Best Attraction to visit in Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park Tanzania

One of Northern Tanzania’s smallest but most picturesque parks; Lake Manyara National Park is situated at the base of the Rift Valley escarpment. The lake is often covered in flocks of pink lesser flamingos, and is surrounded by marshland where hippo and buffalo wallow in the shallows. It is found in the Northern part of Tanzania and the entrance gate is 126 Kilometers west of Arusha on a newly tarmacked road. This park is 330 sq km of which up to 200 sq km is made up of the lake.

Baboons frolic on the grass, squabbling amongst themselves, while vervet monkeys swing through the trees. The vegetation around Lake Manyara feels much more tropical, with grassy floodplains, acacia woodland and hot springs to explore. Aside from the lake, the area is most famous for its tree-climbing lions, but there is plenty of other wildlife to enjoy too, including elephant, zebra and giraffe. Bird life is also superb, with almost 400 recorded species, including the flashy, multi-colored bee-eaters and silvery-cheeked horn bills.

The place is very small in size, and a majority of the area is covered by the lake itself, but it still hosts as many as 11 ecosystems and a vast and varied wildlife. The groundwater forest surroundings at Lake Manyara offer a much-needed break from African Savannah. Tree-climbing lions are the superstars here, but predator sightings are difficult. A close encounter with hundreds of elephants is the next best thing. There’s also a shallow alkaline lake at the base of the western stretching 50 kilometers along the base of the rusty-gold 600-metre high of the Rift Valley Escarpment. It glitters in the sun and is often covered in cloud upon cloud of pink lesser flamingos. In the deeper areas of the lake small pods of hippo bask, ears flickering, with egrets resting on their backs. Surrounding the lake is a particularly pretty park with a variety of habitats, including grassy floodplains, groundwater forest, acacia woodland and the rocky base of the escarpment.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit this park is June, July, August, September and October when the country is at its driest although the mornings are colder.  At this time, it is easier to watch the wild animals as they gather to around the water holes to take some water. More favorable also, during this period, the vegetation is not very dense. This is when also the great migration gets ready to cross the river.

How to get there:

The best option to get to Lake National park is by taking a domestic flight from Arusha town to either Kilimanjaro International Airport which is 46 kilometers from Arusha town OR by flying into Julius Nyerere International Airport which is in Dar es Salam and then takes a charter flight to either Arusha or Kilimanjaro international airport.

Alternatively, one may decide to go by road heading to the southwest of Arusha. This is a distance of 126 Kilometers on a well paved road. Some tourists opt to land in Nairobi and then connect to the park by shuttle bus which goes up to Arusha town.

Things to Do in Tanzania

Game drives: This is a must to do in Lake Manyara National park as the park is famous for it’s abundant wildlife that is present both during the day and in the night. The diverse ecosystem allows gives freedom to the big cats both during the day and the night. The park is best known for it’s tree climbing lions that usually rest in the sausage trees. There are also big troops of baboons and monkeys, a reasonable number of elephants, Zebras, wildebeests, giraffes and also buffalos. One can also catch up with the wildebeest thundering across the Serengeti during the Great Migration.

Lake Manyara Tree top Walk way: This activity allows you adventure on a 370 Meters high walk in the air. This walk that lets you pass right among the treetops gives you a clear and spectacular view of the forest canopy. It is done on Short board walks which eventually rise in an altitude that lead to specific bridges that have nets on both ends.

Birding: Lake Manyara National park has over 400 species of birds that also includes the migratory ones from Euroasian locations. Of the 400 species, 3 of them are endangered and unique to Tanzania while most of them migrate from Lake Manyara and the famous Lake Natron. Most common birds in this region are the flamingos, Pink lesser, Grey crowned crane and the Fischer’s sparrow lark.

Adventure: For adventurous and nature lovers, Lake Manyara National Park allows you to go canoeing on Lake Manyara. While on the canoe, one gets to see some of the aquatic species of birds, not missing out on the pink flamingos. Closer still while on the canoe, one gets to watch elephants and a good number of giraffes as they come to take water from the lake.

Visit Maasai Community: This park is being surrounded by the Maasai people. With their rich culture, they still stay in the circular huts made of straw and mud. These houses are referred to as Bombas. This is one of the very few tribes in Tanzania that has kept their culture rich and still warm. Travellers may decide to taste the local cuisine and join them in the dancing as they experience the real African feel.

Sample Lodges

Lake Manyara Serena safari Lodge: Located 130 kilometers from Arusha town and only 5 kilometers to the park gate, this lodge is found outside the park but on the edge of Mto Wa Mbu escarpment. While at this lodge, travellers get a very good view of Rift valley and it’s soda lake. It has 67 rooms that where designed like the Maasai huts with each having en suite bathroom, private Verandah, telephone, WiFi and hair dryer. Other facilities and services offered include outside dining terrace, a swimming pool, a tented conference room a curio shop among others.

