The 330 km² Lake Manyara National Park is situated in northern Tanzania. Small but extremely scenic, the Park is about 125 km west of Arusha – about a 2.5 hour drive away.
During the wet seasons (November/December and March to May), the lake itself can cover up to 60% of the Park’s total area – a vast 231 km². During these months, the lake’s high alkaline waters attract a variety of migratory waterbirds, including huge flocks of pink flamingos as well as pelicans, storks and cormorants. During the dry seasons, however, the lake can dry up considerably.
The Park is renowned for its excellent bird-watching opportunities in general, as more than 400 different bird species have been recorded. Other wildlife includes elephant, buffalo, cheetah, hippo, Masai giraffe, wildebeest, impala, zebra, warthogs, large troops of baboons, and the legendary but rarely seen tree-climbing lions – yes, they really do climb trees!
As well as the lake, there are waterfalls, jungle-like groundwater forests, acacia trees, huge baobab trees, grasslands and swamps, all which make for a very pretty backdrop for your game and bird watching.
The Lake Manyara Boardwalk trail meanders 300m through to the lake, and gives visitors a unique view and wonderful photo opportunities along the route. Educational signage at key points further enhances the experience!
For the braver tourist, check out Tanzania’s only Treetop Walkway too, giving you a birds-eye view of the area. The walkway is suspended high in the forested treeline – at some points up to 18m above the ground – so don’t do this if you are scared of heights! But if you want to get eye-to-eye with monkeys and horn-bills, then this is a worthwhile addition to your time in the Park. The walkway is about 370m long, so it will take between 30-60 minutes to complete the full walk, depending on what you see along the way with your guide. Pre-booking is required.
You can comfortably visit the Park en-route to or from your safari in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. The driving trail loops in a horseshoe shape around the Park, and can easily be covered in a few hours.
There are a handful of lodges in the area which offer a fully-inclusive safari experience, including all meals and guided game drives.