaloes, zebra, giraffe, impala, waterbucks, klipspringer ( on the cliffs), leopards, warthogs, mongoose.
Another attraction in Lake Manyara is the Mto wa Mbu, a multi-ethnic with lively colourful markets and thriving cultural tourism programmes. The central market is quite impressive with all the local produce including the Masai beads and shukas. The cultural tourism programe includes visits to shambas (Farms). This visits the local farms where you will witness and even participate in making of banana beer (mbege). Other excursions from Mto wa Mbu includes hikes to Lake Miwaleni, Balaa Hill or Njoro hotsprings. Canoeing is also available on the west side of the lake when the water is high.
If you happen to be around on 22 of any month, visit the mnada, the animal auction market which attracts buyers from all over the country.
Activities in Lake Manyara National Park
Besides bird watching and game drives one can enjoy canoeing, mountain biking, micro lifting, night game drives, bush dinners, forest walks, birding. Outside the park one can enjoy the local cultural tourism programs.
Getting To Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara is approximately 120 Km from Arusha. Give it a 2 hours drive. The park is best visited from June to September. A 4×4 car is recommended.
Accommodation in Lake Manyara
Most of accommodation facilities are outside the park within Mto wa Mbu and the surrounding area. Inside the park accommodation is limited to campsites.
Lodge and Luxury Accommodation
High class accommodation is available at the following lodges and tented camps. Expect to pay about USD 210 per person per night on full board.
Lake Manyara Serena Lodge
Lake Manyara Tree Lodge
Kirurumu Tented Lodge
Lake Manyara Hotel
Migunga Forest Camp