Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara is really two lakes. Well, it is depending on the time of year you visit. In the dry season, with the water level low, it basically splits in two.

Lake Manyara National Park Elephant
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Filed Under: Tanzania

Lake Manyara is really two lakes. Well, it is depending on the time of year you visit. In the dry season, with the water level low, it basically splits in two.

The northern end, where the Simba River feeds in, is swampy with fresh(-ish) water. There are reeds, plants, and lots of wildlife. Hippos soak in the muddy water, and zebras, wildebeests, and impala graze.

The other end looks very different: a vast, flat, featureless plain from the alkaline water. Lake Manyara is, after all, basically a salt lake (or, more properly, a soda lake). The grass, such that there is, is low. Only a few giraffes and wildebeests wander through the hazy heat.

Ernest Hemingway called Lake Manyara “the loveliest [lake] … in Africa.”

The National Park, which is relatively small compared with the nearby Tarangire National Park and very different from Ngorongoro Crater, also nearby, is famous for its climbing lions and troops of baboons. You’ll see plenty of baboons, although the lions are harder to catch a glimpse of (as are the leopards). And the thick jungle near the park entrance is the ideal habitat for blue monkeys and hundreds of varieties of birds.

Photos of Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park Elevated View
A view from up on the ridge overlooking the national park. The lake is off to the left, mostly out of the frame. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lake Manyara National Park Blue Monkey
A Blue Monkey. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lake Manyara National Park Creek
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lake Manyara National Park Solitary Giraffe
A solitary giraffe wanders along the edge of the lake. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lake Manyara National Park Baboons
Baboons taking over the road. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lake Manyara National Park Dirt Road
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lake Manyara National Park Do Not Feed Animals
Good advice. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lake Manyara National Park View
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lake Manyara National Park Elephant
The elephant had wandered over to take a closer look (while the truck was stopped). Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lake Manyara National Park Silvery-cheeked Hornbill on a Tree
A Silvery-Cheeked Hornbill. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lake Manyara National Park Scenery
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lake Manyara National Park Three Giraffes
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lake Manyara National Park Tourists Watching Giraffes
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lake Manyara National Park Two Giraffes
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lake Manyara National Park Acacia Trees and Dirt Road
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lake Manyara National Park Silvery-cheeked Hornbill
Silvery-cheeked Hornbill. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com

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David Coleman / Photographer
by David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my gear reviews and tips here. More »