Game drive experience at the Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania

The Lake Manyara National Park was our first destination for the Great African Safari Experience in the Northern Circuit of Tanzania. We decided to do half day game drive in the National park and then spend a night over at the Serena Lake Manyara Lodge, before heading off to the Serengeti National Park. Deciding on places to visit during the Safari was definitely not an easy task as there were so options in the Northern Circuit. After a lot of discussion with our safari tour company, Easy Travel & Tours, we decided to include Lake Manyara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro National Park as part of our itinerary.

The Lake Manyara National is located close to Arusha and is one of the smallest National Parks in the Northern Circuit. After an overnight stay at the capital city, Dar Es Salaam, we flew to Arusha early next day. Our tour guide Mr. Deogratius Kinabo picked us up at the airport and after quick briefing on the Safari followed by a picnic lunch, we headed off to the Lake Manyara National Park. It is about an hour and half drive from the Arusha Airport and the drive takes you through some of the most scenic views of the Maasai land.

Enroute Lake Manyara

Once we were inside the park premises our guide quickly completed the entry formalities and then we started with the much-awaited game drive. The park comprises of a Lake Manyara, which is alkaline lake, thick forest and dry lands. As said by our guide, for a Northern Circuit safari, game drive in the Lake Manyara National Park can be termed as the starters for the safari before you head of to explore larger park like Serengeti National Park. I could not contain my excitement thinking about what lay ahead for our evening of fun and adventure.

Drive through the African wilderness

Thanks to Easy Travel, hubby dear and I had a 7-seater Land cruiser all to ourselves, which made our game viewing sessions very special. The vehicle swooped down the narrow mud roads of the forest with our guide parting interesting tidbits about the area and also his previous safari experiences. Within few minutes of the drive, we crossed paths with troop of Baboons and African Elephants leisurely walking down the dusty roads in turn causing brief traffic congestion. In comparison to the Asian elephants, the African elephant has larger ears (which is according to our guide is the shape of African subcontinent) and also longer tusks.

The Baboon troop

Blue Monkey

Our guide then drove us around the dense African jungle towards the lake, making stops to point at the wild animals he spotted along the way. We were lucky to spot Blue Monkey, Gazelles, Waterbuck, Bushbuck and so on. Lake Manyara is known for the wide species of birds inhabiting the park and the pink hued Flamingos are one of the best highlights of the bird watching session. Although we were not lucky enough to spot this gorgeous bird, we enjoyed peaceful time watching the pelicans across the lake along with many other rare African bird species.

Hippo Pool

As the sun was started to set across the horizon, we made it to our last stop, the Hippo Pool to watch the herd of Hippopotamus submerged in the water to avoid the days heat. We waited for a while for the hippos to come out of the water but sadly they were in no mood to get out of the soothing lake water. With a quick detour around the lake, we made our way towards the main gate towards our lodge to rest and charge up for the adventures that lay ahead next day.

Pelican land

Beautiful Impalas

The Lake Manyara National Park was my first glimpse into the African wildlife and it provided me a perfect opportunity to enjoy the beautiful fauna driving through the lush jungles of the park. Although I was disappointed with not being able to spot the famous “Tree Climbing Lions” and the Flamingos during the jungle safari, but there couldn’t have been a better way to start our trip than Lake Manyara.

Bye Bye Lake Manyara!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience at the Lake Manyara National Park, do let us your thoughts regarding the post by commenting on the post below. Also, please subscibe to recieve updates about our future posts!


  1. February 9, 2017    

    Such a fascinating trip! Thanks for sharing! Will add this to my list:)

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      Your welcome :).

  2. February 9, 2017    

    Loved reading this travel blog – beautiful pictures too.
    Tempts me to do the trip too.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      Thank you Vikram, we sure you will enjoy the experience too :).

  3. February 9, 2017    

    Africa takes safari to the next level for sure!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      Yes, it surely does :).

  4. February 9, 2017    

    Wow must have been such a thriller!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      Yep it was amazing :).

  5. February 9, 2017    

    Interesting drive to the smallest national park in the area. Nice to see so many animals in the open.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      Thank you Rajesh

  6. February 10, 2017    

    Lovely lake and green landscapes. And you had that whole vehicle to yourself? So cool.
    Thank you for the trip into the Tanzanian wild. 🙂

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      Your welcome Dee :).

  7. February 10, 2017    

    wildlife adventure tours are always a bliss. Hippos are very shy animals but also very aggressive in case they have their babies around, i remember a story where an tourist was killed by a mother Hippo. The sad part is she was not even aware that the baby is nearby.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      Thats too bad. They looks so calm and content in the pool, a vivid contrast :).

  8. February 10, 2017    

    Fantastic experience! Great way to see the nature in its diversity. Thanks a lot for bringing a bit of Africa closer to me!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      Your welcome Antonina :).

  9. February 11, 2017    

    Nice pictures. Enjoyed reading.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      Thank you Sapna.

  10. February 11, 2017    

    I’ve heard of the Serengeti but never Lake Manyara. The drive into the park on the dusty streets looked a little scary with the African elephants, I love how you brushed them off as traffic congestion! Interesting information about the ears being different, I wonder if the Asian elephants ears as shaped like the Asian continent?

