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Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara NP




Best Time To Visit

Weather & Climate

Getting There

Malaria & Safety

Overview – Lake Manyara NP
Lake Manyara National Park features a shallow alkaline lake nestled at the base of the Rift Valley escarpment. It is renowned for its tree-climbing lions and large elephant herds. Upon entering the park, visitors encounter a jungle-like groundwater forest, home to abundant olive baboons and blue monkeys. An exciting 370m (1,200ft) treetop walkway offers a unique perspective of this ecosystem.
Lake Manyara National Park - Bush 2 City
Best Time To Go
June to October (Easier to spot animals)
High Season
From July to March, the northern section experiences high levels of crowding.
330km² / 127mi²
934-1,325m / 3,064-4,347ft
Pros & Cons
Elephants can be observed up close in a very relaxed manner.
Breathtaking landscapes.
Exceptional birdwatching opportunities.
Close to Arusha and conveniently located on the route to Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park.
Activities offered include canoe safaris, night drives, and a treetop walkway experience.
Mornings are typically free from crowds.
The game-drive circuit is restricted in size.
Accommodation options within the park are limited, but plentiful options are available just outside the park boundaries.
The park tends to get crowded with day visitors, particularly during the afternoons.
In recent years, the increased water level of Lake Manyara has led to the disappearance of the game-drive track that once traced the shore. Unfortunately, this has had a significant impact on the quality of wildlife viewing and birdwatching experiences in the area. However, despite these changes, visitors can still encounter four of the Big Five animals within the park, with only the rhino being absent. Buffalo, elephant, giraffe, zebra, and wildebeest are commonly seen roaming the area. Additionally, keep a lookout for solitary bushbuck carefully navigating the forest undergrowth, and pairs of klipspringer elegantly perched on rocks near the hot springs (Maji Moto).
The park showcases a diverse range of habitats across a relatively small expanse. One of its standout features is the dense, evergreen groundwater forest, adorned with ancient mahogany and fig trees. Visitors can also explore other habitats such as the grassy floodplain, rocky escarpment, and acacia woodland, all within the span of a half-day visit. For those seeking a deeper adventure, a trip to the hot springs (Maji Moto) situated deeper within the park is highly recommended.
Weather & Climate
In the Wet season (November to May), Lake Manyara typically sees average daytime temperatures peaking around 28°C/82°F. This season usually begins with one or two months of rainfall (November to December), followed by a brief dry spell at the start of the year, and then another rainy period from March to May. On the other hand, the Dry season (June to October) brings slightly cooler temperatures. Mornings can be chilly during this time, so wearing a jacket is recommended to stay warm.
Best Time To Visit
Observing wildlife at Lake Manyara offers rewarding experiences throughout the year, with optimal sightings during the Dry season from June to October. However, it’s important to consider March and April due to the likelihood of heavy rainfall during these months. The landscape truly shines during the Wet season months, from November to May. Given that many travelers pass through the park en route to or from the Ngorongoro Crater, there are typically fewer visitors staying within or near the park. This creates an ideal opportunity for tranquil and less crowded early morning explorations.
​Wildlife & Animals – Lake Manyara NP

Lake Manyara National Park is celebrated for its unique tree-climbing lions and elephants with impressive tusks. The park’s lush plains are a gathering place for extensive herds of buffalo, wildebeest, and zebra. Its escarpment provides a haven for a considerable population of leopards. However, catching a glimpse of these secretive big cats often relies on luck.

Wild Dog
Black Rhino
Wildlife Highlights

The forested area at the entrance to the park serves as a habitat for acclimated groups of olive baboons and blue monkeys. Occasionally, bushbucks are observed, swiftly disappearing into the underbrush. The charming dik-diks, notable for their doe-like eyes and twitching noses, are a common sight. Additionally, klipspringer pairs may be seen skillfully navigating the rocky terrain at the park’s southern extremity.

Best Time for Wildlife Viewing

Lake Manyara offers good wildlife viewing opportunities throughout the year, but the Dry season (June to October) is considered the best time to visit. During this period, the sparse vegetation and the tendency of animals to gather at predictable water sources make spotting wildlife simpler. On the other hand, the Wet season (November to May) reveals the park in its most scenic form, although it’s important to remember that March and April are months with substantial rainfall.

