Lake Manyara National Park Travel Essentials


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"Scenic Landscapes and Tree-Climbing Lions"

Lake Manyara National Park Tourism

Lake Manyara National Park is located in the Great Rift Valley region in Tanzania and spans an area of approximately 330 square kilometres. The park is named after Lake Manyara, a stunning alkaline lake that covers around two-thirds of the park’s total area. Renowned for its diverse wildlife, the park is particularly famous for its large herds of elephants and unique tree-climbing lions. Four out of the Big Five (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard) are found in Lake Manyara National Park, except the rhinoceros.

In addition to these, large herds of buffalo, cheetah, Masai giraffe and impala, olive baboon, blue monkey, the occasional bushbuck, klipspringer, and hippopotamus can also be seen in the park. Lake Manyara National Park is a haven for birdwatchers, boasting over 400 species of birds which includes thousands of pink-hued Lesser and Greater flamingos that gather near the shores of the lake. The park's location near the Great Rift Valley and diverse habitat add to its scenic beauty and contribute to the presence of various hot springs within the landscape.

Entry Fees to Lake Manyara National Park:
Park Entry Fee:
Peak Season:
EAC: Adult – TSH 10,000, Child – TSH 2000
Resident: Adult – $25, Child - $7.5
Non-EAC: Adult - $50, Child - $15

Low Season:
EAC: Adult – TSH 10,000, Child – TSH 2000
Resident: Adult – $22.5, Child - $7.5
Non-EAC: Adult - $45, Child - $15

Special Activities:
Canoeing per person:
EAC: Adult – TSH 5,000, Child – TSH 2000
Resident: Adult – $20, Child - $10
Non-EAC: Adult - $20, Child - $10

Night Game Drive:
EAC: Adult – TSH 10,000, Child – TSH 5,000
Resident: Adult - $50, Child - $25
Non-EAC: Adult – 50, Child - $25

Canopy Walkway: EAC – TSH 10,000, Resident - $20, Non-EAC - $20
Crew Fee Per Person Per Day (guides, porters, campers, driver guides, and cooks): TSH 3,500

Entrance Gates to Lake Manyara National Park:
Lake Manyara National Park has two entrance gates:
1. Mto wa Mbu Gate: This gate is located in the northern part of the park, near the town of Mto wa Mbu. It is the main entrance to the park and provides easy access for visitors coming from Arusha or Karatu. The Mto wa Mbu Gate is open throughout the year. It is 10 minutes away from the Airstrip.
2. Maji Moto Gate: This gate is situated in the southern part of the park, near the town of Maji Moto. It is less commonly used by visitors and is usually reserved for special permits or specific arrangements. The Maji Moto Gate may have restricted timings and is not open throughout the year, so it's advisable to check in advance for availability and access.

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Things to do in Lake Manyara National Park

1. Game Drives Safari

Game drives are the most popular type of safari in Lake Manyara National Park. Visitors can explore the park's diverse landscapes and spot a wide range of wildlife, including elephants, lions, giraffe (Read More)s, zebras, and many bird species. Game drives can be done in open safari vehicles with experienced guides who are knowledgeable about the park and its inhabitants.

2. Canoeing

Canoeing on Lake Manyara offers a serene experience surrounded by scenic landscapes and abundant birdlife; best enjoyed during the morning or late afternoon for tranquil surroundings and wildlife sigh (Read More)tings.

3. Walking Safaris

Lake Manyara National Park also offers walking safaris for those seeking a more immersive and intimate experience with nature. Walking safaris are guided by armed rangers and provide an opportunity to (Read More) observe the smaller details of the ecosystem, such as tracks, plants, and insects.

4. Birdwatching Safaris

With over 400 bird species in the park, birdwatching safaris are a treat for avid bird enthusiasts. The park is particularly known for its vibrant flamingo colonies near the lake's shores, making it a (Read More) paradise for birdwatchers.

5. Night Safaris

 Some lodges and camps in the park may offer night safaris, allowing visitors to witness nocturnal wildlife activity and potentially spot elusive species like aardvarks, bush babies, and more.

6. Lake Manyara Shoreline

The Lake Manyara Shoreline is a birdwatcher's paradise, home to water birds and flamingos near the lake. The best time to witness active birdlife is during the day.

7. Treetop Walkway

The Treetop Walkway in Lake Manyara National Park offers a thrilling and unique experience, allowing visitors to explore the forest canopy from an elevated perspective. The 370 metres air walkway cons (Read More)ists of suspended bridges and platforms, providing an exciting opportunity to observe the park's diverse flora and fauna up close.

8. Village Tours

Traditional Maasai and Majimoto villages offer an authentic cultural experience; witness traditional dances, and rituals, and learn about their unique way of life. You can visit during the daytime for (Read More) vibrant and enriching interactions.

9. Maji Moto Hot Springs

Maji Moto Hot Springs offer natural relaxation and the benefits of mineral-rich water. It is best to visit in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat.

10. Groundwater Forest

 The Groundwater Forest is sustained by an underground water source, which results in lush vegetation and diverse wildlife, making it a perfect destination for nature walks and birdwatching. The (Read More)best time to explore is in the early morning when wildlife activity is at its peak.

