Lake Manyara National Park delivered its name from a plant called Euphorbia tirucalli, known as Emanyara in the Maasai language. The Maasai are using this plant to protect their bomas (hedge). The Park was gazetted as a National park in 1960 and was declared as Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1981. The park has an area of 648.7 km2 (402 sq miles) of which 262.7 km2 (163 sq miles) is covered by a lake and 386 km2 (240 sq miles) is dry land.
The rainfall pattern of the park is bi-modal with short rains starting from November to December and long rains from February to May, dry season is from late June to October, the annual mean temperature is 26.50C, average temperature 11.340C and relative humidity ranges from 45%-85%.
How to get there
The park is located in Northern Tanzania, 126 km west of Arusha town along the Makuyuni-Ngorongoro road, strategically located along the highway to Ngorongoro and Serengeti and is easily accessible by road and air (charter or scheduled flights). The park is close to the ethnically diverse town of Mto wa Mbu in which a representation of the 120 tribes of Tanzania is found.
Best time to visit
The park can be accessed throughout the year. However, June to October is the best time for large mammals and November to July is an ideal time for bird watching.
- GAME VIEWING
- Day Game Viewing
This activity is conducted during the day and night. For day game drive the activity is conducted from 06:30 – 18:30 hrs
- Night Game drive
Night game drive is carried out from 19:00 – 23:00 hrs, no additional fee for day game drive but for night game drive (NGD) there is an additional fee. Four-wheel (4×4) drive vehicles are recommended.
For night game drive booking is recommended for the arrangement of an armed park ranger
Areas for conducting night game drive
- Northern zone – Groundwater forest, Hippo pool, Flood plain, Msasa and Endalla areas.
- Central zone – Endabasha forest, Central Lakeshore, Majimoto ndogo and Bagayo areas
- Southern zone – Sothern lakeshore, Iyambi, Array river confluence and Majimoto kubwa areas.
Common nocturnal animal sightings; – Crested Porcupine, Greater and Senegal Galago, Civet, Common Genet, White-tailed Mongoose, Lion, Hippos (grazing) and species of birds like Owls, Nightjars and Dikkops
Special conditions apply for night game drive, refer tonight game drive guidelines
Include short walking safari from 1- 4 hours and long walking safari (above 4 hours).
There are three trails namely
- Msasa walking trail: Start from Msasa picnic site crossing through the river gorge (2-3hrs) up to the top of the of the rift valley wall.
- Lakeshore walking trail: Long walk that takes 4 to 6 hrs
- Time to conduct the activity: From 19h00 to 23h00 hours.
- Booking is necessary which help the management to prepare armed ranger.
Additional fees apart from Conservation fees
This is carried out at Lake Manyara. The activity is only carried out during the day, between 0700hrs and 1700hrs.
Additional fees apart from the Conservation fees
The park offers a high diversity of bird species over 390 birds species both migrants and residents include a thousand of pink-hued flamingos on their perpetual migration as well as other large water birds such as pelicans, cormorants and storks.
What is the bird watching hotspots?
– Hippo pool viewpoints, Boardwalk way at Majimoto and Groundwater forest (the latter for breeding species).
– The best time for bird watching- November to July is an ideal time for bird watching.
– No additional fee for this activity.
- Special campsites
There are 3 campsites namely: Bagayo A and B and Lakeshore. All are located in the middle of the Park.
Pre-booking is mandatory and campers must bring with them all camping gears and food.
- Public campsites:
There are 2 campsites namely; Endabash and Camp number one. Campsite number one is located 100m from the park main gate and Endabash campsite is located in the middle of the park at the edge of Endabash River, 37km from Park main gate. The latter can also be accessed from Iyambi gate (south). Facilities like Flush toilets, Bathrooms and water for cooking are available.
Additional fees apart from the conservation fees
- Bush meals:
There are three bush meals sites in the park namely; Msasa Picnic site, Majimoto picnic site and Endalla picnic sites. This can be arranged through a Tour operator or Hotel.
Additional fees apart from the conservation fees
Lake Manyara National Park is an ideal place for filming, as it offers 7 wildlife habitats with abundant wildlife and diverse tourism attractions.
Filming fee: US $ 250 charged per person/day covers (entrance, camping and filming). This applies to all nationalities.
There are 3 picnic sites (Msasa, Majimoto and Endalla)
Picnic sites are the best areas for taking short breaks and stretching after a long drive. They are also best places for taking packed meals while on game drive. All of them are located strategically to enable visitors to enjoy their meals while having the benefit of a magnificent view of the landscape and wildlife. There is a provision of a flush toilet, benches and tables.
There are two viewing points:
1. Hippo Pool viewpoint
It is a free-standing wooden platform rising by 8feet above the ground. The viewpoint is located 8km from the main gate, while you are on top of this platform you can have a spectacular view of the rift valley wall, marshland, waterfowls and animals such as Hippo, buffalo, wildebeest and zebra. This is one of the few locations where visitors are allowed to alight from vehicles and stretch legs
2. Lake Manyara viewpoint
This viewpoint offers a spectacular panoramic view of the lake (Lake Manyara), Groundwater forest, rift valley escarpment and surrounding landscapes.
- Boardwalk way (Majimoto Boardwalk way)
Maji moto boardwalk way is featured with1.5 meters wide impressive wooden structure, creating a 325 meters long trail standing 1.5meters above the ground winding up in an observation platform that is 15 meters long and 2.5 meters wide. The trail meanders through the hot springs and lakeshore around a marsh and finally into the lake, the boardwalk way gives visitors a unique view and wonderful photo opportunities at every turn of the boardwalk trail.
No additional fee is required.
- Canopy Walkway
This is a new product that is expected to start to operate in October 2016. The structure rises gently from the ground to 17 meters high. The average height is 15 meters.
1. The lake forms the most spectacular sight and waterfowl like a vast number of Lesser Flamingo.
2. Tree climbing Lion.
3. Evergreen groundwater forest in the savanna nurtured by freshwater springs
4. High diversity of species of birds both local and migratory species (more 390).
5. Rift Valley Escarpment forms a unique scenic beauty of the park.
6. Large herd of Elephants and Buffalos
7. Hot springs
8. High population of Hippopotamus
Inside the park:
- Tourist Bandas (park owned)Here is the list of accommodation facilities found inside the Park:-
- Campsites (Public and Special Campsite).
- Youth Hostel (for educational and organized groups)
- Lake Manyara Tree Lodge and Lemala tented camp (Privately owned).
- Outside the park, there are varieties of Hotels, Lodges, campsites and guest houses near villages of Mto wa Mbu, Kigongoni and Kibaoni
- Please love nature, love life remember:-
- Leave the park undisturbed by not introducing or removing anything, animate or inanimate.
- Use designated roads, trails, routes and toilet facilities.
- Bring back all trash you took in (trash in trash out).
- Be considerate to other visitors – do not block their access, disturb them or the animals they are watching.
- Obtain an entry permit from the park entrance gates.
- Deal with registered tour operators with valid TALA license.
- The park gates opens at 0630 hrs and closes at 1800hrs
- Exceed the speed limit of 50 k.p.h. the recommended speed is for game viewing is 25 k.p.h.
- Light or cause a wildfire.
- Disturb the wild animals in any way.
- Take any pets, plant, seed or firearms into the park.
- Uproot, pick, cut, damage, any plant or be in possession of any part of plant from the park
- Make noise, loud music and blow car horn while in the park.