Lake Manyara is one of the most scenic parks that you will encounter on your journey in Tanzania, stretching for 50km along the base of the rusty-gold 600-metre high Rift Valley escarpment.
From the entrance gate, the road winds through an expanse of lush jungle-like groundwater forest where baboon troops lounge casually along the roadside, blue monkeys scamper nimbly between the ancient mahogany trees, dainty bushbuck tread warily through the shadows, and outsized forest hornbills honk cacophonously in the high canopy.
Contrasting with the intimacy of the forest is the grassy floodplain and its expansive views eastward, across the alkaline lake, to the jagged blue volcanic peaks that rise from the endless Maasai Steppes. Large buffalo, giraffes, wildebeest and zebra herds flock on these grassy plains.
Inland of the floodplain, a narrow belt of acacia woodland is the favored haunt of Manyara’s legendary tree-climbing lions and impressively tusked elephants.
Manyara provides the perfect introduction to Tanzania’s birdlife. More than 400 species have been recorded, and even a first-time visitor to Africa might reasonably expect to observe 100 of these in one day. Highlights include thousands of pink-hued flamingos on their perpetual migration, as well as other large waterbirds such as pelicans, cormorants and storks.
Dry season (July-October) for large animals
Wet season (November-June) for bird watching, the waterfalls and canoeing