Lake Manyara national park is characterized by acacia woodlands, savannah grasslands, a forested area, flood plains and also the rocky escarpment of the rift valley.
Tree climbing lions can also be seen during safaris in Lake Manyara national park and they are among the unique attractions at the destination. These tree-climbing lions can also be seen in the ishasha sector in Queen Elizabeth national park in south western Uganda.
Lake Manyara national park is known for having large herds of elephants which can be seen as tourists explore the destination. The national park was established to protect the elephants from danger and threats such as poaching.
Although it is smaller in size compared to other wildlife viewing destinations in the northern part of Tanzania such as Serengeti national park, Tarangire national park, and Ngorongoro conservation area, Lake Manyara national park offers amazing wildlife viewing experiences.
Tourists can access Lake Manyara national park through different access gates located in the northern and southern parts of the national park. The northern gate is commonly used by tourists visiting the destination.
An evergreen forest can be seen as tourists enter the national park through the northern gate and then they continue to drive into the open savannah plains where different wildlife species roam and graze. The tree species which can be seen in Lake Manyara national park include acacia trees, baobab trees, doum trees as well as umbrella trees.
The strategic location of Lake Manyara national park close to Arusha and other wildlife viewing destinations makes it convenient and easy to explore other wildlife viewing destinations and to see a variety of attractions.
To access Lake Manyara national park, tourists are required to pay entrance fees which vary according to nonresidents, residents and East Africans. Children and adults are also charged different entrance fees.
Nonresidents visiting Lake Manyara national park are required to pay 53 USD. Tourists are also required to show proof of identification at the entrance gates before being allowed to drive into the national park.
How to access Lake Manyara national park;
Owing to the fact that wildlife viewing takes place all year round in the national park, a number of tourists visit Lake Manyara national park which can be accessed by different means of transport such as by air or flight as well as road transport means as seen below;
By flight or air, Lake Manyara national park can be accessed through charter and domestic flights available to the airstrip in the national park.
By road, tourists can be driven from Arusha to Mto wa mbu town and then proceed to the entrance of the national park. The drive is about two hours to reach the national park from Arusha which makes it convenient for a safari in Tanzania.
Attractions in Lake Manyara national park
Attractions can also be described as the different factors which entice the tourists to visit a destination. These attractions which can be seen during safaris to Lake Manyara national park include the following;
Lake Manyara is a major attraction in the national park and is known for having a variety of bird species along its shores especially flamingos as well as other different wildlife species in the nearby savannah plains.
The water levels of Lake Manyara are known to fluctuate over time depending on different factors such as the dry season during which the water evaporates. The saline nature of the lake also contributes to the increase and decrease of the water in the lake.
A variety of wildlife species can be seen in Lake Manyara national park and these include the rare tree climbing lions, herds of elephants, klipspringers, warthogs, impalas, buffalos, hippos, gazelles, lions, leopards among others.
The dry season during the months of June to October are favorable for wildlife viewing in Lake Manyara national park since the wildlife species gather around water points to drink water and the grass is shorter making it easier to see the wildlife species.
The diverse landscape of Lake Manyara national park also acts as habitat for the different wildlife species in the national park.
Different bird species can also be seen in Lake Manyara national park and these include both migrant and native bird species such as flamingos, ostriches, storks, hornbills, pelicans, herons, grey crowned cranes, secretary birds among others.
The different bird watching spots around the national park include Lake Manyara and the forests. Around the floodplains, tourists can also see bird species.
Majimoto hot springs which can be seen along the western shores of Lake Manyara are also among the attractions in the national park. The name of the hot springs translates to mean hot water which is a description of the hot springs.
Activities in Lake Manyara national park
Many tourists who visit wildlife viewing destinations such as lake Manyara national park also engage in different activities during their safaris which are organized at different times of day. There activities that tourists visiting national park can engage in and include the following;
Wildlife viewing experiences in Lake Manyara national park also include game drives which take place in the morning, in the afternoon, in the night and tourists can also enjoy exploring the natural habitat of the wildlife species on a full day game drive.
A recommended game drive is the one which takes place in the morning hours of a day and this is because the wildlife species such as tree climbing lions, elephants, gazelles, antelopes, klipspringers, buffalos, giraffes, zebras, warthogs among others are active as they can easily be seen grazing around the savannah plains.
During afternoon game drives, tourists can enjoy driving around the savannah plains in search of the various wildlife species like elephants, tree climbing lions, antelopes, buffalos, gazelles, impalas, zebras among others which take shelter from the afternoon heat which makes them a little difficult to see compared to morning wildlife viewing experiences in lake Manyara national park.
A unique form of game drive which takes place in Lake Manyara national park is the night game drive. This activity takes place in a few other wildlife viewing destinations around Tanzania and it involves exploring the national park in search of nocturnal wildlife species. Tourists are accompanied by ranger guides during this activity since predators hide around in the wilderness of the national park as they hunt for their prey.
