Lake Manyara Wildlife 


Lake Manyara is one of the smallest national parks in Tanzania, so you might be wondering which animals you can see here. While spotting the Big 5 is not always possible, Lake Manyara has unique wildlife viewing opportunities. 


The main large animal you’ll spot in Lake Manyara is elephants. Lion sightings are rare, but when you see them, they’re often high up in the trees. 


Since Lake Manyara has more of a forest landscape than dry savannahs, there are more birds than in other parks like Tarangire and Serengeti.


If you’re heading to Lake Manyara, here is a quick guide on what to expect for wildlife viewings! 

Common Animals in Lake Manyara 

Here are the animals you’re most likely to see in Lake Manyara:


  • Elephants 

  • Giraffes 

  • Hippos 

  • Buffalos 

  • Zebras 

  • Wildebeests 


Of all the animals above, elephants are the most abundant. You can see them in every part of the park, so you’re safari guide will not have to search for them. 


Since they are so abundant, you can also get some amazing photos of them. Many safari travellers to Lake Manyara have close encounters with elephants that they will remember forever. 


Hippos are also very common. There are several pools in Lake Manyara where they like to lounge in the water away from the sun. 

Rare Animals in Lake Manyara 

Although there is wildlife abundance in Lake Manyara, there are many animals that are rare to spot here. If you want to see the Big 5 or rhinos, you’ll need to combine your Lake Manyara safari with other northern circuit parks like Serengeti. 


While in Lake Manyara, these animals are harder to see:


  • Leopards

  • Wild dogs

  • Cheetahs 

  • Lions 

  • Hyenas 


Hyenas and lions are easier to find than leopards, wild dogs, and cheetahs. Your safari guide will take you to various parts of the park so you get the best chance to spot the rarer animals. 


Black and white rhinos do not live in Lake Manyara, so you’ll need to head to another park to get a chance to see them. 

Other Animals in Lake Manyara 

While the above animals are what most people come to the national parks of Tanzania for, many other species are found in Lake Manyara. 


Monkeys can be seen throughout the park, but mostly live around the entrance. Your safari guide will park the safari vehicle still around this area so you can snap some pics of them. Blue monkeys and Olive Baboons are the most common monkey species in Lake Manyara. 


Bushbucks and Klipspringers are also easy to spot especially in the parts of the park where there is abundant undergrowth. 

Birds in Lake Manyara 

Lake Manyara is one of the best national parks in Tanzania for bird watching. There are more than 400 species in the park and you can spot hundreds all on the same day, especially during the wet season. 


Water birds are also common here and can be spotted around the watering holes. Pink-backed pelicans are the most common water-associated bird in the park. 


Thousands of pink flamingoes can also be spotted in Lake Manyara and certain prey birds are also common. 


The most common birds in Lake Manyara include:


  • Silvery Cheeked Hornbill 

  • Little Bee Eater 

  • Glossy Ibis 

  • Black Heron

  • Martial Eagle 


While most people recognize the bird names above, there are other species of birds that only avid watchers will know:


  • Absim’s Stork

  • African Fish Eagle

  • Crowned Eagle

  • Great White Pelican 

  • Grey Crowned Crane

  • Hottentot Teal

  • Saddle-Billed Stork

  • Spur-Winged Goose

  • Yellow-Billed Stork

  • And hundreds of others! 


Lake Manyara is by far the best national park to visit if you’re an avid birder and are looking forward to seeing as many bird species as possible. Make sure to bring your binoculars for the best chance of seeing them up close!

When is the Best Time to Come to Lake Manyara for Wildlife Viewing? 

Lake Manyara has wildlife viewing opportunities all year round. Most animals are easier to spot in the dry season which runs from June to October. The trees and bushes are shorter and thinner during this season making animals easier to spot. 


Since the sun is harsh, many animals gather around the watering holes to stay hydrated. Your safari guide will spend a lot of time driving you around the pools so you can see all the animals lounging. 

When is the Best Time to Come to Lake Manyara for Bird Watching? 

Unlike the best time for general wildlife viewing, bird watching is better done in the wet season which is November through April. Migratory birds also come during this season so you can see birds from North Africa and Europe. 


Bird breeding also happens during this season for many of the species. 

Lake Manyara Safaris

Lake Manyara is in the northern circuit of national parks in Tanzania. You can head to just Lake Manyara or you can visit all the northern parks including Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Tarangire National Park!


Lake Manyara has wildlife viewing all year and is ready to welcome you for a safari! It’s also the first stop when coming from Arusha making it easy to access! 


Book your Lake Manyara safari today and get ready to explore the diversity of Tanzania!


OUR BEST SELLING TOURS IN Lake Manyara National Park