July 23

The Magic of Lake Manyara National Park


July 23, 2023

So, you're itching to know what's special about Lake Manyara National Park? Well, we're here to spill the tea on everything and anything that makes this destination simply one-of-a-kind! From tree-climbing lions to flocks of fabulous flamingos, Lake Manyara National Park has some seriously unique safari features.

Game drive vehicle with flamingo saturated Lake Manyara in the background

The shores of the lake, peppered with pink flamingos, attract more than 400 bird species

1. Quiet and Remote

Perfectly complementing a safari in the Serengeti National ParkTarangire National Park, or the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara National Park emerges as a hidden gem among Tanzania's extraordinary array of safari destinations. Its unassuming nature bestows upon it a distinctive charm, making it a tranquil sanctuary that invites you to embark on unhurried game drives, free from the bustle of the more "popular" national parks.

The impressive Rift Valley escarpment

A place perfect for slowing down and taking in the solitary wild places of Africa, Image Credit: Lake Manyara Tree Lodge

2. The Magnificent Lake Manyara

As you enter the Lake Manyara National Park, you'll be greeted by its claim to fame – the blushing jewel of Lake Manyara. Spanning a staggering 325 km2, this remarkable national park is adorned by the lake, which claims a generous portion of 230 km2 for itself.

Furthermore, the vast expanse of shimmering waters serves as a picturesque backdrop to your safari adventures. So, we urge you to keep your camera at the ready! Not only does the mirror-like surface reflect the beauty of the passing wildlife, but it also undergoes a magical transformation at sunset. As the sun paints the sky, the lake becomes a living canvas adorned with ethereal hues, resulting in truly picture-perfect moments.

Giraffe and zebra along the lake's shores

Species like the giraffe, zebra, impala and a wealth of other wildlife roam the lake's shores

3. Striking Landscapes

Lake Manyara National Park stands out with its remarkable variety of terrain and abundant foliage, creating a captivating medley of landscapes. This verdant sanctuary teems with life and enjoys an ample water supply, where diverse ecosystems converge along the lake's shoreline.

You'll encounter groundwater forests, sprawling acacia woodlands, and vast savannas within the national park. Along the edge of the lake, a mesmerising tapestry unfolds, showcasing marshlands, glistening salt flats, and on the western shore, the impressive Rift Valley escarpment descends gracefully to meet the lake's waters.

Stunning views of the escarpment and lake surroundings

The diverse landscape offers visitors stunning views of the escarpment and lake surroundings

4. Big Cats Defy Expectations

Get ready for a Lake Manyara National Park safari experience that will leave you in awe! We've had the privilege of witnessing it ourselves – the remarkable tree-climbing lions of Lake Manyara National Park. These agile predators have truly mastered the art of arboreal adventures, effortlessly perching on tree branches like seasoned acrobats.

You'll be amazed when you glimpse these curious cats as they defy gravity, showcase their unique climbing abilities, and lounge on sturdy branches – possibly thinking to themselves: "There's nothing out of the ordinary here, folks!".

Lions in the high branches of a tree

Lake Manyara National Park is famous for its unusual tree-climbing lions

5. Elephants in Their Element

Lake Manyara National Park proudly hosts a thriving population of elephants, presenting you with an extraordinary opportunity to intimately engage with these gentle giants. What makes Lake Manyara National Park an elephant haven lies in the perfect harmony of factors that define their habitat. The area's bountiful offerings of nourishing food and water sources, along with its protected environment, have created an idyllic sanctuary for these majestic beings.

Herd of elephants walking as a family in the savannah of Lake Manyara

The abundance of water attracts massive herds of elephants

6. Flurry of Fabulous Flamingos

One of our favourite features of Lake Manyara is the flamboyant display of flamingos along the lake's edge. These comical birds transform the lake into a vivid splash of pink hues, creating a visual spectacle that's nothing short of hypnotic. Watch as they take flight in perfect harmony, adding a touch of whimsy to the lake's already enchanting atmosphere.

Flamingos flying over Lake Manyara

Flamingos wade through the Lake Manyara's waters alongside pods of hippos

7. A Haven for Wildlife

Flamingos, elephants and tree-climbing lions aside, Lake Manyara National Park is home to a bevy of beasts. Spot giraffes gracefully nibbling on treetop foliage, witness zebras, wildebeest and buffalo dotting the plains, and keep your eyes peeled for elusive leopards and cheetahs stealthily moving through the vegetation.

Wildebeest herd with birds in foreground

Other animals you can see in the park include lions, elephants, buffalo, and migrating wildebeest

8. Birds, Birds, and More Birds!

Amidst serene groundwater forests and woodlands, expansive grasslands, marshlands, and the glistening expanse of the lake itself, each ecosystem embraces a unique ensemble of captivating avian marvels.

Embarking on a Lake Manyara National Park safari unveils a breathtaking assortment of more than 400 bird species, delighting avid bird watchers in every way! From storks and spoonbills to cuckoos and cormorants, the list extends far and wide, including the presence of 50 birds of prey!

Great white pelican in flight landing on Lake Manyara

Spot 400 bird species flitting across the escarpment and between the lakeshore and trees

9. Lake Manyara Treetop Walkway

Now, let's swing on over to the legendary Lake Manyara Treetop Walkway. Stroll along suspended bridges high above the ground. Mischievous monkeys will be your sidekicks, colourful birds your cheerleaders, and if you're lucky, you might even spot a leopard who decided to join the treetop social. Trust us, it's a one-of-a-kind experience that'll leave you feeling like the king or queen of the jungle!

Suspended walkway in the treetops of a lush forest

The first suspended walkway in Tanzania and is considered one of the longest in Africa, Image Credit: Tanzania National Parks

10. Lake Manyara Hippo Pool View Point

There's also the hippo pool, which is always stocked with a good number of wallowing, hefty beasts. The Lake Manyara hippo pool viewpoint is an elevated wooden platform, standing tall at 2,5 metres above the ground, stretching 17 metres in length and 1,5 metres in width.

Ascending to the pinnacle of this observation deck grants you a splendid vista of the marshes and its inhabitants – ducks, hippos, buffaloes, and wildebeests – while instilling a profound sense of tranquillity and safety.

Hippo feasting in the nutritious swamps with buffalo nearby

Encounter large groups of hippos feasting in the nutritious swamps, Image Credit: @paulinmkama (Instagram)

An Essential Stop on Your Tanzania Safari

Lake Manyara National Park has a timeless allure that consistently steals our hearts. Its natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and captivating ambience make it an essential addition to any safari itinerary in Tanzania.

Start planning your trip today and experience the undeniable charm of Lake Manyara on your next African adventure.

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Lake Manyara, Safari, Wildlife

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About the author 

Michelle Welvering

Growing up, Michelle always wanted to become a world-renowned artist, a kickboxing-champion and an eccentric explorer – aka a Kickboxing Exploring Artist! After pursuing an education in Fine Arts and opening her own Kickboxing gym in Pretoria, an unexpected twist led her to a six-year stint as a travel consultant in South African tourism. She believes that all things happen for a reason and, driven by adventure, she was eager to find a more “wild” and cultural space to call home. This led her to wander the Western Cape coastline, fall in love with the city of Cape Town and, of course, her workplace, Rhino Africa.

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