By managing to squeeze a majority of Tanzania’s diverse habitats, animals and birdlife into just one, and by most standards, small national park (33,000 hectares) Lake Manyara is a very popular park, made even more so for its tree-climbing lions, thriving herds of giraffe and broad range of bird species.
Set between Arusha and the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara National Park runs along the Rift Valley escarpment and where two-thirds of its hectarage lies under the waters of its alkaline lake. Spot baboons, blue monkeys and bushbuck in its evergreen forests, buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe and zebra on its flood plains, whereas its acacia woodland is popular amongst its leopards and those tree-climbing lions.
One of the main draws to the park is its variation of birdlife. Thanks to its watery terrain there are healthy populations of large waterbirds such as flamingo, cormorant, pelican, stork, stilt and much more to discover.
When to go
Watching wildlife in Lake Manyara National Park is good all year, but at its best from late June to October, during the Dry season. However, this very scenic park is at its most beautiful during the Wet season, from November to May, when the vegetation is lush and waterfalls cascade down the escarpment and increased birdlife activity.
Access to 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 side 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
What to do
Game drive with open 4×4 safari vehicles, which are a great way of seeing easy game viewing and photograph to explore different section of vast park. The destinations are quite varied normally directed towards the game viewing hot spots . Game drives are reliably rewarding , especially towards the end of the dry season , when large mammals concentrate around the five lakes; The Rivers and Lakes of the Selous are the life-blood to the wildlife in the game reserve.
Guided Bush walks:
Take in the fresh scents of the grass and Miombo woodlands, perhaps see an elusive Leopard lounging in a tree by the beautiful riverine forest.You will be led by a friendly guide who has extensive knowledge and experience of life in the bush. They will show you how to read the clues in the bush - a steaming pile of dung indicates an Elephant passed through not long ago. Walk in the huge wrinkled foot prints for a while.Listen out for the chirps and trills of birds and the guide will help you identify them. Listen and you may hear alarm calls indicating the presence of a predator nearby. Lion and Wild Dog are rarely encountered on walks, but Elephants and Buffalo are frequently seen.
Guided Bird Walks:
Your guide will be happy to tailor a guided bird walk to suit both your interest and your schedule. More than 400 species of birds have been recorded in the Selous (350 of which are waterfowl), particularly along the banks of the Rufiji River.
The magnificent Rufiji River bisects the park in the north as it makes its way to the Indian Ocean. It provides a number of beautiful waterways along which boat safaris are offered, giving wonderful encounters with a huge variety of game coming down to drink on the banks of the river, beside the hundreds of hippos and crocs!
Catfish and tiger fish are prolific in the river. Considered by many fishermen to be the finest fresh water fighting fish, the tiger fish’s Latin name, Hydrocyon, means ‘water dog’ and aptly describes this voracious predator, which is armed with ferocious blade like teeth. If you’d like to try fishing, your dedicated guide will provide rods, boat and choice of sites.
Hot Springs Visit and Swim:
Within a short drive from Selous Serena Camp lie the Maji Moto hot springs, this can be easily reached via a short walk into a hidden ravine surrounded by lush vegetation. Here hot sulphurous water pours from the rock and forms little streams, which gather into a series of picturesque pools cool enough to swim in.