Ernest Hemingway called this lake ‘the most beautiful lake in all Africa’. Lake Manyara National Park is at the base of the 600m high Rift Valley Escarpment and only a couple of hours drive from Arusha.
Size: 330 sq km (127 sq miles), of which up to 200 sq km (77 sq miles) is lake when water levels are high.
Location: In northern Tanzania. The entrance gate lies 1.5 hours (126km/80 miles) west of Arusha along a newly surfaced road, close to the ethnically diverse market town of Mto wa Mbu.
Usually, Lake Manyara is the first park visited on a northern circuit safari. The Lake itself is shallow, and possesses high alkaline levels, which attracts masses of flamingos. A narrow strip of forest runs between the lake and the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley wall, which forms the border to the park. Within this forest there is permanent fresh spring water trickling from the rift wall and this supports a great deal of wildlife.
The park is well known for its unusual tree-climbing lions and herds of elephant, the latter being the subject of a comprehensive research project and the book “Among the Elephants” by Iain and Oria Douglas-Hamilton. The park is also home to hippos, baboons, giraffes, zebra, wildebeest, and is particularly good for bird watching, with over 380 species having been recorded.
Holidays to Lake Manyara national park are excellent all year round with game drives the staple way to explore its natural beauty. However, from certain properties night drives and short walks are on offer.