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      Hahah, I highly doubt about the Asian elephant ears :).

  11. February 11, 2017    

    I hadn’t heard of Lake Manyara, but it looks beautiful. And you saw so much wildlife — what a cool experience, even if you didn’t get to see lions or flamingos. You just can’t count on lions ;). I am adding this to my list of places to see! Thanks for the preview.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      Not being able to see the lions or flamingos was the downside of the safari, but then all the incredible wildlife species made up for it :).

  12. February 11, 2017    

    So beautiful, I envy you a bit for such a trip! African Safari is something like a big dream of mine, since I am fascinated about African wildlife since I am a child. Just in the zoo these big animals have been fascinating for me but I can imagine to see them in nature must be an outstanding experience. Pity that you did not see the Tree Climbing Lions, but still there are already so many amazing other animals 🙂

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      Watching these animals in their natural habitat is an incredible experience, hope you get to enjoy this soon :).

  13. February 12, 2017    

    How wonderful that you were able to get so up close and personal to animals, such as the Elephant. And wow to seeing the Hippo Pool – this is so fascinating. I would imagine with the heat, the hippos were happy just chilling out in the water. It sounds like you had a comfortable tour in a 7-seater land cruiser all to yourself!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      It indeed was :).

  14. February 12, 2017    

    Soooo many pelicans … I have never seen so many pelicans! You seem to have had a good sighting day… cheers to that! Loved the picture of the elephant!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      Thank you for the love :).

  15. February 12, 2017    

    I love any safari in Africa and this one looked like a great one! Looks like you got to see a lot on the day – safaris can be so hit and miss with the whole wild animals thing so it’s always mind-blowing (to me at least) to see so much on any given day!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      Yes, we were lucky enough to spot all these animals in just half day of safari.

  16. February 12, 2017    

    I am so jealous 🙂 I did a safari in South Africa but never in any other country. No wonder you look so happy in the car 🙂 It seems the animals you two saw were so interesting and the wildlife there was fantastic. I definitely added it to my list, so thanks for the inspiration.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      It was an incredible experience, thanks for the love :).

  17. February 13, 2017    

    I am yet to do a jungle or desert safari but I know I would love it!

    I have seen quite a lot of flamingos here in the US…hope you see them soon in your future travels. Otherwise, you did see quite a lot of animals!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      I hope so too. Flamingos are such beautiful creatures, wish I could encounter them while I was here.

  18. February 13, 2017    

    wow amazing account of the park and awesome pictures…. I will connect with you as I plan to do Africa this year 🙂

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      Sure, happy to help Shweta :).

  19. February 13, 2017    

    Game driving is such a cool experience, it seems. You’re so lucky you got to try it! It does seem a bit scary when you have lions and elephants to pass by. But I bet it was such a rush! I hope to try it someday!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      Haha, it was scary and exciting at the same time :).

  20. February 13, 2017    

    It’s nice to have the land cruiser all to yourself while enjoying such an incredible experience! Crazy to see elephants with tusks running around–that’s totally on my bucket list! Those baboons are quite a sight as well–it looks like you had a great time!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 13, 2017    

      Yea, having the vehicle to ourselves made a huge difference in our safari as the guide could plan the drives and sightings as per our choice.

  21. February 14, 2017    

    This brings up so many memories of my childhood days. Thanks for sharing this.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 22, 2017    

      Your welcome Soumya :).

  22. February 15, 2017    

    Those are some wonderful sightings!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 22, 2017    

      Thanks you :).

  23. February 17, 2017    

    The pictures speak a lot..

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 22, 2017    

      Thank you for the love Sheeba :).

  24. February 23, 2017    

    Safaris are such perfect places to see animals in their natural space.
    I hate zoo… I’d love to go on a Safari tour someday!
    Love your pictures!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      March 1, 2017    

      Thank you Florence. I am with on watching the animals in their natural surrounding rather than zoos.

  25. February 23, 2017    

    Thank you for sharing. I am adding this destination to my bucket list. OMG! It is getting longer with more beautiful ideas like yours.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      March 1, 2017    

      Thank you Christian :).

  26. February 25, 2017    

    I enjoyed reading about your adventure. Great photos that shows beautiful countryside that I am pretty sure were so much better to see in person. Too bad hippos were not in a mood to show up, though. Happy travels!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      March 1, 2017    

      Thank you Elena. Hippos had no intention of getting out of the water that day because of the heat :(.

  27. February 27, 2017    

    You guys were so lucky to spot so many wild animals along the way.It’s indeed too bad that you couldn’t spot the tree climbing lions but all those other animal seem to have made up for it.Gorgeous pictures and a beautifully written article.Loved reading this!

  28. February 28, 2017    

    I soooo want to go for safari somewhere. It’s one of my biggest wishes ever. Hopefully this or next year. I’m definitely check out all of these parks!

  29. March 1, 2017    

    A safari experience is high up on my bucket list. Thank you for sharing so many beautiful photos and your experience! I’m envious that you got to spot so many wild animals 🙂

  30. March 1, 2017    

    Sounds like an exciting adventure. Have surely amazed us to no ends and we are just turning to look for the prices for tickets to Africa. Loved your pictures.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      March 9, 2017    

      Thank you Harsh :).

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