Tourists can also explore the wilderness of Lake Manyara national park on foot as they engage in nature walking excursions at the destination. This activity gives a close encounter with the natural surroundings at the destination.
Different trails are followed during nature walks in the national park and they include the treetop walkway as well as the majimoto trail. The treetop walkway involves moving across a bridge into the forest where tourists can enjoy seeing monkeys as well as many bird species as they enjoy their surroundings.
Ranger guides accompany tourists as they explore the national park and enjoy their nature walk experience. They also ensure that the tourists follow the trails and avoid moving away from the nature walk routes.
An exciting adventure along Lake Manyara is also another activity which tourists visiting the national park can experience as they engage in canoe rides. This activity takes place when the water levels are favorable to allow the tourists to relax in the comfort of their boat and enjoy the views of the national park such as the rift valley escarpment as well as the savannah plains and woodlands where wildlife species can be seen. Hippos are among the wildlife species which can be seen in Lake Manyara as they swim. Tourists can also enjoy photography during their canoeing experiences at the destination.
Interacting with the local community during a safari to Lake Manyara national park is another experience for tourists visiting the northern part of Tanzania. The community visits take place in Mto wa mbu town which is located close to the national park.
During community visits, tourists get to know more about the way of life of the Maasai who live in the neighboring areas of the national park. Other tribes also make up the local community of Mto wa mbu town which is known for is cultural diversity.
Some of the activities which tourists engage in during cultural visits in Mto wa mbu town include visiting the traditional homesteads of the Maasai known as “manyattas”. They also engage in traditional dance performances with the Maasai warriors as they jump and chant their traditional songs.
The way of dressing of the Maasai is another unique aspect of the Maasai culture which tourists can experience during their community visits in Mto wa mbu town. The Maasai men wear traditional cloths referred to as “shukas” which have different colors such as red, blue and black. The dress code is completed with sandals as well as beaded jewelry such as necklaces, earrings, anklets made by the women.
Due to their high dependence on livestock and their nomadic way of life, the Maasai keep cattle, sheep and goats in enclosed kraals which have thorns as a way of protecting themselves from danger.
The community visits also involve a tour around the local market as well as to art and craft shops in Mto wa mbu town in the company of a local guide.
Bird watching also takes place in Lake Manyara national park especially around the shores of the lake where different bird species can be seen including migrant and native birds such as ostriches, babblers, pelicans, rufous tailed weaver, ashy starlings, black collared lovebirds, flamingos, grey crowned cranes, black faced sand grouse, hornbills, turacos among others.
Rules and regulations in Lake Manyara national park
To maintain and conserve the natural habitat of the wildlife species within the national park, certain rules and regulations are put in place to be followed by tourists as they explore lake Manyara national park and these include the following;
Avoiding noise during wildlife viewing activities in Lake Manyara national park helps to maintain the natural calmness of the national park. This also prevents scaring away the wildlife species such as elephants, gazelles, antelopes, buffalos, impalas among others as they graze around the savannah plains.
Littering in the national park is another thing that tourists are discouraged from doing since it doesn’t conserve the environment. Littering is also a threat to the wildlife species which may eat the substances thrown around the national park therefore threatening the lives of the animals in Lake Manyara national park.
Feeding the wildlife is also against the rules set by the park officials in Lake Manyara national park. This is because giving the animals food interferes with their normal feeding habits and survival in the wilderness.
Keeping a safe distance from the wildlife species during game viewing activities in Lake Manyara national park promotes safety of the tourists and also prevents causing of commotions among the wildlife species such as stampedes. Tourists are therefore encouraged to observe the wildlife species from a safe distance as they enjoy their game drives.
Tourists are expected to pay attention as they are briefed about the rules and regulations to follow during their wildlife viewing experiences in the national park. Failure to follow these rules and regulations leads to certain penalties and fines by the park officials.
Where to stay in Lake Manyara national park
Accommodations are available both inside and outside lake Manyara national park and they include luxury accommodations, midrange accommodations as well as budget accommodations as seen below;
Luxury accommodation include Lake Manyara Serena lodge, Lake Manyara Sopa lodge, Lake Manyara kilimamoja lodge, and beyond lake Manyara tree lodge, Manyara wildlife safari camp, acacia farm lodge and many others.
Midrange accommodations include Lake Manyara tortilis camp, Twiga lodge, Kirurumu tented lodge, Migunga tented lodge among others.
Budget accommodations include Nsya lodge, jambo rooms, Eco boma camp and many others. Camping is also available in Lake Manyara national park.
Travel to Lake Manyara national park and experience tree climbing lions as well as many other spectacular attractions by planning your safari with Focus East Africa tours.