Lake Manyara National Park Hightlights
Stretching for 50km along the base of the rusty-gold 600-metre high Rift Valley escarpment, Lake Manyara is a scenic gem, with a setting extolled by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest I had seen in Africa”. Lake Manyara’s famous tree-climbing lions are another reason to pay a visit to this park. The only kind of their species in the world, they make the ancient mahogany and elegant acacias their home during the rainy season, and are a well-known but rather rare feature of the northern park. In addition to the lions, the national park is also home to the largest concentration of baboons anywhere in the world — a fact that accounts for interesting game viewing of large families of the primates.
The alkaline soda of Lake Manyara is home to an incredible array of bird life that thrives on its brackish waters. Pink flamingo stoop and graze by the thousands colourful specks against the grey minerals of the lake shore. Yellow-billed storks swoop and corkscrew on thermal winds rising up from the escarpment, and herons flap their wings against the sun-drenched sky. Even reluctant bird-watchers will find something to watch and marvel at within the national park.
Pros & Cons
Best Time for Wildlife Viewing
Although Lake Manyara NP offers reasonable wildlife viewing throughout the year, the Dry season, from June to October, is the best time. Wildlife is easier to spot because vegetation is thinner and animals gather around predictable water sources. The Wet season, from November to May, offers the most beautiful scenery, but roads can sometimes become slippery and difficult to negotiate.
Weather & Climate
The climate never overheats at Lake Manyara, where average daytime temperatures peak at around 29°C/84°F in the Wet season (November to May). The pattern in this period is a month or two of ‘short rains’, then a dry spell, then a longer stretch of rain. It’s slightly cooler in the Dry season (June to October). The temperature plummets at night, however. Freezing conditions are rare, but they can happen. The climate in Lake Manyara NP is mild and temperate. Average temperatures are consistent throughout the year. It is very rarely hot enough to be uncomfortable, but it is almost always cold during the evening and early morning. Taking warm clothing along on early morning game drives is recommended. Manyara's Dry season is from June to September. The Wet seasons consist of ‘long rains’, which occur from March to May, and ‘short rains’ occurring from October to November. It rarely rains the whole day:-
It is usually sunny and bright. June, July, August & September – Afternoon temperatures are usually around 24°C/75°F. Average evening temperatures get as cold as 14°C/57°F. This cold weather remains in the morning, so be sure to bring plenty of warm clothes for early game drives. October – It is possible for the short rains to begin in October.
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. 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.
Best Time to Visit
The wildlife watching is good at Lake Manyara practically all year. As a consequence, it’s high season in the park for all but two of the wetter months (April and May). That means maximum prices and lots of tourists. Most people visit the park in the afternoon, so if your itinerary allows it, an early morning visit is highly recommended. Its best visited from late June to October, during the Dry season. However, this very scenic park is at its most beautiful during the Wet season, from November to May, when the vegetation is lush and waterfalls cascade down the escarpment.
Animals are more easily found in the thinner vegetation. Lots of sun and very little rain. Less chance of catching malaria, as the mosquitoes are fewer. Bring warm clothes in June and August as it tends to be cold in the early mornings.
The scenery is green and lush. April and May are low season, so it's usually less crowded with generally lower rates. Although wildlife is easier to spot in the Dry season, Lake Manyara NP offers good wildife viewing throughout the year. Bird watching is best at this time since migratory birds can be found. Roads may become hard to travel due to the rains. March to May is the peak of the Wet season