Lake Manyara National Park is a Tanzanian national park located both in Arusha Region and Manyara Region, Tanzania. The two administrative regions have no jurisdiction over the parks. The park is governed by the Tanzania National Parks Authority. The majority of the land area of the park is a narrow strip running between the Gregory Rift wall to the west and Lake Manyara, an alkaline or soda-lake, to the east.
The park consists of 330 km2 (130 sq mi) of arid land, forest, and a soda-lake which covers as much as 200 km2 (77 sq mi) of land during the wet season but is nearly nonexistent during the dry season.
Lake Manyara National Park is known for the flamingos that inhabit the lake. During the wet season they inhabit the edges of the lake in flocks of thousands but they are not so present during the dry season.
More than 400 species of birds inhabit the park and many remain throughout the year. Because of this Lake Manyara National Park is a good spot for bird watching. Visitors to the park can expect to see upwards of 100 different species of bird on any day.
Leopards, lions, cheetahs, elephants, blue monkeys, dik-dik, gazelles, hippopotami, Masai giraffe, impala, zebras and many more wild animals inhabit this park and many can be seen throughout the year. There is a hippo pond at one end of the park where visitors can get out of their cars and observe from a safe distance. The leopards and lions are both known to lounge in the trees while not hunting for prey.
At the base of the River valley Escarpment is a small park, Lake Manyara National Park. Unlike the more Savanna dominated parks, its ground water forests give you superior change of the scenery.
It is good to watch wildlife all year long in Lake Manyara National Park but the best time is during the dry season which runs from late June to September.
In the high season, the northern section of the park is very crowded especially in the mornings for most of the year that is to say in July to March. April and May describes the low season.
The months of June to October usually have few rains hence with the best weather whereas the worst weather is expected in March and April which is the peak of the wet season. June to September offers the best time to go as it is easier to view animals then.
The Dry Season
This is experienced during the months of June to October .Animals gather around water sources with thin vegetation where they are easier to find. There are lots of sun with little rains and since mosquitoes are very few, there are slighter chances of contracting malaria.
It tends to get cold in the mornings and you are therefore advised to bring warm clothes for game drives in June through August.
The Wet season
Being a wet season, November to May gets the scenery green and abundant .Generally, the rates are lower since the place is usually less crowded during the low season in the months of April and May.
Even when the game is much easier to view during the dry season, Lake Manyara National Park still provides a good viewing of the wildlife throughout the year.
Many migratory birds are found during the wet season, hence making it the best time for bird watching.
Due to the rains, roads may become very hard to travel since March to May is the peak of the wet season.
It is very easy to access Lake Manyara National Park .It is just about 1 and a half hours drive from Ausha.Some of the northern parts of the park usually get very busy especially during the afternoons. You are advised to stay within the park or spend a few nights nearby so as to enter the park very early for a full day safari.
All through the year, it is very easy to access this park, but it is usually best during the dry season, in the months of July to October which is the best for large mammals, where as the best time for birds is the wet season, between November to June.
From Arusha a road safari takes you about 1 to 2 hours to get to the entrance gate. The whole of the access road is surfaced while the inner roads may require you to use a good 4 wheel drive and a very good clearance. You may use the arranged charter flights or the bus especially while going to the gateway of Mto Wa Mbu village.