We headed out early that morning. It was a 3 to 4 hours’ drive from Moshi to the entrance of Lake Manyara National Park and I couldn’t wait to get there and start this 4-day adventure. It was my first safari and I can’t remember the last time I was THIS excited about a trip.

I was the first to be picked up and was soon to discover it was going to be an all-girls trip. Five of us, to be exact, and all of them were amongst the coolest ladies I have ever met. I’d booked a group safari as there was no way on earth I could ever afford a private one traveling solo and because spending 4 days with nobody else but the guide didn’t sound like the best fun. I felt a liiiiiittle bit sorry for our guide and driver Rachid, as the poor guy was definitely going to have a headache after 4 days with these 5 crazy chicas, but we all knew it right from the start: this trip was going to be epic and we were about to have the time of our lives! 

Photo guide - A safari in Tanzania - Lake Manyara National Park

Ever-changing landscapes define the scenery. More than 10 different ecosystems are present in the park, and there’s animals literally everywhere. Depending on the season you’ll get to see more or less of certain species. During rainy season, for example, the shores of the lake are crowded with thousands of flamingos. During dry season they’re a lot more difficult to spot. Oh and have you ever heard of tree-climbing lions? Watch out for them, they’re very hard to see but we were lucky to find two!


As we enter Lake Manyara National Park I’m not really sure what to expect. I’ve heard about the tree-climbing lions but can hardly believe they actually exist, and I don’t really know which animals we’ll be able to spot in which park, nor how many of them. I’m soon to discover the answer: A LOT!!
Photo guide - A safari in Tanzania - Lake Manyara National Park

“Is that a zebra?!?”, one of the girls screams from inside the jeep. 

“Nnnnnope, that’s 7 zebras.”

Rachid hits the break and we all jump up from our seats at the same time. We clearly still need to train our animal spotting radar a bit more, but for now we’ll just fall in love with these cuties.

Photo guide - A safari in Tanzania - Lake Manyara National Park

Look how cute they are when they stand there in pairs, each in a different direction. They actually do this to have a better view of the surroundings and protect each other but I like to tell myself they’re cuddling… #JustTooCute

We continue driving and not much further, BAM. Elephants. Right next to the road. Big five – 1 down, 4 to go, and we’ve only just started!
Photo guide - A safari in Tanzania - Lake Manyara National Park
But of course it’s not only size that matters… Over 400 species of birds can be found in the park, together with a lot of smaller animals. Check these out.

Photo guide - A safari in Tanzania - Lake Manyara National Park
Photo guide - A safari in Tanzania - Lake Manyara National Park
Photo guide - A safari in Tanzania - Lake Manyara National Park

OK let’s be honest. While it might not be the ONLY thing that matters, size does help sometimes, and it’s definitely an asset when you want to try to impress a bunch of girls on safari. We’re definitely on a roll and are able to scratch number 2 – the Cape buffalo – off our big 5 list soon after seeing the elephants. Woooooop! They were very far from the car though, so stay tuned for buffalo pictures from the other parks. 

After staring into our binoculars until our eyes ache – that’s what happens on day 1, even if the animal’s 2 km away and your guide keeps telling you you’ll see plenty more in the next few days, you’ll still want to stop and stare, because well, you never know – we hit the road again. Giraffes are next, and I can’t believe how elegant and beautiful they are.

Photo guide - A safari in Tanzania - Lake Manyara National Park
We don’t get the chance to enjoy the view very long. Rachid just got a call saying there’s a lion sitting in a tree not far from there, and that’s something we definitely don’t want to miss!

Photo guide - A safari in Tanzania - Lake Manyara National Park

We got to see both a male and female lion sitting in a tree. Big 5 – 3/5, and it’s only day one… #LuckyGirls

We skipped a whole part of the park to go see the lions, so we drive back for a while and never seize to be amazed. More elephants, more giraffes, more zebras, … we basically stop every few minutes and it never gets old

A nice drive along the shores of the lake later it’s already time to head to our campsite – we’ve been in the park for several hours – and while it feels as if the day’s only just started, we realize we’ve been very lucky. Lions, buffalo’s, elephants, giraffes, zebras, monkeys, birds, antelopes, … And it’s only day 1 of our safari!

Photo guide - A safari in Tanzania - Lake Manyara National Park
Photo guide - A safari in Tanzania - Lake Manyara National Park
Photo guide - A safari in Tanzania - Lake Manyara National Park

The next day we headed to the Serengeti and it only kept getting better and better.

Want to live this experience yourself? I have my own tour business in Tanzania and can organize it for you! 

Have a look at our website and get in touch with all your questions.

Any other thoughts or ideas? See you in the comment section!

Photo guide - A safari in Tanzania - Lake Manyara National Park
Photo guide - A safari in Tanzania - Lake Manyara National Park
Photo guide - A safari in Tanzania - Lake Manyara National Park

Disclaimer: this article is about my first safari ever, long before I had my own tour company. The safari was fully paid for by yours truly and opinions are my own and straight from the heart, as always.

54 thoughts on “IN PHOTOS: A safari in Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania”

  1. I was at Arusha, Lake Manyara and the Serengeti in 2015. Totally awesome, enjoy!

    ps: Thanks to your dad for sharing on FB. Now I know what you do, that’s awesome too 🙂

    1. Hehe thanks for your comment! 🙂 Lake Manyara was awesome, but the Serengeti… I still get ‘kippenvel’ when I think about it 😀 I’ll thank my dad for sending me new visitors hahaha 🙂

  2. Tanzania is the very famous for safari’s, there are many safari gardens in Tanzania, your post is awesome and thank you for sharing the best images.

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  4. Great post and yes, AMAZING photos! 🙂

    I went to Tanzania three years ago and wow, I still remember this beautiful place. I’m going again in December since I cannot get enough! hehe

    I hope you travel the rest of Africa, I live in South Africa and I’m only starting to explore my home now!

    Warmest Regards

  5. Amazing place & photos. This one is in my bucket list as well. I have safari experience in South Africa and it was an amazing experience indeed. Would love to visit soon. Thanks for re-igniting the desire.

  6. Tanzania one of the best tourist places in Africa. Mount Kilimanjaro is a famous attraction. Wildlife tourism is growing in Tanzania. I am from Kerala India, Here we have many wildlife exploration places. I still remember the elephant safari in Munnar and the wildlife safari in Thekkady

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  9. Very inspiring and informative piece. Lake Manyara is just Wow,I visited Tanzania in 2018 and it was one of my best destinations in 2018. I think i should visit the country again after this restricted period of Covid -19. Personally i love travelling. I have a great travel plan for the next 5 year. I will use the information here to perfect and readjust my travel plan.I am a bag expert and i like bags alot. I came up with a blog that discusses all types of bags that anyone may need for home and travel use. You may check it out on bagsnexus.com
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  11. A very great safari trip was discussed by Lili. I must appreciate the effort you put into making the content it takes us to the visit. Also, I found an amazing place in India that your audience will like to visit. It’s the Kedarnath yatra trip almost all Indians dream to visit this place once in their life. You can see the Kedarnath trip details here – https://devdhamyatra.com/kedarnath-yatra

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