Close to Tarangire, 130 km W of Arusha, Manyara offers 325 sq km of incredible beauty set in diverse terrain, which includes open grasslands, forests and the dominant red western rift escarpment that provides a stunning backdrop to the Lake itself. In Manyara can be found resident Baboons, also Elephants, Hippo and ‘PlainsGame’. This wonderland includes something unique – The tree climbing Lions. The lake wonderland includes something unique – The tree climbing Lions. The lake attracts migratory Flamingos and over 300 different species of birdlife.
Part of a far larger migratory ecosystem (that includes Lake Manyara) and dependant on the Tarangire River that flows through its centre, this National Park covers an area of 2,600 sq km and is about 120 km from Arusha.
Larger mammals vacate Tarangire in a mass exodus during the annual October from the Masai Mara.
Lake Manyara National Park has a wonderful mosaic of different habitats, which attracts a whole host of animals including a high density of elephants. Look out for monkeys, antelopes, zebras and hippos too. There are also lions and some have developed the unusual behaviour of climbing trees for their afternoon snooze. However, they have not mastered the art of dragging their kill high into the branches, as the leopard is so adept at doing.
Birdlife is fascinating at Lake Manyara and numbers are at their peak during the rainy season when seed-eaters, insect-eaters and waterbirds thrive. Nomadic quelea (finch-like birds), gather in breeding flocks of many thousands and fly across Lake Manyara National Park in vast twittering clouds. Pelicans, storks, geese, herons and cormorants share their waterworld with migrant flamingoes, who come and feed on the algae rich water and turn the crystalline edges of the soda lake a vibrant pink.
Waterfalls spill over the escarpment wall and fill rivers, some of which can be canoed down for a great safari adventure. In the south of the park hot springs bubble to the surface but are too hot for a dip.
The mixture of different habitats, animals and birdlife in Lake Manyara National Park, is unlike anything else you are likely to see. Another bonus is that Lake Manyara is only a 2-hour drive or half an hour light aircraft flight, west of Arusha – the gateway to the Northern Safari Circuit