Lake Manyara Wildlife Lodge: This is located on the edge of the Rift Valley escarpment approximately 130 kilometers from Arusha town. While at this lodge, one gets a very good view of Lake Manyara national park and the near Soda Lake. It is only 10 minutes’ drive to Manyara airstrip. It has a total of 100 rooms with en suite bathrooms, private verandahs, coffee making facilities, telephone etc. Other facilities include an internet café, TV lounge, business center, a swimming pool and a restaurant that overlooks the lake and the rift valley.

Lake Manyara Tree Lodge: Found on the Southern border of the park and located 150 kilometers form Arusha town, this lodge consists of 10 spacious tree houses built from local timber and palm fronds. The rooms are spacious enough and give comfortable and breathtaking views of the surrounding environment. Among the facilities and services offered include a dining area, private viewing deck, night game drives, picnics and breakfast on the lake shore, bird watching and also free massages.

Kirurumu Manyara Lodge: It’s situated 140 km from Arusha town, this lodge is set high up on the edge of the Rift Valley Escarpment. It is also 20 minutes away from Lake Manyara National Park. There are 27 tented rooms with wooden Verandahs and en suite bathrooms. There’s a bar and restaurant with a good view of the rift valley, guided walks to the Maasai cultural village, a curio shop, a boutique among others.

Migunga Forest Camp: Located 120 kilometers from Arusha town, this camp is on 35 acres of acacia forest and only 5 minutes’ drive from Lake Manyara National park. It consists of 21 luxury tents built on raised platforms with private verandahs and attached bathrooms. The facilities at this camp include a well-stocked bar and restaurant with a reading area and services offered include guided walks, mountain biking and camp fire.

Burudika Lodge: Located 113 Kilometers from Arusha town and only 30 minutes’ drive to the main gate of Lake Manyara National Park. Also found in Jangwani Wildlife corridor of Mto Wa Mbu Game Controlled Area. The Lodge has 5 bandas each with a shower and toilet. Inside furnishings of the rooms are simply decorated with interwoven wood and sisal ropes. Each Banda has a private verandah that offers spectacular view of the lake and the Great Rift Valley. Facilities and services include a bar, Curio shop, and cultural visits to the Maasai ethnic group. On weekends, visitors may decide to have meals under the acacia tree shades.

Best Attraction to visit in Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania

Ngorongoro Crater  Tanzania

Welcome to Ngorongoro crater  Tanzania the top Safari destination mostly visited by tourists that explore the great Serengeti National Park in Tanzania , Find all the information about Ngorongoro craters , getting there , where to stay & Safari Lodges, Accommodations and reliable tour operators in the Tanzania.

Ngorongoro Crater Facts

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is found on the eastern edge of the Serengeti. This site houses the Ngorongoro Crater – the world’s sixth-largest intact volcanic caldera – and Olduvai Gorge-a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Ngorongoro crater itself measures 2,000 feet and it covers up to 100 square miles. It covers over 8,000 square kilometers and at its heart is the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact and un flooded volcanic caldera. About 20 kilometres across with 600-metre-high walls, it provides an extraordinary natural sanctuary for some of Africa’s densest populations of large mammals.

At the top of the crater rain forest clings to the walls, while far below, thousands of zebra, buffalo, wildebeest and Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle roam. This is the best place in Tanzania to see black rhino, while elephant inhabit the Lerai Forest in the southwest of the crater, and lion and leopard complete the Big Five. There are also lakes and rivers where hippo wallow and birds wade. This incredible combination of scenery and wildlife makes the Ngorongoro Crater an essential part of the northern safari circuit.

Flora and Fauna:

The most unique animal found in this conservation area is the black Rhino which are so extinct that only less than 30 are left nonetheless, area contains over 25,000 large animals of which about 3,000 of these are elands, about 4,000 are zebras and almost 7,000 are wildebeests. Lions, elephants and cheetahs are very few here. Ngorongoro also has rain watered vegetation, lush green and also desert plants. The crater basin is covered with fresh and brackish water lakes, patches of woodland and swamps although besides Lake Eyasi, the bushes are drier.

How to Get There / Getting around Ngorongoro Crater

You can access  Ngorongoro Conservation Area by Road via Arusha to Lodoare entrance gate which is 160 Kilometers. This journey takes you on a tarmac road for about 2 hours. Please note: it is essential to use a 4×4 vehicle as the nature of road with in the park is not the best.

This area can also be accessed by air through flying to Kilimanjaro International Airport then take a shuttle to Arusha and then to Ngorongoro conservation Area.

