Lake Manyara National Park

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.

Bird Lovers Paradise

This park is known for its large elephant population. The big cats are present, but not seen that easily. The forest patch is home to habituated troops of olive baboon and blue monkey. Buffalo, giraffe and several antelope species are easily encountered on a drive. Lake Manyara is a shallow, alkaline lake at the base of the Western Rift Valley escarpment. The park has a remarkable variety of habitats in a small area. The park entrance leads to a beautiful groundwater forest. Other habitats include the grassy floodplain, rocky escarpment and acacia woodland, all of which can be covered in a half-day visit. Deeper into the park a visit to the hot springs (Majo Moto) is recommended.

Wildlife Highlights:

Manyara National Park is a sanctuary for Elephant, Cape buffalo, Lion, hippopotamus, impala, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, bushbuck, leopard, baboon, lesser flamingo, greater flamingo, white pelican, yellow- billed stork, white-breasted cormorant, palm-nut vulture, Ayres’s hawk-eagle, Nile monitor, cobra & greatest biomass density in the world; tree-climbing lions. Mahogany and sausage trees are alive with blue and vervet monkeys; elephants feed on fallen fruit, and bushbuck, baboons and leopard make their homes in the forest. Manyara’s most famous residents are its tree-climbing lions, although these are more difficult to see nowadays.

Birdlife Highlights:

Lake Manyara is considered to be one of the best bird-watching locations in Tanzania, with almost 400 recorded species. Birds of prey are represented by a remarkable 46 species including African fish eagles, Ruppell’s griffon vultures, Egyptian vultures, palmnut vultures, Verreaux’s eagles, crowned eagles, martial eagles, bat hawks and peregrine falcons. Vociferous silvery-cheeked hornbills inhabit evergreen forest and southern ground hornbills stalk the open woodlands in family groups. Among the more colourful bush birds are Fischer’s lovebirds, blue-naped mousebirds, grey-headed kingfishers, Abyssinian scimitarbills, red-and-yellow barbets and Peters twinspots. Other more specialist highlights include ashy starlings, slender-tailed nightjars, Abyssinian white-eyes, Pangani longclaws, eastern nicators and long-tailed fiscals.

Best Time to Visit:

The area is generally considered to be at its best during the Jun-Oct dry season months, when the animals tend to congregate here, but we tend to include it more during periods when there is less vehicle traffic around, namely Mar-May and Nov-Dec.

Unique Activities in Lake Manyara

Night Game Drive

A whole new world of animal species (nocturnal) await you on a night game drive. It gives you a different perspective of the park and wildlife. Especially a night game drive in Lake Manyara National Park.

Lake Manyara is the ideal location for a night game drive because of its many ecosystems. It is said to have 11 different systems; the area is a melting pot for all types of animals and plants – with the lake, the rift valley cliffs, ground water forest, Ngorongoro highlands and the dry Tarangire system all close by.

Your drive starts around 20:00 from where you head into the thick ground-water forest of Lake Manyara. From the forest you head down towards the lake following the Simba River to the hippo pools. You will return back to the forest and finally be back at the park gate around 22:30. We can either leave you at the gate to be collected by your safari driver or we can take you to the Serena Manyara Lodge for collection.

This night safari will give you an entirely different perspective of the park and wildlife.

Bird Watching

Lake Manyara National Park has over 300 bird species including Eurasian migrant birds, acacia associated birds, raptors, and 3 endangered Tanzanian species: Rufous-tailed weaver, Ashy starlings and Black-collared Lovebird.

Lake Manyara National Park and Lake Natron also offer great opportunities of Flamingo watching as they gather on the lake shore in flocks of ten thousands or even several hundred thousands.

Lake Natron is the flamingoes breeding ground and Lake Manyara, Nakuru in Kenya their feeding ground. Some of the birds you can see in the floodplains of Lake Manyara are Crowned Plover, Grey Crowned Crane, Fischer’s Sparrow Lark, Two-banded courser and the Black-faced Sandgrouse.

The bush clups on the edge of the floodplain is occupied by groups of Long-tailed fiscal, the rare Pangani Longclaw. The birds in the Lake Manyara forest are: Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Narina Trogon, Crowned Hornbill, Schalow’s Turaco, Emerald Cuckoo, Crowned Eagle and ground dwelling Crested Guineafowl.

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