Lake Manyara Tree Lodge offers intimate luxury at its finest. The remotely located Tree Lodge is the only lodge to reside within Lake Manyara National park although there are several lodges just outside the park. The five star lodge merges seamlessly into the surrounding green forest providing for a very exclusive and extravagant experience. Unfortunately, this kind of luxury comes with a high price tag. However, by varying your level of accommodations throughout your safari, you can easily mitigate the impact of a few nights at these ultra luxury lodges.
There is only one downside with Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, which is very significant for most people. It is a long 2-hour drive to lodge from just the Manyara park gate (not including transit time to the park gate). The remote location would equate to a big plus in the Serengeti or Tarangire where there is superb wildlife viewing. However, Lake Manyara does not contain the abundance of wildlife found in the Serengeti or Tarangire. Most of the wildlife in Lake Manyara can be reached within the first few miles from the park gate. Accordingly, the long drive into the Tree Lodge can be disappointing. Due to the transit time involved, it would be best to spend two nights at Lake Manyara Tree Lodge. However, the problem with this is that a quick 2 or 3 hour game drive in Lake Manyara is sufficient for most people who would rather spend the additional time big game viewing in either the Crater, Serengeti or Tarangire.
We do not regularly feature Lake Manyara Tree Lodge in most of our itineraries due to the inconvenience of transit time and the need to spend one rushed night or two nights with only fair game viewing. On most itineraries, it would be more preferable to spend a night at the well-appointed plantation Lodge with just a quick game drive in Manyara before venturing to or from the big game viewing areas in either the Crater or Tarangire. plantation Lodge is also a substantially less expensive lodge and the savings can be used to splurge on a better ultra luxury lodge in either the Serengeti, Crater or Tarangire as your budget permits. However, every itinerary and traveler is unique. The Lake Manyara Tree Lodge may be a great choice for those patient people seeking luxurious solitude and not an emphasis on game viewing.
CC Africa, whose portfolio of properties includes the finest accommodations available in Northern Tanzania, owns and manages Lake Manyara Tree Lodge. CC Africa runs four lodges in Tanzania, two in the Serengeti, one in the Ngorongoro Crater and this property in Lake Manyara. At least one night in any of these lodges during your safari is highly recommended.
Lake Manyara Tree Lodge is the newest CC Africa Lodge. The previous CC Africa Lodge in Lake Manyara, Maji Moto Tented Camp, was partially destroyed by a flood during the last El Nino. The Tree Lodge was finished in 2003 and is further south on higher ground.
The Tree Lodge is situated in the remote southern tip of Lake Manyara National park. The isolated location also has the benefit of being far from the park gate, which means you will not likely encounter many other vehicles in the immediate area.
One or two nights at Lake Manyara Tree Lodge is usually conveniently integrated into our signature fly-in and drive-back itineraries after a day of exploring the Ngorongoro Crater and just before continuing onward to either Tarangire or Arusha. From the crater viewpoint at the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, it is about a one-hour drive to the Manyara park Gate. Add about another 20 to 30 minutes of transit time to any of the lodges on the Crater from the viewpoint. The Lake Manyara Tree Lodge is located about 2 hours from the Manyara park gate. Tarangire and Arusha are both located about 3.5 hours from Lake Manyara Tree Lodge though in opposite directions. Add about 1 hour to get from Arusha to Kilimanjaro.
The lodge consists of ten stilted tree house suites spaced throughout the forest to ensure complete privacy. Each tree house suite features large windows to invite the lush forest inside. The rooms are very spacious and bathrooms are especially well done with large bathtubs and even an outdoor shower. Furnishings and decorations are contemporary and abstract. Each tree house has its own private viewing deck with a comfortable sitting area and spectacular forest views. Falling asleep surrounded by the noises of the jungle will surely be one of the highlights for many guests. Service is also second to none as your own private butler is on call for the duration of your stay to mix martinis or serve dinner on your private veranda.
The main guest area includes the kitchen, lounge, dinning room, gift shop and bar. The lounge and dinning areas are outside and the atmosphere is wonderful. They offer a great place to mingle with other guests and share the safari highlights for the day. For your safety, Askaris (Masai warriors) will accompany you at night when walking to and from the main lodge.
Food and Drink
The food and Tree Lodge is simply excellent. Breakfast is very good and is usually served buffet style in the open dining terrace. Breakfast consists of a large assortment of fruits, cereals, breads, and eggs served to your order. However, if you wish, your butler is happy to serve you either breakfast in bed or on your private veranda. The best option for lunch is to arrange a private picnic down by the lakeshore where hopefully there is lots of hippo action and thousands of flamingos. Alternatively, lunch is also offered at the lodge but we highly recommend opting for a serene picnic. Dinner is quite a production and a fairly formal affair. Once again, you always have the choice to have a more private and romantic meal in the comfort of your room or on your private veranda. There is a good variety of beer, wine and cocktails available and most are included in your safari package.
Lake Manyara is a beautiful little park made famous by its tree-climbing lions. The park is home to an amazing variety of birds and animals considering its small size. A visit to this serene park will greatly diversify your safari experience as the lush green jungle habitat is of stark contrast to the other parks.
The national park is roughly 125 square miles but the shallow, alkaline lake consumes the majority of this area. The park is actually tucked between the lake and the sheer rock walls of the rift valley escarpment that tower 2,000 feet above. Expect to see elephant, giraffe, buffalo, zebra, warthog, hippo, several species of antelope and loads of baboons. Lake Manyara boasts one of the highest concentrations of baboons in Africa. Cats are difficult to see here and they are much more visible in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. However, with a little luck it is possible to see the famous tree climbing lions or even the elusive leopard.
Lake Manyara is one of best the places in Africa for birdwatchers. With over 300 species including migratory birds, even the most seasoned bird enthusiast will not be disappointed. The lake itself attracts thousands of greater and lesser flamingos along with many other aquatic species.
- private game drives
- picnic lunches
- Excellent birding
- private candlelight dinners