Wildlife Photos
manyara national park (7)
​Birds – Lake Manyara NP
Lake Manyara National Park is an outstanding gateway to Tanzania’s avian diversity, boasting records of over 400 bird species. On any given day, it’s feasible for visitors to spot around 100 different species. The park is celebrated for its broad assortment of aquatic birds, with pelicans being a highlight. Optimal water levels transform the lake into a vibrant scene, drawing in thousands of pink flamingos for breeding and feeding purposes, although the restricted shore access may limit observation opportunities. Notably, the park is a habitat for an impressive array of birds of prey, including more than 50 species like the majestic crowned eagle and African hawk eagle. The presence of migratory birds from November to April further enriches the avian landscape of the park

Notable Birds in Lake Manyara NP

Palm-nut vulture
Silvery-cheeked hornbill
African fish eagle
Lesser flamingos
Yellow-billed stork
Best Time for Bird Watching

Birdwatching in Lake Manyara offers delights all year round, yet it peaks from November to April. This season allows enthusiasts to witness a variety of migratory birds from both the Palearctic and intra-African regions. It’s also when numerous birds showcase their colorful breeding feathers, enhancing the visual experience. Meanwhile, the best period for spotting wildlife is during the Dry season, which runs from June to October, when conditions are most favorable.

Facts & Figures

Bird Species


Migratory Birds

Nov to Apr

Best Time To Visit – Lake Manyara NP













Viewing wildlife in Lake Manyara National Park offers a gratifying experience throughout the entire year, achieving its pinnacle during the Dry season from June to October. In contrast, the park’s landscape transforms into its most picturesque state in the Wet season, spanning November to May, characterized by lush greenery and waterfalls tumbling over the cliffs. However, it’s important to be aware that the months of March and April are known for their particularly heavy rainfalls.
Best Time
From June to October, spotting animals becomes easier.
High Season
From July to March, the northern section of the park experiences crowding for most of the year.
Low Season
April and May
Best Weather
June to October (Little rainfall)
Worst Weather
March and April (Peak of the Wet season)
June to October – Dry Season
Animals are easier to locate in areas with sparse vegetation.
Plentiful sunshine and minimal rainfall.
Less chance of catching malaria, as there are fewer mosquitoes
From June to August, warm clothing is necessary for early morning safari excursions.
November to May – Wet Season
The landscape is verdant and rich.
During the low season in April and May, there are fewer crowds and generally lower rates.
While wildlife is more easily observed during the Dry season, viewing opportunities are excellent all year round.
This is the ideal time for bird watching, as migratory birds are present.
Rains might make the roads difficult to navigate.
The Wet season reaches its peak from March to April.
Wildlife Photos
manyara national park (7)
Weather & Climate – Lake Manyara NP
Lake Manyara National Park enjoys a consistently warm climate, with little fluctuation in average temperatures throughout the year. Extreme temperatures are rare, but it can get quite chilly in the evening and at dawn, so packing warm layers for game drives in the early morning is recommended. The park experiences its Dry season from June to October. In contrast, the Wet season is split into the ‘short rains’ from November to December and the ‘long rains’ from March to May, with a short dry period in between. Rain showers often don’t last the entire day, making it possible to enjoy the park’s beauty rain or shine.
Dry Season – June to October

Bask in the endless sunshine and azure skies, a signature feature of our climate, where raindrops are a rare sight.


As the calendar pages turn from June to September, the days are bathed in a pleasant warmth with temperatures gracefully averaging 26°C (79°F). Yet, as the sun bids farewell, the mercury dips to a cool 14°C (57°F), enveloping the nights and early mornings in a brisk embrace. For those venturing out into the dawn, a wardrobe equipped with cozy layers becomes an essential companion.


When October’s air begins to stir, it whispers the arrival of the brief rainy season, transforming the landscape and inviting a different kind of beauty.

Wet Season – November to May

In the Wet season, days warm up to about 28°C (82°F) and nights cool down to 19°C (66°F).


