Lake Manyara National Park is one of Tanzania’s most dramatically located African wildlife animals areas, consisting of a shallow soda lake (covering two-thirds of the park) at the foot of the Great Rift Valley’s western escarpment. Lake Manyara National Park’s varied shoreline contains a wide variety of habitats, which include lush groundwater forests, a swampy fan delta, acacia woodlands, and a small grassy plain. 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. This African National Wildlife Park supports a great variety of animals. Lake Manyara’s main safari attraction is its rich bird life, its tree-climbing lions and its hippos and other animals, which can be observed here, at very close range. In his book “The Green Hills of Africa” Hemingway describes his African animals' trophy hunting expeditions into the African Lake Manyara National Park area, which used to be prime wildlife animals hunting country many years ago. The national park is very picturesque but the dense groundwater forest areas can make spotting animals more difficult – but undoubtedly an exciting safari adventure.  Therefore, it is a good idea to visit the game park at the start of your safari, before you become too jaded with wildlife. A day trip is sufficient to see most of the park's sights and animals. The agricultural and fresh produce market town of  Mto Wa Mbu, is situated next to the entrance of the Lake Manyara National Park. The enormous amount of groundwater pouring through the rock of the escarpment in this area has created the ideal habitat for fresh produce and the local farmers grow everything ranging from bananas to maize. The town is a souvenir hunter’s paradise, harboring thousands of souvenir salesmen – ready to pounce at the slightest invitation. Mto Wa Mbu, which literally means “mosquito creek”, is very malarial, so make sure you put on lots of insect repellent.

THE LAKE:

Wherever you drive in the Lake Manyara National Park – the lake is never far away. The water is slightly alkaline, even though freshwater rivers, streams, and escarpment springs mainly feed the lake. A diverse collection of water birds like pelicans, storks, cormorants, geese, and ducks all congregate in abundance around the shores of Lake Manyara, and at certain times of the year, the lake hosts thousands of flamingos. Please refer to the map below for further details, and safari information guide on this awesome and picturesque wildlife reserve in Tanzania.

SIGHTSEEING AT LAKE MANYARA:

After entering the Lake Manyara National Park, the visitor is surrounded by the “groundwater forest”. This unique forest area resembles a tropical rainforest, but the vegetation is mainly supported by an underground water supply instead of an abundant rainfall as in the case of rain forests. This unique forest provides an ideal wildlife habitat for the African blue monkey, bush and waterbuck, the nocturnal aardvark as well as the vervets, the favorite prey of the leopard. The forest, which produces an abundant number of wild fruits and figs, is a great attraction for the majestic African elephant and the few remaining black rhinos in the park. The Hippo Pool located in the Simba River, not only attracts these 3000kg animals but many of the parks nearly 400 species of birds, including the predatory fish eagle, which lives in and around the Hippo Pool.

Further south, between the Msasa and Bagayo rivers, the groundwater forest changes into a flat-topped acacia woodland – the home of the notorious tree-climbing lions of Lake Manyara. Grass feeders and browsers like impala, zebra, giraffe, and elephant are also common in this area. Further south, past the Bagayo River, an area most notable for its majestic baobab trees, lays Maji Moto Ngogo a fresh but hot water spring (40°C). Near the end of the park the second set of hot water springs, Maji Moto bubbling around (60°C) can be seen – a good place to boil your eggs for lunch!

LAKE MANYARA’S TREE CLIMBING LIONS:

Lake Manyara’s most visible predators, and also its prime tourist attraction are lions, famous for their habit of climbing trees. Why the lions of Lake Manyara National Park and not those of nearby Serengeti and Ngorongoro spend so much time in trees remains a mystery. The acacia (umbrella trees) woodlands south of the Msasa River, do however provide an ideal spot for the Lions to retreat to, in the heat of the day.

LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK PHOTOGRAPHY:

It is the setting of the park that makes wildlife viewing and photography in the caldera so extraordinary and rewarding. There are best sites for taking pictures, photos, and digital images. Also, it is the animals that are the stars in all the pictures. They are varied and abundant, many are remarkably tame and habituated to the safari vehicles. They are also generally out in the open, where they are easily photographed

LAKE MANYARA LODGES AND CAMPS:

There are several tented camps and luxury lodges available around Lake Manyara National Park. Visit the accommodation page for more information or contact us.