Lake Manyara Tree Lodge has 10 stilted treehouse suites for guests.

Lake Manyara Tree Lodge | Lake Manyara National Park Luxury Tanzania Safari Lodge

Cradled in the branches of a mahogany forest, Lake Manyara Tree Lodge has 10 stilted suites nestled in Tanzania’s Lake Manyara National Park. From lakeside sundowners beneath dramatic escarpments to game drives and cycling adventures, you’ll soon see why Hemingway deemed this the loveliest scenery in Africa.

The place

We bump through the dense forest on our game drive, scanning the trees for any sight of the famous Lake Manyara tree-climbing lion. They’re as elusive as we’d been warned, but we’re consoled by the sight of our lodge, which is cradled in the sturdy branches of ancient mahogany like something out of Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson.Designed with the environment in mind, this luxury Tanzanian safari lodge is the only permanent accommodation in Lake Manyara National Park’s southwestern region. Lake Manyara Tree Lodge has just 10 timber and thatch suites, elevated on stilts for maximum views over the reserve, which is famous for its diverse habitats, from the Rift Valley that plunges down 500m to the lake, to dense woodlands and steep mountainsides.

We bump through the dense forest on our game drive, scanning the trees for any sight of the famous Lake Manyara tree-climbing lion. They’re as elusive as we’d been warned, but we’re consoled by the sight of our lodge, which is cradled in the sturdy branches of ancient mahogany like something out of Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson.

Designed with the environment in mind, this luxury Tanzanian safari lodge is the only permanent accommodation in Lake Manyara National Park’s southwestern region. Lake Manyara Tree Lodge has just 10 timber and thatch suites, elevated on stilts for maximum views over the reserve, which is famous for its diverse habitats, from the Rift Valley that plunges down 500m to the lake, to dense woodlands and steep mountainsides.

The room

I sigh contentedly, revelling in the sense of being surrounded by untamed, lush, African forest. My partner is busy reading out facts from the brochure to me: that the park was established to protect the vast elephant families that call it home, that the lake attracts over 400 species of birds, as well as its pink flamingos, that we could spot buffalo, cheetah, Maasai giraffe, hippo and klipspringer…Listening with half an ear, I gaze over the leafy green canopy of the forest from our verandah (that overlooks an elephant trail I hear), more interested in enjoying the immediate comforts of our luxury suite than getting an education. I walk inside, thrilled at how the tree branches have been incorporated into its construction.The interior decorator in me admires the combination of muted, natural colours, distressed floorboards and minimalist furniture. A screen made of intertwined chains of banana leaves separates the sitting area from the bedroom, which has a king-sized bed with billowing mosquito nets.Though a treehouse seems like a childhood indulgence, with the en-suite bathroom with twin basins, stand-alone bath and outdoor shower, this stilted suite is anything but! Later, we join the other guests at the boma, an outdoor enclosure lined with traditional dugout canoes that is aglow with storm lanterns and a central fire. Sharing stories around the fire, I think to myself how lucky we are to be here.

I sigh contentedly, revelling in the sense of being surrounded by untamed, lush, African forest. My partner is busy reading out facts from the brochure to me: that the park was established to protect the vast elephant families that call it home, that the lake attracts over 400 species of birds, as well as its pink flamingos, that we could spot buffalo, cheetah, Maasai giraffe, hippo and klipspringer…

Listening with half an ear, I gaze over the leafy green canopy of the forest from our verandah (that overlooks an elephant trail I hear), more interested in enjoying the immediate comforts of our luxury suite than getting an education. I walk inside, thrilled at how the tree branches have been incorporated into its construction.

The interior decorator in me admires the combination of muted, natural colours, distressed floorboards and minimalist furniture. A screen made of intertwined chains of banana leaves separates the sitting area from the bedroom, which has a king-sized bed with billowing mosquito nets.

