Lake Manyara

Lake Manyara, Tanzania

Lake Manyara National Park is one of Tanzania’s most dramatically located African wildlife animals areas, consisting of a shallow soda lake at the foot of the Great Rift Valley’s western escarpment. The lake itself takes up much of the park, leaving a strip of land running along its shores where game concentrates.

This varied habitat attracts a wide variety of wildlife animals, including one of Africa’s largest concentrations of elephants, and the algae growing in the lake, attract large flocks of flamingos.


The first thing you'll notice on a Lake Manyara safari is the birdlife: nearly 400 species have been recorded here and it's an excellent and easily accessible introduction to the birds of East Africa. Feathered highlights include large flocks of flamingos and many birds of prey.

The park's main attraction are Lake Manyara's famous tree climbing lions - why these lions habitually climb trees is still up for debate, but viewing a pride relaxing in an acacia tree is a remarkable sight!  

Besides a supporting cast of buffalo, antelope, zebra and giraffe, Lake Manyara is home to a growing elephant population while the park's lions have developed the intriguing habit of climbing trees. The ever-elusive leopard occurs in the park while boat cruises will take you in search of snorting hippo pods and basking crocodiles.

Best time to visit

The best game viewing months for a Lake Manyara safari are from June to September although it is a destination that is on most Tanzania safari itineraries all year round.

Best time to go: June to September (Easier to spot animals)
High Season: Most of the year - July to March (The northern section of the park gets crowded in the mornings)
Low Season: April and May
Best Weather: June to October (Few rains)
Worst Weather: March and April (Peak of wet season)

Getting There

Most safaris to this circuit (Manyara NP in particular) start from the town of Arusha. The best option to get there is to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), which is situated about 46km/29mi from Arusha. It is also possible to fly into Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam and fly on to Arusha Airport (ARK) using a domestic flight.