November and December bring short, light rains. You might see some rain in the afternoon, but it usually doesn’t last all day, so it won’t really mess with your plans.


January and February are dryer months, a nice break between the rainy times. But, it’s hard to say exactly when this dry spell will happen.


From March to May, expect the “Long rains” — it rains most days, but not all day long, leaving the sky mostly cloudy.

Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara NP Photos
Lake Manyara National Park - Bush 2 City
​Getting There – Lake Manyara NP

Nestled within the famed Northern safari route, Lake Manyara National Park stands out as a must-visit destination, with the town of Arusha acting as the essential starting point for adventurers. Reaching Arusha is most easily done by flying into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), conveniently located just 50km (31 miles) from the town. For those coming from farther afield, Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam offers an alternative pathway, with onward flights to either Arusha Airport (ARK) or Kilimanjaro International Airport, facilitating your journey to the heart of safari country.


Adventurers bound for Lake Manyara will find direct flight options from Arusha as well as from the iconic Serengeti National Park directly to the park’s own airstrip, making the journey as seamless as the African skies. If the road calls to you, a scenic drive from Arusha will get you to Lake Manyara in about 1.5 hours, gliding along smooth, paved roads that promise an easy and enjoyable trip.


For those venturing from the majestic Ngorongoro Crater, a two-hour drive covering 80km (50 miles) will lead you through breathtaking landscapes to your Lake Manyara adventure.

The mentioned travel times are estimates and could vary based on factors like weather and road conditions, ensuring each journey to Lake Manyara National Park is as unique as the park itself.
Main Park Map
Airlines & Ticket Prices

You can use Skyscanner to check which airlines fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) or Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR), see ticket prices, and compare them with other sources.

Domestic Flights

Typically, flights between parks are included in your safari package provided by Bush 2 City Adventure consultants. We have established special partnerships with local carriers, facilitating convenient access to domestic flights. These carriers include:


  • Coastal Aviation (serving Manyara, Arusha Airport, and Kilimanjaro Airport)
  • Air Excel (serving Manyara, Arusha Airport, and Kilimanjaro Airport)
  • Regional Air (serving Manyara, Arusha Airport, and Kilimanjaro International Airport)
  • Safari Air Link (serving Manyara, Arusha Airport, and Kilimanjaro International Airport)
  • Auric Air (serving Manyara, Arusha Airport, and Kilimanjaro International Airport)
  • Air Tanzania (serving Arusha Airport and Kilimanjaro International Airport)
  • Precision Air (serving Arusha Airport and Kilimanjaro International Airport)
  • ZanAir (serving Arusha Airport)
  • As Salaam Air (serving Arusha Airport)
Passport, Visa & Other Entry Requirements

Kindly refer to our “Gett – “Tanzania” page for detailed information on passport, visa, COVID-19, and other entry requirements.

​Malaria & Safety – Lake Manyara NP

Lake Manyara National Park extends a warm welcome to the many visitors who come to safely experience its rich array of wildlife. While it’s true that towns and cities in the region may have some crime, it’s always wise to take typical safety measures when exploring urban areas during your trip (for more guidance, refer to ‘Cities & Urban Areas: Safety Precautions’ below). Thankfully, most travelers find that their visit is free from any crime-related incidents.

Malaria & Vaccinations

When planning a trip to Lake Manyara, it’s crucial to protect yourself against malaria. Ensure to use mosquito repellent, particularly those containing DEET for maximum effectiveness, and remember to cover any exposed skin during the evening hours. Additionally, it’s highly recommended to take antimalarial medication as a precautionary measure. Don’t forget to inquire about several vaccinations that are also advised for this region. Before embarking on your journey, it’s wise to seek guidance from your doctor or a specialized travel clinic to ensure you’re adequately prepared.

Wildlife Viewing

Watching wildlife is an incredibly safe experience, as long as you follow the park’s rules and heed the advice of your assigned guide. For extra safety tips, please consult the ‘Wildlife Viewing Safety Precautions’ section below.

Photo Gallery of Lake Manyara National Park

Map of Lake Manyara National Park

Photo Gallery of Lake Manyara National Park

Main Park Map

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