Lake Manyara National Park | Background Info

Lake Manyara National Park is a birder’s heaven (it’s frequented by 300 migratory avians), and the water from its Crater Highlands-supplied springs makes it a forested redoubt for all the most glamourous large mammals, including the famed Manyara tree-climbing lions (it’s a little irreverent, but tree-lounging might be a better description).

If you’ve seen Out of Africa (if not: you owe it to yourself) you’re familiar with Lake Manyara. It’s the lake that Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen fly over in a biplane, the lake that heart-thumpingly seems to burst into life, when tens — hundreds! — of thousands of flamingos lift from its waters.

Discover Lake Manyara National Park

Park Highlights

Lake Manyara is a shallow alkaline lake at the base of the western stretches 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.

The park has excellent game densities and is perhaps best known for its tree-climbing lion, often found sprawled in the branches of sausage trees. There are big troops of olive baboon and blue monkeys, prolific elephant, buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe and zebra as well as a whole host of smaller animals. Birdlife in the park is superb, with almost 400 species recorded. There are iridescent bee-eaters, silvery-cheeked hornbills and on the lake you’ll often find white pelicans as well as the flocks of flamingo.

Flora and Fauna

Lake Manyara is endowed with various bird species including water fowls and migrants, some of the birds you can see while there are pink flamingoes, crested guinea fowl, crowned eagles, silver cheeked hornbills and many more

Lake Manyara national parks offers unique wildlife experience, the park is filled with animals such as; elephants, impalas, cheetahs, African wilddogs, giraffes, zebras, lions, buffalos, water bucks, warthogs, klipspringer and hippopotamus. The park can be explored during morning, afternoon and evening time for wildlife watching.

The park is also known for several troops of baboons than anywhere else in Tanzania and the world as whole, tourists can also spot other primates like the Syke monkeys, Egyptian mongoose, short eared galago and cape clawless otters to mention a few

One of Tanzania’s smaller wildlife reserve, Lake Manyara National Park is spectacular scenic and incredibly diverse. Although only a third of the park consists of dry land, the reserve boasts a higher diversity of plant and animal species than the far larger Serengeti.


Established to protect the vast elephant herds that the area is known for, Manyara features an incredible wealth of habitats, from soaring groundwater forest to acacia tortilis woodland, a tranquil soda lake, bubbling hot springs and the steep escarpment of the Rift Valley. The Great Rift Valley is at its most impressive here, with a precipitous drop of about 500 m (1 600 feet) to the flamingo-rimmed lakeshore.

Lake Manyara’s thick forests are a unique and surprising habitat for sightings of lion, which are known to climb and lounge in the trees, as well as hunting on the grassy shores of the lake. Other wildlife includes large herds of buffalo, endangered African wild dog, cheetah, Maasai giraffe and impala. Troops of several hundred olive baboon can be encountered in the park, which is also home to Syke’s monkey, short-eared galago, Cape clawless otters, Egyptian mongoose, hippo and klipspringer.

lake manyara national parkBirds at the Lake Manyara National Park