Manyara National Park
"Capture the tree climbing lions"
From whichever direction you approach Lake Manyara National Park, the first view is spectacular. When you approach it from the east, the Rift Valley escarpment looms on the horizon forming an impressive backdrop to the lake. If you come from the west and pause at the top of the escarpment, the park lies in a green strip below you, the lake glistening in the sunlight. You can easily pick out the mosaic of the Park's different habitats. In the tall trees of the ground water forest monkeys leap from branch to branch, on the slope of the escarpment elephants stand in the shade of a baobab. In the acacia woodland lions lie draped along the branches of umbrella trees, in the pools along the lake shore the hippos wallow, and in the lake itself wade colorful flamingos. The large variety of mammals, reptiles and birds in the park and the different types of vegetation, all within a small area make Lake Manyara a diverse and particularly memorable place to visit.
As you approach the village of Mto wa Mbu (Mosquito Creek) from the direction of Arusha the outstanding landmark is the spectacular rift wall. Here, where the Maasai plains give way to the cultivate uplands of Mbululand, lies Lake Manyara National Park, nestled at the base of the escarpment. The park derives its name from the Maasai Word 'Manyara', which is the name for the Plant Euphorbia tirucalli. The Maasai use this plant to grow livestock stockades. Eventually 'Manyara' will produce a stock-proof hedge which is more durable than any made of cut thorn branches. There is a specimen of Euphorbia tirucalli at the entrance gate.
The Great Rift Valley is part of a fault in the earths crust which stretches 8,000 kms from Turkey to the mouth of the Zambezi river in Mozambique. The fault is so massive that when astronauts landed on the moon the rift Valley was clearly visible to them! In the Manyara area there is no eastern wall to the Rift Valley as there is in Kenya. Here the fattish country falls very gently into a depression, while in Kenya the valley has walls to both east and west.
The types of vegetation which occur in the Park are related to the geology of the area. The northern part of the Park, nearest the entrance, is composed mainly of volcanic rock which, being porous, allows many streams of clear water to flow out of the base of the rift wall. Further south, around Msasa River, the volcanic rock gives way to ancient crystalline rock, which is hard and non-porous allowing fewer springs and streams to emerge. Those that do - the Ndala, Bagayo and Endabash - cascade down the entire face of the wall when flowing.
Despite the fact that Lake Manyara National Park is only 325 sq km in area - of which about 230 sq km are lake - it contains a large variety of habitats: the rift wall, the ground water forest, acacia woodland, areas of open grassland, the lake shore, swamp and the lake itself. Due to the variety of Habitats, the park is able to support a large number of species. Below we cover what you will most likely find in particular areas and your accommodation choices for the night around Arusha.
Enjoy animal encounters in your 4x4 safari vehicle and the spend your night camping in a light dome tent, with distant roars of lions and the laughs of hyenas, in designated campsites across the plains of northern Tanzania. A much closer to nature approach for the more adventurous and cost conscious travellers. A personal cook (who will accompany you in your vehicle) will freshly prepare all meals at your campsites.
A private campsite located at the most popular stopover point in the Northern Safari Circuit where there is the colorful market village of Mto wa Mbu, close to the entrance gate of Lake Manyara National Park along the foot of the Great Rift Valley Escarpment and a convenient stopover point from/to Ngorongoro crater as well as Lake Manyara
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Haven Nature Campsite
A private campsite located at a quiet point North of Lake Manyara National Park along the foot of the Great Rift Valley Escarpment. A convenient stopover point from/to Ngorongoro crater as well as Lake Manyara
Explore the Park in your 4x4 vehicle and reach budget lodges (usually outside of the National Parks) for your Dinner and overnights. A perfect choice for those on a tight budget who do not wish to sleep in a tent
Set amid the green foothills of the Highland Forest just outside of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, only a few kilometers from the Lodoale main gate. Eighteen spacious private chalets each feature grand canopy beds, a fireplace and modern bathroom complete with a emersion tub as well as both indoor and outdoor showers. Beautiful hardwood floors accent the warm wood tones of the locally crafted furniture while oversized windows let in cool breezes and warm light.
Bougainvillea Safari Lodge
Just outside of Ngorongoro Conservation area in Karatu. Twenty-four cottages each fitted with mosquito-netted king or twin beds, a fireplace, large bathroom with shower and a veranda from which to enjoy the views of the tropical gardens. Triples are possible with prior notice and two of the cottages can be used as family suites, with connecting rooms. There is a large common area building housing reception, lounge, bar, gift shop and dining rooms. The swimming pool sits in the centre of the property surrounded by the cottages and gardens.
Flamingo Safari Lodge
Just outside of Ngorongoro Conservation area in Karatu. The lodge offers 15 Bandas housing 30 rooms. The lodge is built on a 5 acre land and offers a swimming pool, bar and restaurant. Rooms are available in singles, doulbes and tripples and all are en-suite with hot water provided by solar heating.
