Lake Manyara Tree Lodge is an intimate and exclusive lodge, and the only one inside northern Tanzania’s small but incredibly diverse Lake Manyara National Park. The guided nature walks, escorted by Maasai 'askaris', are a particular highlight of a safari at &Beyond's Tanzanian lodge.
Set in the heart of a mahogany forest, Lake Manyara Tree Lodge is located near the remote south-western shores of Lake Manyara. The park stands at the base of the Great Rift Valley escarpment and is known for its beauty and its rich wildlife, excellent for viewing elephant, lion, impressive herds of buffalo and exceptional birdlife.
The lodge offers privacy and an intimate experience of the bush in cool, leafy surroundings. The ten spacious, stilted tree-houses are built of timber and palm fronds (makuti) and set in the boughs of mahogany trees. The stylish, understated interiors are decorated in neutral colours and have comfortable indoor lounge areas and private game-viewing deck overlooking the forest. Each suite has an outdoor shower, bath and double hand-basins. The lodge provides &Beyond's classic Tanzanian butler service.
The guest areas are cosy and comfortable, and overlook a forest boma. The crafts shop is a showcase for signature community craftwork. There is also a secluded pool.
Delicious, inventive food is prepared in wood-fired ovens in the interactive kitchen. Meals are served in the sala (covered deck) or in the candlelit boma; or you can have your lunch and dinner on your private deck. Picnic lunches and breakfasts may be served at the lake shore.
Activities include morning and afternoon game-drives in open 4x4 safari vehicles with experienced guides - even the transfer from the airstrip is a scenic game drive - and birding walks in the forest, where there are over 350 recorded species. The team of rangers at Lake Manyara Tree Lodge is one of &Beyond's finest, and has extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of the national park. They are all expert and passionate birders, too. At Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, Maasai 'askaris' escort guests along a perennial river down to the lakeshore on guided interpretive nature walks and an up-close experience of the flora and fauna. Night game drives are also available.
Six different, distinct ecosystems provide ideal habitats for Lake Manyara’s diverse inhabitants. The vertical rock faces of the Rift Valley wall are colonised by aloes and other succulents, while baobab and terminalia grow on the lower slopes where huge African rock python dwell among the boulders and ambush prey such as Klipspringer. Near the entrance of the park, sweet fresh water seeps from the Rift Valley wall into rivulets and streams supporting the verdant groundwater forests of evergreen mahogany and ficus trees. Manyara is renowned for its tree-climbing lions, which may be seen resting in favoured spots. The acacia woodland, dominated by spectacular umbrella thorn, tamarind tree and desert date, provides excellent habitat for the great pachyderms, giraffe, zebra, antelope and troops of up to 200 Olive baboon. The floodplains fringing the lake expand and contract with the level of the lake. Here buffalo bulls with enormous horns wallow in the shallows, and hippos are regularly seen. Small numbers of Heck’s wildebeest favour the stands of fever trees and ivory palms that fringe the soda-rich Lake Manyara. Leopard and Cape clawless otter are occasionally encountered.
A remarkable 387 bird species have been recorded within Lake Manyara National Park. Over a million lesser flamingos may congregate on the lake. Great numbers of white pelican, pink-backed pelican, greater flamingo and yellow-billed stork are seasonal visitors. Birds of prey - an astonishing 46 species - include Ruppell’s griffon, Egyptian vulture, palmnut vulture, crowned eagle, martial eagle and peregrine falcon. Vociferous silvery-cheeked hornbills inhabit evergreen forest and southern ground hornbills stalk open woodland in family groups. Among the more colourful bush birds are Fischer’s lovebird, blue-naped mousebird, grey-headed kingfisher, Abyssinian scimitarbill, red-and-yellow barbet and Peters’ twinspot.
Children are welcome at Lake Manyara Tree Lodge and an extra bed can be provided for a child under 11 sharing a tree-house. While children under five cannot participate in the regular game drives, Planet Manager activity books and special programmes can be compiled. Children aged 6 - 11 years can join the game drives at the discretion of the camp manager or ranger. Children’s meals can be arranged and child minders are available, at additional cost.
Lake Manyara Tree Lodge has developed close ties with the local Mayoca community, and made a significant contribution towards improving their prosperity and living conditions. Investments include a 10-bed clinic, nurses’ accommodation and the Positive Health programme, as well as AIDS education. The lodge has built a fully equipped classroom and teachers houses and supplied desks. With the support of guests, the foundation has sponsored six secondary school scholarships. The lodge buys its supplies and building materials from the community and installed solar equipment.
Most guests fly into Lake Manyara airstrip from Arusha. From the airstrip, it is a 30- minute drive to the park gates and then a scenic two to three hour game drive through the park to the lodge. You can also travel to Lake Manyara Tree Lodge as part of a private drive-in safari guide, with your own guide and vehicle.