Is Lake Manyara Worth Visiting?

Exploring Tanzania: Is Lake Manyara Worth Visiting?

Nestled in the northern part of Tanzania, Lake Manyara National Park is a gem often included in safari itineraries to or from the Serengeti National Park. Its strategic location, a mere 126 kilometers southwest of Arusha and in close proximity to both the Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park, makes it a convenient stop for adventurers exploring Tanzania’s rich wildlife. But, is Lake Manyara worth visiting? Let’s dive into the wonders of this park to find out.

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Lake Manyara National Park, established in 1960, spans approximately 325 square kilometers. Lake Manyara is a shallow alkaline lake, but during the wet season, the lake covers about two-thirds of this area. The park attracts thousands of pink flamingos, has one of Tanzania’s biggest elephant populations and is known for its tree-climbing lions.

So if you are still wondering, is Lake Manyara Worth Visiting, then let me share some information to convince you that yes it is! It was my first stop of my 6 day safari and was a fantastic introduction to what was to come.

How Do You Get To Lake Manyara?

Just a 1.5-hour drive from Arusha, the park is accessible via a smooth tarmac road, making it perfect for a day trip to Lake Manyara. It’s also a common pit stop on safaris to the more distant Serengeti. If you are looking to book a safari to the Serengeti, then I can help you with that! I work with a local tour company in Tanzania and can help you plan your dream vacation.

You also do have the option to drive on your own to Lake Manyara, but I personally recommend that you do not do this. Only because you can get so much more out of the experience when you don’t have to worry about driving. Plus the guides know the best places to go to find the wildlife and ensure you see the beautiful landscapes the best way possible.

Is Lake Manyara Worth Visiting?

Lake Manyara National Park Entrance Fees

Non-residents that visit the park will pay $59 USD during high season and $53 USD during low season for the entrance fee. The rate for children under 16 years old are $17.70 USD. These passes are valid for 24 hours.

If you take a day trip to Lake Manyara or visit as part of a safari, these fees are usually included in the price you pay for the trip.

Animals in Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. If you are lucky, you will get to see 4 of the Big Five found in the park. Unfortunately there are no rhinos found in Lake Manyara National Park. I was able to find large herds of elephants that surrounded the vehicle. What an amazing experience! I was also lucky enough to find some of the infamous tree-climbing lions. 

Of course there are many other species of wildlife you may see including zebras, giraffes, impalas and baboons to name a few.

Elephant at Lake Manyara NP

Birding in Lake Manyara National Park

Now let’s talk about the over 400 bird species that can be found in this park! The diversity of habitats, from its alkaline lake to dense woodlands and steep mountainsides, offers a sanctuary for an impressive range of birds! Okay so I didn’t see that many birds, but the options are endless. 

The guide that I had was unfortunately not the best at identifying all the birds, so I used my learned birdwatching techniques and took as many pictures as possible with my birding camera I used for birding, so I could review and identify them later.

One of the biggest draws to Lake Manyara is for flamingo watching along the shores, with other shorebirds like grey crowned cranes and plovers.

The best time for birding in Lake Manyara National Park is during the wet season, March to April. I visited in February and trust me, the birding was just as good then and I didn’t complain! There was a lot to see in this birding haven.

Lake Manyara - Flamingoes

Other Things To Do In Lake Manyara National Park

Beyond wildlife viewing, Lake Manyara National Park offers other activities to enjoy the park, including:

  • Canoeing along Lake Manyara, with a guide, when the water levels permit
  • Cultural Tours on the way to the park, in Mto wa mbu town.
  • Nature walks, led by ranger guides giving you the opportunity to explore the park on foot

How Many Days In Lake Manyara National Park?

While a day trip to Lake Manyara can be fulfilling, spending a night or two allows for a deeper exploration of the park, its nocturnal wildlife and serene landscapes. It’s a question often posed: is Lake Manyara worth visiting for more than a day? The answer lies in what you seek; tranquility and a rich safari experience await those who linger.

You can definitely have an amazing experience if you only visit for one day or as part of a longer trip to the Serengeti. But if you want to really explore this park, then I recommend adding a few extra days. I can also recommend some great lodges near Lake Manyara for your visit.

Baboon

Is Lake Manyara Worth Visiting?

Lake Manyara National Park offers an intimate safari experience. Whether it’s a day trip to Lake Manyara or a longer stay, the park’s beauty and wildlife are captivating. It’s an essential part of Tanzania’s safari circuit, promising unforgettable sights and adventures.

For those wondering if Lake Manyara is worth visiting, the diversity of activities, wildlife, and the unique landscape make it a resounding YES. From bird watching and game drives to walking tours, there’s something for every traveler.

As someone who can assist with planning your safari trip, I recommend including Lake Manyara National Park in your itinerary. Whether you’re drawn to its history, wildlife, or the chance to explore on foot, Lake Manyara does not disappoint.

Don’t forget to ensure you have all your essentials for your trip. This safari packing list will ensure you have everything needed for the journey ahead.

Giraffe

Final Thoughts

In summary, Lake Manyara National Park is a destination that offers more than just a picturesque landscape. Its accessible location, and the plethora of wildlife and birds make it a must-visit for anyone exploring Tanzania. Is Lake Manyara worth visiting? Absolutely, and it’s a journey that promises to be as enriching as it is exciting. It was a great part of my trip to Tanzania.

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