11. Makuyuni Viewpoint

At the Makuyuni Viewpoint, visitors can enjoy panoramic vistas of Lake Manyara and its surroundings, making it an excellent spot for sunrise or sunset views. It is recommended to visit early in the mo (Read More)rning or late in the afternoon for the best experience.

12. Hippo Pool

The Hippo Pool serves as an observation area to view hippos and other aquatic species near the lake. The ideal time to visit is during late morning or early afternoon when the hippos are most active.

13. Endabash Lookout

The Endabash Lookout offers an elevated view of the Great Rift Valley, providing an excellent setting for sunrise or sunset experiences. It is recommended to visit during these times for picturesque s (Read More)cenery.

14. Klipspringer Cliffs

Klipspringer Cliffs offers scenic views of the park, making it an ideal destination for early morning or late afternoon visits.

Must Know Before You Travel to Lake Manyara National Park

  • Timings: The park gates typically open at 06:00 AM and close at 06:00 PM for regular visitors. However, for overnight guests staying within the park's accommodation, the gates remain open until 07:00 PM.
  • Safari Pricing and Budgeting: Safari pricing starts at approximately 1900 USD per person. Plan your budget accordingly and compare different tour operators for the best package.
  • Seasonal Considerations: If visiting during the wet season, be aware that roads may become inaccessible, especially in April with an average of 19 rainy days. Watch out for Tsetse flies during the wet months.
  • Itineraries and Combining Parks: Many travellers opt for multi-day safari itineraries that include Lake Manyara along with Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, known as the Northern Circuit. Alternatively, you can combine your visit with Tarangire National Park, located nearby.
  • Weather Impact on Game Viewing: The rainy season may hinder game viewing, while the dry season offers better wildlife sightings as animals congregate around water sources.
  • Crowd Management: To avoid crowds, plan game drives in the mornings, when the park is less busy, especially during the peak season.
  • Fees and Documentation: Understand the park entry fees, and ensure you have the necessary documents, such as resident permits or diplomatic passports/IDs, if applicable.
  • Payment Options: Credit cards are accepted at the park gate. Consider using a TANAPA card, if available.
  • Transportation within the Park: Arrange a 4x4 safari vehicle through reputable tour operators to access all park roads for a seamless experience.
  • EAC: If you are an EAC citizen, which includes nationals of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and South Sudan, take advantage of the privileges available to you within the park.
  • Pet Policy: Pets are not allowed in the park.

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Wildlife in Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is renowned for its diverse wildlife, including large herds of elephants and unique tree-climbing lions. It is home to four of the Big Five: lions, elephants, buffaloes, and leopards, except the rhinoceros. The park features abundant buffalo herds, cheetahs, zebras, wildebeests, Masai giraffes, and impalas. Visitors can also spot olive baboons, blue monkeys, bushbucks, klipspringers, and hippopotamuses among others. Lake Manyara National Park boasts over 400 bird species, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. The park's avian diversity includes thousands of pink-hued Lesser and Greater flamingos that gather near the lake's shores. Other notable bird species found here include Abdim's stork, African fish eagle, African grey hornbill, African hawk eagle, African jacana, African spoonbill, Baglafecht weaver, Comb duck, Crowned eagle, Great white pelican, Grey crowned crane, Hamerkop, Hottentot teal, Little stint, Pied avocet, Pied kingfisher, Pink-backed pelican, Sacred ibis, Saddle-billed stork, Silvery-cheeked hornbill, Southern ground hornbill, Spur-winged goose, Von der Decken's hornbill, and Yellow-billed stork. There are also 180 recorded species of butterflies in Lake Manyara National Park.

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How to Reach Lake Manyara National Park

How to Reach Overview

The park can be reached from Arusha, Ngorongoro Crater, and Serengeti National Park within 2 to 4 hours by driving. The A104 highway provides a smooth journey of approximately 150 kilometres from Arusha. For those who prefer a quicker transfer, charter flights to Lake Manyara Airport are available from Serengeti or Arusha, shortening the distance to the park gate. Domestic flights to Arusha Airport and Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam are also available for an alternative travel experience. Another option is flying into Kilimanjaro International Airport, located around 46 km from Arusha.

How to reach Lake Manyara National Park by flight

The most convenient way to reach Lake Manyara National Park is by flying into the Kilimanjaro International Airport, located approximately 46 km from Arusha. Domestic flights are available to Arusha Airport and from Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam.

Alternatively, you can take an international flight to Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam and then connect to Arusha Airport. Charter flights to Lake Manyara Airport are also available from Serengeti or Arusha. From Lake Manyara Airport, it's a short 16 km (approximately 30 minutes drive) to the park gate.

For domestic flights, arrangements can be made with a domestic carrier, and charter flights between parks are often included as part of your safari package, booked by your tour operator.

Auric Air and Coastal Aviation provide regular flights to Manyara from Arusha. The journey from Arusha to Manyara takes around half an hour to one hour and costs around $250 per person for a round trip.

How to reach Lake Manyara National Park by road

Lake Manyara National Park is accessible by road from various locations. From Arusha, it's approximately 150 kilometres to the park, and the journey takes around 2.5 to 3 hours via the A104 highway. The park can also be reached from other nearby attractions like Ngorongoro Crater (80 kilometres) and Serengeti National Park (156 kilometres) in 2 to 4 hours.

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