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Lake View Diamond Maasai Lodge
A lodge built and owned by Maasai from local rock and thatch. Lodge offers an authentic Maasai feeling and offers a viewing deck over the rift valley, a bar, and dining room. Rooms are available in doubles or twins and all rooms are en-suite with hot/cold running water and western toilets.
Mid range lodge
Explore the Park in your 4x4 vehicle and reach mid-range (equivalent of 3*) properties for your Dinner and overnights. A perfect choice for those on a medium budget.
Lake Manyara Hotel
Lake Manyara Wildlife Lodge is located on the very edge of the western escarpment of the Rift Valley. Great location, both for game viewing and scenery. A two-level ensemble of buildings with traditional African style decorations. All the Lodges's 100 guest rooms have views across the waters of the Lake. There is also a swimming pool available.
Explore the Park in your 4x4 vehicle and reach high range (equivalent of 5*) properties for your Dinner and overnights. For maximum relaxation after a tough day on the roads of Arusha National Park
Lake Manyara Tree Lodge
Ten elegant stilted tree houses are cradled in the boughs of mahogany trees, ensuring privacy for all guests. Built of timber and makuti (palm fronds), the interiors are bleached, earthy and stylishly understated. Rooms are spacious with sitting areas and viewing decks. Ensuite bathrooms with a bath, outdoor shower, twin hand basins and private WC
Lake Manyara Serena Lodge
Featuring a simple timbered reception area, built in traditional African style, which is accessed via a bridge over a small stream. Beyond the reception, lies the central dining room, bar and veranda, below which lies the pool. Perched on the very edge of the cliffs, with views over the lake is the pool bar and observation point. Dotted around the grounds, all with views over the lake, are a series of circular two-storey ‘rondavels', which house the rooms.
Semi permanent/tented camps
Explore the Park in your 4x4 vehicle and reach semi permanent / permanent tented camps for your Dinner and overnight. An incomparable experience under canvas, with en-suites and even electricity at some camps. Truly a night to remember!
Intimate Places Manyara Camp
Each sleeping tent consists of a bedroom measuring 4 metres (13 feet) by 3.5 metres (11.5 feet), a dressing area measuring 4 metres (13 feet) by 1 metre (3.5 feet) and a separate shower and toilet each measuring 2 metres (6.5 feet) by 1 metre (3.5 feet). The dressing area, shower and toilet are all 'open air'. A cover made from 'insect proof' netting ensures that the bathroom and dressing room areas are a sealed unit with your sleeping area so as to keep out unwelcome visitors. Each tent is also provided with enough power for lighting as well as for charging mobile telephones, cameras and laptop computers.
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Kirurumu Manyara Under Canvas
Kirurumu Manyara Lodge is set high on the edge of the Great Rift Valley, with a panoramic view eastward over Lake Manyara, the Rift floor and Mt. Losimingori. Behind Kirurumu, the Ngorongoro Highlands rise in green and fertile splendor and form the gateway to Ngorongoro Crater and, finally, Olduvai Gorge, the Serengeti. There are 27 tented rooms, 2 honeymoon suites and 2 family cottages all with full en-suite bathrooms (with hot and cold running water). Electricity is also available inside of the tent and there is also a Bar with a sun-deck for great views over Lake Manyara.
Maramboi Tented Camp
Maramboi Tented Camp is located between Taranigre and Lake Manyara National Parks. The camp offers views of the Manyara National Park, Rift Valley, Ngorongoro highlands and on clear days even Oldoinyo Lengai. 20 spacious tents built on ample wooden decks and 10 lodge rooms, ideal for families. They all have en suite facilities and private veranda with 24 hours 220V electric lighting.
Maji Moto (Hot Water)
The hot springs, Maji Moto, are hotter than those at Maji Moto Ndogo. The water is about 60oC and reputedly will cook an egg in 30 minutes. Again there are interesting algae growing in the springs.
If you turn and look at the escarpment you may catch a sight of a pair of Klipsringers. These thick-set, rough-coated antelopes are about the size of goats and are adapted for leaping from rock to rock. They stand on the very tips of their narrow, almost cylindrical hooves.
Klipsringers are monogamous and mate for several years, living in their own territory which they mark using scent glands near their eyes. If you see three together, one is likely to be a young animal and may have shorter horns. The klipsringer found here is the Maasai race, in which the majority of females as well as the males are horned.
Tsetse flies, which look like large house flies but with wings crossed at the back, may be troublesome in this area, as they can inflict an unpleasant bite. This species does not, however, carry sleeping sickness.
You will now have reached the southernmost point of the Park and, as there is no exit here, you must return to the north gate. You need not cover the same ground as on your outward trip, but can take advantage of the numerous loop roads which form a network throughout the park.