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Lake Manyara Hotel.
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  Lake Manyara Hotel
Getting there
Lake Manyara Hotel is a two-hour drive (or 125 km/80 mi) on good to very good tarmac road from Arusha. You pass the entrance to Lake Manyara National Park some twenty minutes before reaching the hotel.
From the hotel, you can reach the Ngorongoro Crater rim in roughly two hours, and the beginning of the crater descent road in half an hour more.
Lake Manyara airstrip is about ten minutes' drive from the hotel.
Lake Manyara map
Lake Manyara map.
Tanzania map
Tanzania map.
  Glossary
Safari glossary
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Tanzania:
Lake Manyara Hotel
Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara Hotel is a tourist class hotel set on the ridge above the Great Rift Valley, just west of Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania. The hotel has a grand view of the rift valley, the lake and the park.

The hotel has some 90 rooms in two floors. Most rooms are normal doubles or twins, but there are also suites and interconnecting rooms for families. All rooms have bathrooms with WC, washbasin and bathtub showers, and a balcony facing the rift valley, although the view may be obscured by trees from some rooms.

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Lake Manyara Hotel is set on the ridge of the Great Rift Valley escarpment.

The restaurant is spacious and, like the bar and lounge, faces the hotel garden. There is a souvenir shop next to the reception. This is one of few hotels where all main facilities are found in on single floor: rooms (at least some of them), reception, bar and restaurant. The bathrooms are small, though, and not made for wheelchair access.

Lush garden
The garden is large and lush, and unlike many lodges in parks, you don't have to worry about meeting dangerous animals. The garden has a terrace, a swimming pool and great views of the Great Rift Valley. Huge numbers of flamingos and pelicans may be seen on the lake or in the air. Elephants, giraffes and herds of buffalos may be spotted in binoculars.

Recent renovation
Lake Manyara Hotel is some 30+ years old. A renovation completed in 2008 seems to have focused mainly on the public areas and kitchen, while the rooms still show wear and tear.

The swimming pool area in Lake Manyara Hotel.

More about Lake Manyara
The national park below the hotel is densely vegetated. The north is covered by groundwater forest, the middle by drier savanna woodland, and the south by shrubs. The dense vegetation makes game spotting harder, while on the other hand offering a good habitat for many animal species. Lake Manyara has the highest elephant density among the Tanzanian parks, and you're likely to see some of the elephants during a game drive in the park.

Lions and other animals
The tree-climbing lions are another attraction. Unlike lions in most other parks, the lions of Lake Manyara regularly spend time in trees, the same way leopards do. Most lions are seen on the ground, though, as they are hard to spot up in the foliage.

Other mammal species seen in the park are baboons, which are often observed in large troops, blue monkeys, giraffes, impalas, buffalos and bushbucks. There are leopards, but due to the vegetation and their secretive habits, they are not seen very often.

View of the national park from the lodge garden.

Bird watching
Bird watchers may enjoy the park a lot. Two trophy birds that are spotted now and then are the monkey-hunting crowned eagle and the giant kingfisher, which is mostly seen along the creeks from the rift valley escarpment. Bee-eaters, African fish eagles and silvery-cheeked hornbills may be seen in the forests, while storks, different species of heron, pelicans and Egyptian geese are found on the lake shores. All in all, Lake Manyara has a bird list of 380 species.

Wildlife seasons
The wildlife population in the park is fairly stable, and doesn't vary much depending on time of year. You may want to avoid the rainy season in April and May. The roads in the park are mostly gravel and are generally good, but some bridges may get flooded and make parts of the park inaccessible.

The largest numbers of flamingos are seen when the water level in the lake is high, i.e. during and after rainy seasons.

Impalas on the shore of Lake Manyara, with flamingos in the background.

Wildlife around the hotel
A steep escarpment separates Lake Manyara Hotel from the national park below, and it's unlikely that dangerous animals from the park should enter the hotel area. Baboons and banded mongoose are often seen roaming the garden, but avoid both staff and guests. If you are quiet and patient, and don't mind losing some sleep, you may be able to spot the nocturnal white-tailed mongoose around the hotel buildings in the middle of the night.

Summary
Lake Manyara Hotel has a relaxed atmosphere and a nice location. The poolside garden is a perfect place for refreshments after a hot day on game drive in the park below. The sunrise over Great Rift Valley can be really beautiful.

Lake Manyara National Park has maybe the best roads among the Tanzanian parks, and getting there from Arusha is no more than two hours. You may combine it with Tarangire (a very good combination during August to October) or the Ngorongoro Crater for a short safari or for a safari avoiding the worst roads. For longer safaris to Ngorongoro and Serengeti, Lake Manyara is en route.

 
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Page updated 17 February 2009