• Zebras drinking from a small stream near Lake Manyara

Lake Manyara Safari Park

Lake Manyara National Park, an underestimated gem of the safari parks, offers a large ecological variety in a small area. More than 400 bird species have been identified and one of the highlights are the thousands of flamingos.


Lake Manyara National Park, which encompasses an area of 330 sq.km, of which 200 sq km is lake, was proclaimed a game reserve in 1957 and registered three years later as a National Park. The park is situated between the 600 m high escarpment of the Great Rift Valley and Lake Manyara and is 130 km from Arusha.

Thus, it can be visited on a day excursion. At the Southern end of the park are hot Sulphur Springs known as Majimoto. Further along the forest the area opens up into woodlands, grassland, swamps and beyond, the soda lake itself.


Nestling at the base of the Great Rift Valley escarpment, the park is recognized for its incredible beauty. Wildlife at Lake Manyara is not restricted to bird-life only. Many game animals such as buffalo, elephant, giraffe, impala, hippo and a great variety of smaller animals also inhabit the park.

Lake Manyara is also known for its tree-climbing lions which spend most of the day spread out along the branches of acacia trees six to seven meters above the ground. The park contains the most pachyderms per sq km in Tanzania. As visitors enter the gate, they pass into the lush forest, home to troops of baboons and blue monkeys.

Buffalo and hippo lurch in the adjacent Hippo Pool. The vegetation eventually merges into flat topped acacia woodland where, in the heat of the day entire prides of lion can be seen stretched on the branches of these trees – a habit prevalent to Manyara lions.

Along with these amazing tree-climbing lions there are the usual browsers and grazers as well as the curios-looking banded mongoose. Two thirds of the park is dominated by the slightly alkaline lake which is home to ahuge variety of waterbirds.


More than 400 species of bird including flamingo, pelican, red billed quelea, storks, sacred ibis, cormorants and Egyptian geese can be sighted in this area. Other species of birds include the African spoonbill, lesser flamingo, white pelican and white faced duck.


Mto wa Mbu ( meaning Mosquito Creek) is a small busy market town selling fruit and vegetables produced by the fruitful adjacent farms. The little settlement has become a temporary stop over for tourists and campers.

When to visit

The dry season of July to October is the best time to visit to spot large mammals, whilst the wet season of November to June is the best time for bird watching.

Lake Manyara Safari Park with Flamingos
Hippos in Lake Manyara Safari Park

Lake Manyara Map

Lake Manyara Safari Park Map

Travel Times Lake Manyara Safari Park

Lake Manyara -> Arusha city: ~2h drive
Lake Manyara -> Tarangire: ~1h drive
Lake Manyara -> Ngorongoro ~1h drive
Lake Manyara -> Serengeti: ~4h drive

National Park Facts

Area: 325 km²

Travel: 130 km from Arusha

Established: 1960

Visitors: 178.500 / year

Official Homepage: https://www.tanzaniaparks.go.tz/

Animals to see

  • The famous tree climbing Lions
  • Lots of monkeys (especially baboons)
  • Flamingo and hundreds of other bird species
  • Zebra
  • Buffalo
  • Hippo
  • Giraffe
  • Elephant
  • Antelope
  • Wildebeest
  • Snakes

Optional activities

  • Famous Treetops / Canopy Walk in the rain forest
  • Game drive / Safari during the night
  • Visit the sprawling nearby village Mto wa Mbu and taste some red bananas
  • Go an mountain bike tour around the Lake area
  • Visit a Maasai Boma

Interested to see itineraries that include Lake Manyara park?

See our Safari tours below