Best time to visit Ngorongoro Crater

The best time to visit this area is around November to May, this is the time when  wildebeests converge  on the Ngorongoro grasslands outside the crater area, with thousands of newborn. It is an amazing opportunity to take photos. Early morning gives you the best shots. At this time, one can have also have a chance of viewing different animals – a good opportunity to also spot the rare black Rhino and the African Wild dog. The park is open daily from 6 a.m to 6 p.m. An adult is required to pay $50 and children between 5-16 years old pay $10

Things to do in Ngorongoro Crater 

Ngorongoro crater tour: This 19km wide crater is one of the largest calderas in the world. What’s unique about Ngorongoro Crater tour is that the crater is not a lake- and that is extremely rare. The walls of the caldera rise up over 400-600m, providing a stunning and protected enclosure for nature drama to occur. There are plenty of elephants, wildebeests, zebras, buffaloes and gazelles, and they are hunted by the hyenas, lions, jackals, and leopards. A visit to the crater will also bring you closer to the black rhino- a critically endangered animal.

Empakaai Crater: The first time you see the Empakaai Crater, you might not believe your eyes. The alkaline lake in the middle of the crater is surrounded by the steep walls of the caldera, beyond which you can see stunning views of Ol Doniyo Lengai, Tanzania’s active volcano or even the snowy peak of the Kilimanjaro.

Oldvai Gorge: If the Ngorongoro region is known as the ‘cradle of civilization’, the Olduvai Gorge is probably why. Mary Leakey’s famous discovery of ancient human fossils and tools at the Gorge shed a lot of light on the dawn of human history. The birthplace of mankind. Marvel at the ancient elephant bones, fossils and tools that have been dug up here. The Gorge, and the museum, will enlighten you, and make you wonder about your place in history.

Oldonyo Lengai: Also known as the Mountain of God. Oldonyo Lengai  is an active volcano whose last activity was in 2007. It is located 70 miles from Arusha and also 70 miles from the Oldvai Gorge, all in the Northeastern Tanzania. The lake is also surrounded by a green forest that also has fig trees, colorful birds and some blue Monkeys. There’s abundant wildlife that also includes pink flamingos, water bucks, buffalos and bush backs too. This is the third highest peak in Tanzania after Mountain Kilimanjaro and Mountain Meru.

Ngorongoro Safari Lodges  & accommodations

Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge: This lodge located on the eastern part of the Ngorongoro Crater in Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It is only 60 Kilometers from Lake Manyara National Park and 185 Kilometers from Arusha town. It has about 80 spacious rooms that overlook the crater. All rooms have en suite bathrooms, hairdryers, telephone and mini bar. It has a good restaurant and a lounge that offer panoramic view of the crater.

Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge: Also found on the eastern side of Ngorongoro Crater and 215 kilometers from Arusha town, this lodge offers a spectacular view of the crater floor and the western horizon. This lodge has 96 spacious rooms with amenities like a mini bar, a safe deposit box and hair dryer. There’s also a curio shop, business center and a swimming pool.

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge: Located 190 Kilometers from Arusha town, this lodge is in the southern part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. With 3 camps-North,South and the tree Camp, it offers good views of the crater has amenities like in room massage, hair dryers and telephone. Other facilities include having lunch on the crater floor, laundry services, a curio shop and emergency medical evacuation insurance.

Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge: It’s about 200 Kilometers from Arusha town and located on the Western end of the Ngorongoro crater.  The lodge was built in a beautiful way that well blends with the environment and landscape. It has 75 spacious rooms all with en suite bathrooms and private balconies that the view is uninterrupted at all. It has facilities like a direct telephone, free WIFI, 24 hour room service and toiletries. The inbuilt dining and bar areas offer a breathtaking view of the crater below.

Oldeani Ngorongoro Mountain Lodge: This lodge was designed in form of a farm House with 50 suites. It is located in Karatu less than 10 Kilometers from the Ngorongoro Ladoare gate and it set on over 40 acres with nice views of Lake Eyasi corridor, Oldeani Mountains and the Ngongororo Highlands. The facilities at the lodge include outdoor shower, fireplaces, Wi-Fi, a private verandah and Air conditions. There’s also a lounge, bar and restaurant, swimming pool, a gym and Spa, pool table and board games.

Farm House Valley Lodge: This facility is located in Karatu area in the same 500 acre coffee farm as Ngorongoro Farm House although these are two different accommodation facilities. Found less than 5km from Lodoare entrance to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The farm house has 3 Luxury rooms all of which have en suite bathrooms with showers, mosquito nets, telephone and a working desk and charging outlets. The facilities and services offered include a buffet lunch set on the swimming pool side, a camp fire, a nature walk or even a visit to the farm animals and the Maasai culture and customs.

Ngorongoro Farm House: Found 160 kilometers form Arusha town on the same farm land of 500-acre with Farm House Valley Lodge, this lodge was built facing Oldeanai Mountain and it is located only 5 Kilometers from the Lodoare gate that enters Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It has a total of 53 guest rooms /cottages each with a private verandah and en suite bathrooms. It offers facilities and services like a library, lounge, fire place and dining area. There’s also a swimming pool, laundry services are offered, guided walk through the coffee farm, internet café and a curio shop.