Lake Manyara National Park



Photo by Carol Austin

Area: 127 sq. miles

Looking down the western Rift Valley, along the road to Ngorongoro and Serengeti, it is easy to see why Lake Manyara National Park was once described as "The Emerald of Africa". The compact game viewing circuit through Manyara offers a virtual microcosm of the Tanzanian safari experience.

The lake shimmers below in the heat haze, home to flamingoes, pelicans and innumerable water birds. Between the lake and the Rift, the park, with one main road and several loops, stands out in luscious greens that contrast with the arid, brown and windswept countryside.

lion_in_a_treeLake Manyara National Park is renowned for its tree-climbing lions. Why they do so is unknown. The most likely explanation is that they climb into the branches to get away from the unwelcome attention of flies and large mammals which may threaten them.

The park is reputed to have the highest concentration of elephants of any park in the world.
What to do:

• game drives

• canoeing

• cultural tours, mountain bike tours


Manyara has more than 400 species of birds, and a first time visitor might expect to observe 100 of these in one day, including thousands of pink-hued flamingos on their perpetual migration. Other large waterbirds include pelicans, cormorants, and storks. A narrow belt of acacia woodland is the favored haunt of Manyara's legendary tree-climbing lions as well as impressively tusked elephants. Other sightings might include: buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, giraffes, dik-dik, and mongoose.

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