Lake Manyara

Sometimes pink-tinged with the wings of migratory flamingos, Lake Manyara is home to pelicans and many other aquatic bird species.

Overview

From whichever way you approach this hauntingly beautiful soda lake, your first view of Lake Manyara is spectacular. From Arusha & Tarangire side, the sheer red cliffs of the Rift Valley wall rise several hundred metres to form an impressive backdrop. But from the west on the top of the escarpment, the park lies far below – a long green strip of water glistening in the sunlight. If you are a keen birder, we recommend a safari in Lake Manyara, especially in the summer months.

The Lake Manyara National Park covers an area of 330 sq km of which two-thirds is the lake itself. The lake starred in the film Out of Africa. (Remember the famous scene when the two lovers fly over the escarpment in a tiny  plane?) The rest is a mix of vegetation, open savanna, shady forest glades and fresh water streams.

Lake Manyara Park is only about 1½ hours drive from Arusha. So a safari in Lake Manyara is usually between a visit to Tarangire and the Ngorongoro crater. You can also use the Ngorongoro area as a base for a few nights and visit from there (only 1 hour away).  But, given its accessibility, it does get busy with day visitors during the peak season (dry winter months).
If your time permits, we recommend staying a night or two IN the park so you can venture further south into the park, and enjoy it after the day visitors have left.

Tree-climbing lion in Lake Manyara National Park

Check out the treetop canopy walk in Lake Manyara, a great additional activity to do whilst you are there.

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Features

Why you may love it

  • Aquatic bird species including flamingos & pelicans.
  • Treetop canopy walk.
  • Baboon troops of up to 200 individuals playing and interacting.

When to visit Lake Manyara

Mid-October to March

Summer in Lake Manyara

The Summer offers the warmest temperatures (28C during the day and a pleasant 18C at night). January and February tend to be relatively dry (75mm per month). But this is the best time for birding in Lake Manyara.
AVG RAINFALL 78mm
MAX TEMP 30 ℃ / 86 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉

April to May

Long rains

This is the time of the “long rains’ in northern Tanzania. April is the wettest month and so it’s not an ideal month for safari as it rains on most days. The cold fronts can cause cooler temperatures. May tends to be drier. But it’s much quieter than the later peak months so it’s worth a visit in late May.
AVG RAINFALL 98mm
MAX TEMP 28 ℃ / 82 ℉
MIN TEMP 19 ℃ / 66 ℉

June to mid-October

Dry winter safari season

As the dry season begins again in June, game-viewing becomes rewarding. Temperatures are very pleasant during the day (up to 26C), dry and sunny. It does cool down at night dropping down to 15C. However it starts heating up and gaining humidity in September and October with the approach of the short rains.
AVG RAINFALL 5mm
MAX TEMP 25 ℃ / 77 ℉
MIN TEMP 15 ℃ / 59 ℉

November

Short Rains

November & December is the time of the less intense short rains which usually last around 4 weeks. Afterwards Zebra and wildebeest head to the Rift Valley floor around Lake Manyara. However the rain comes as afternoon or night showers so there’s plenty of sunshine as well. The evenings remain moderately warm.
AVG RAINFALL 80mm
MAX TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉
MIN TEMP 29 ℃ / 84 ℉

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Tasha Eygelaar

Africa Travel Specialist

Hi I'm Tasha, I'm here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience
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  • WildlifeFamous tree-climbing lions
  • BirdingBirders paradise with 380 species recorded

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