Though a treehouse seems like a childhood indulgence, with the en-suite bathroom with twin basins, stand-alone bath and outdoor shower, this stilted suite is anything but! Later, we join the other guests at the boma, an outdoor enclosure lined with traditional dugout canoes that is aglow with storm lanterns and a central fire. Sharing stories around the fire, I think to myself how lucky we are to be here.

What sets it apart

Of the scenery at Lake Manyara National Park, Hemingway proclaimed it was ‘the loveliest I have seen in Africa’, and I can’t help but agree. Though we came here to see the Rift Valley plunge dramatically into the shores of Lake Manyara, the soda lakes with their pink flamingos and the Maji Moto hot spring, we were hoping to see the area’s famous tree-climbing lion above all. On our third game drive, our guide pointed out two lion sleeping up in the tree, as if their behaviour was completely normal. Which it is, here at Lake Manyara Tree Lodge!Finally, I love the romance of staying up among the trees, with our suite’s huge French windows opening up to the lush, green forest, and the couples’ massages on the verandah.

Of the scenery at Lake Manyara National Park, Hemingway proclaimed it was ‘the loveliest I have seen in Africa’, and I can’t help but agree. Though we came here to see the Rift Valley plunge dramatically into the shores of Lake Manyara, the soda lakes with their pink flamingos and the Maji Moto hot spring, we were hoping to see the area’s famous tree-climbing lion above all. On our third game drive, our guide pointed out two lion sleeping up in the tree, as if their behaviour was completely normal. Which it is, here at Lake Manyara Tree Lodge!

Finally, I love the romance of staying up among the trees, with our suite’s huge French windows opening up to the lush, green forest, and the couples’ massages on the verandah.

At a glance

  • Luxury lodge with 10 stilted suites among the trees in Lake Manyara National Park. The lodge has a pool, spa, safari shop and restaurant.
  • Butler, private vehicles (additional cost) and flexible schedules.
  • Game drives, night drives (additional cost), cycling or walking tour to Lake Manyara (additional cost), cultural visits (additional cost) gym in a bag and spa treatments (additional cost).
  • Children welcome (triple rooms available). Kids aged 6–11 can participate in game drives at the lodge manager’s discretion. Babysitting available at an additional cost.

  • Luxury lodge with 10 stilted suites among the trees in Lake Manyara National Park. The lodge has a pool, spa, safari shop and restaurant.
  • Butler, private vehicles (additional cost) and flexible schedules.
  • Game drives, night drives (additional cost), cycling or walking tour to Lake Manyara (additional cost), cultural visits (additional cost) gym in a bag and spa treatments (additional cost).
  • Children welcome (triple rooms available). Kids aged 6–11 can participate in game drives at the lodge manager’s discretion. Babysitting available at an additional cost.

Prices

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

When to Go

This is a wonderful time to visit northern Tanzania, with the vegetation initially lush after the rains, but then dying back, making the wildlife that much easier to see. Temperatures are cooler (although the days are warm and sunny). With the wildebeest herds assembling to make the perilous crossing of the Grumeti River, this is the busiest time of the year here. Tarangire is a great option now, with locally migrating wildlife concentrating along the Tarangire River, or take in the tree-climbing lion and beautiful seasonal waterfalls at Lake Manyara.

The long dry spell between the rains sees the vegetation cycle being repeated: lovely green grass immediately after the rains subsequently starts to wither. As food and water become scarcer, game concentrates around waterholes, making wildlife viewing particularly easy in January. Wildebeest calving in January and February on the southern Serengeti short-grass plains means a glut of kills – it’s the best time for predator action. Away from the Serengeti, this is an ideal opportunity to see resident game in the Ngorongoro Crater and at Lake Manyara, and birders will enjoy spotting migratory species.

These are perhaps not the ideal times to visit northern Tanzania as they represent the two peaks of the wet season – the long rains in April and May; the short rains in November. This does mean however that you’ll be sharing the game reserves and national parks of northern Tanzania with far fewer people, and there’s still plenty to see. During the long rains, the Great Wildebeest Migration moves north in the Serengeti, through Seronera towards the Western Corridor, while in November the herds return from the Masai Mara.

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