Lake Manyara National Park is considered as an all year round Tanzania safari destination however the dry season from June to October is considered the best time for game viewing.
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.
In the peak tourist season, the northern section of the park is very crowded especially in the mornings for most of the year that is to say in June to October; however in the months of March and April the park is experiencing rains which makes it the low tourist season.
Lake Manyara Weather
Lake Manyara National Park experiences two main seasons in a year and that is the dry season and wet season each of these coming with its unique rewards as highlighted below.
The Dry Season
The park experiences the dry season during the months of June to October, and this is also referred to as the peak tourist season. The short dry season comes in January and February with large number of tourists flooding the park which results into more costly safari tours as the demand on accommodation is generally high. During that time of the year, the animals gather around the few remaining water sources and because the vegetation is thin they can easily be spotted. This time of the year is also highly recommended to visit as there is a lot 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 the early morning game drives during this time of the year. The dry season is not a recommended time to visit especially for holiday makers wishing to travel yet on a low budget.
The Wet season
The wet season in Lake Manyara National Park is experienced from November to May. The coming of the rains bring life to park’s terrain, with the dried vegetation thriving again and a beautiful green scenery unveils yet again. Generally, the rates are lower since the place is usually less crowded during the low season in the months of April and May. Although the best views of wildlife are enjoyed during the dry season, Lake Manyara National Park still provides good viewing of the wildlife throughout the year. Many migratory birds are seen in the park during the wet season, hence making it the best time to see the Lake Manyara birds.
The short rains begin in November to December and at that time of the year it is generally hot with average temperatures of 35C / 95F presenting with short thunderstorms in the afternoons / evenings. This is proceeded with the long rains that begin in March. Due to the rains, most roads in the park may become very hard to traverse especially in the months of March, April and May when Lake Manyara np is experiencing the heaviest rains.
This is the best time to enjoy a Budget Tanzania Safari since there are fewer tourists visiting the park and most of the accommodation facilities are offering great discounts which lowers the overall cost of a safari in Lake Manyara National Park at this time of the year.
The best time for viewing large mammals in Lake Manyara National Park is in the dry season from June to October and January to February, and then bird watching can best be done during the wet season from November to December and from March to May.
How to get to Lake Manyara National Park
From Arusha a road safari takes you about 1 to 2 hours to get to the entrance gate. The entire road to the park is well surfaced while the inner roads may require you to use a good 4 wheel drive vehicle. As you approach the northern park entrance, you will drive through the Mto wa Mbu town where you can visit the local market in that area. This town is home to a number of indigenous tribes who since the colonial times have lived and traded here. These include: the Maasai, Tatoga, Irangi, gorowa and the Chagga people.
All through the year, it is very easy to access this park, but it is usually best to go during the dry season, in the months of July to October when the inner roads are dry and very passable.