Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania is one of the most underrated wildlife viewing parks in all of Africa. It is true that Lake Manyara is not the largest in size, and the variety of animals is not the most diverse of all the country’s parks. Yet this park is still a spectacle for wildlife: travellers can watch the mesmerising tree-climbing lions and touching elephant families roaming together. Lake Manyara National Park is proof that great things do come in small packages.

  • Best Time to Go

    June - October

  • Average Safari Cost

    $200-$600 pp/day. Park fee: $45 (adults), $15 (children)

  • Highlights

    Brilliant animal and bird watching opportunities, pink flamingos and pelicans are present, the Big Five can be spotted, the park is situated on a very special landscape and there are fantastic tree lodges for visitors to stay in.

Why Visit Lake Manyara National Park

Boasting one of the highest biomass densities of large mammals in the world, the Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania offers a very special experience for any traveler. You are at once confronted with the diversity of Africa in the geography of the park: savannahs to evergreen forest to tan plains - Manyara has it all to show. It also boasts the opportunity to watch the famous tree-climbing kind and have an intimate viewing experience with the majestic elephants who live in the park too, alongside giraffes, hippos and zebras.

Pros and Cons

  • Pink flamingos and tree-climbing lions
  • Intimate and relaxed viewings of elephants
  • Very special and of top quality for other wildlife and bird watching
  • An astounding and varied landscape and scenery
  • The opportunity to participate in canoe safaris and a treetop walkway
  • Also present are monkeys, adding to the quality of the park
  • It gets crowded in the peak season afternoons
  • It is not as large as other parks
  • It gets quite cold on morning drives during the dry season

Best Time to Go

We recommend visiting the Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania at any time of year, but encourage doing so during the dry season in particular. The months of June through to October (dry season) offer the best wildlife viewing conditions: thinner vegetation means animals are easier to spot and animals tend to congregate at water sources at this time of year, making tracking them down easier too. The only real issue you may have with visiting the park during the dry season is that it does tend to get quite crowded due to it being the peak season for tourism. However, this definitely does not damage the quality of your trip to Lake Manyara, so don’t get too hung up on having to share the park with other wildlife enthusiasts!

During the wet season, the months of November through to May, visibility is hindered by thicker vegetation, but the scenery is enhanced. Luscious greenery is in full swing, meaning this time of year is great for avid photographers. It is also great for bird watchers due to the increased number of birds at Lake Manyara due to it being the time for migration. Take note, though, that roads during the wet season are oftentimes difficult to move along due to mud and rain, which can hinder the trip. Despite this, Lake Manyara National Park still offers superb wildlife viewing all year round.

Start your African Adventure

Wildlife and Birds

Animals at Lake Manyara National Park are truly stunning. They create an authentic African safari experience due to the presence of the Big Five and the bonus additions of charming flamingos and cheeky monkeys. Each animal at Manyara makes the park even more appealing to visit due to their own very distinctive habits which visitors can observe during their stay.
List of Animals
  • Lion
  • Elephant
  • Cheetah
  • Leopard
  • Hippo
  • Buffalo
  • Hyena
  • Giraffe
  • Wildebeest
  • Zebra
  • Baboon

Rare Animals

  • Leopard, cheetah, hyena

Frequently Seen Animals

  • Lion, elephant, giraffe, hippo, zebra, buffalo, wildebeest, baboon

Over 400 species of bird have been recorded at Lake Manyara National Park - and each one is unique, bringing its own personality and colour to the park. They are special creatures, best viewed in the wet season, though the bright pink flamingos can be seen at any time, unlike in many other parks across northern Tanzania.

Endangered Birds

  • Amani sunbird, Cape gannet, Pemba green pigeon, White-winged apalis, Eastern imperial eagle

Endemic Birds

  • Loveridge’s sunbird, Rufous-winged sunbird, Pink-backed pelicans, Black egret, Baglafecht Weaver, Crowned eagle

Getting There and Safety

As Lake Manyara National Park is located on the Northern Circuit of the safari circuit in Tanzania, you should fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). From there your tour operator will usually pick you up and transport you to your accommodation. You should also check your country’s visa requirements, though you can, in most cases, acquire one upon arrival in Tanzania.

For the flights to Tanzania, it is advised to check Skyscanner (for multiple destination flights), to see which airlines can take you there and compare various ticket prices.

If you are based in the UK and Europe, check out these flights to Tanzania.

If you are based in the USA and Canada, check out these flights to Tanzania.


For more information on visas see our Tanzania Safari - Complete Country Guide.


Check your local travel health authority for more information:

Travel Insurance

Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all safaris in XXXXX. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.

Check World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of your safari trip cover.

What to Pack

For more details on what to pack see our Safari Packing List.