10 to 30 square miles
Flamingo, Hippo, Lilac-Breasted Roller, Grey-Headed Kingfisher, Long-Crested Eagle
Lake Manyara National Park is one of the finest and most interesting parks of Tanzania with a large number of wild animals. The park covers only 330 km2 – small compared to other Tanzanian parks – of which two-third is water. Like most other lakes of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara is a shallow soda lake that is fed by groundwater and depending on the season varies in size. The rest is a thin strip of land located between the lake and the rocks and which can only be reached by a few roads. The park and the lake owe their name to the manyara-scrub, which is used by the Maasai to protect their fields. Near the entrance to the park you will find the manyara-scrub. The first part of the park consists of dense forest with high trees, including mahogany trees, crotonic, fig trees and various types of palms. Around the dense undergrowth of wild flowers are countless butterflies. This part of the park is not as suitable for spotting game, because it is very difficult to look through the dense forest.
When you drive further into the park, you can see groups of anubis baboons and sykes monkeys play along the side of the road. Bushbucks will appear out of the bushes and it is very possible you may bump into an elephant on the road. Elephants often use the road so that they do not have to go through the thick bush. Also remember to look up once in a while. Just like in Tarangire, the lions are sometimes in the trees and also a lot of leopards live in this area (though you have to be lucky to spot them). If the big cats can not be found in the trees, there are a lot of birds to spot in the trees.
The further you go in the park, the drier it gets. Gradually the forest opens up and the vegetation changes, with a lot of baobab trees. The change in vegetation also results in other types of game. In this part of the park buffalo, wildebeest, zebra and giraffe have their home. In the air, eagles are looking for a prey. On the south side of the park there are a number of steamy hot springs whose chemicals have given the surrounding land the colours
Dry season –June to October
June, July, August, September & October – Afternoon temperatures are usually around 24°C/75°F. Fair skies and sunshine are common. It is possible for the short rains to begin in October. Average evening temperatures get as cold as 14°C/57°F, and close to freezing is possible. This cold weather remains in the morning, so be sure to bring plenty of warm clothes for early game drives.
Wet season –November to May
Temperatures remain mild during the Wet season, peaking in the afternoon around 27°C/81°F. Night time temperatures are around 16°C/61°F.
November & December – ‘Short rains’ – These rains last about one month and can occur anytime between November and December. Afternoon showers may occur, but it is unusual for it to rain all day so it will have little impact on your trip. Temperatures during the day peak at about 27°C/81°F while the night and early morning are around 16°C/61°F.
January & February – A period of dryness is likely between the two rainy seasons, although the timing is hard to predict.
March, April & May – ‘Long rains’ – Although it rains daily during the wettest months, it is unusual for it to last the whole day. Clouds are usually present. The average peak temperature is 26°C/79°F, while the average low is around 16°C/61°F. It is possible for it to get even closer to freezing due to cold fronts.
Size: 330 sq km (127 sq miles), of which up to 200 sq km (77 sq miles) is lake when water levels are high.
Location: In northern Tanzania. The entrance gate lies 1.5 hours (126km/80 miles) west of Arusha along a newly surfaced road, close to the ethnically diverse market town of Mto wa Mbu.
How to get to Lake Manyara
By road, charter or scheduled flight from Arusha, en route to Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.
Game drives, night game drives, canoeing when the water levels is sufficiently high.
Cultural tours, picnicking, bush lunch/dinner, mountain bike tours, abseiling and forest walks on the escarpment outside the park.