Small and scenic
The 330 km² Lake Manyara National Park is situated in northern Tanzania. Small but extremely scenic, the Park is about 125 km west of Arusha - so a mere 1.5 hour drive.
The actual Lake Manyara itself is the main attraction and during the wet seasons (November/December and March to May), the lake can cover up to 60% of the Park's total area - a vast 231 km². The lake's high alkaline waters attract a variety of waterbirds, including huge flocks of pink flamingos as well as pelicans, storks and cormorants.
The Park is renowned for its excellent bird-watching opportunities in general, as more than 400 different bird species have been recorded. Other wildlife includes elephant, buffalo, cheetah, hippo, Masai giraffe, wildebeest, impala, zebra, warthogs, large troops of baboons, and the legendary but rarely seen tree-climbing lions - yes, they really do climb trees!
As well as the lake, there are waterfalls, jungle-like groundwater forests, acacia trees, grasslands and swamps, all which make for a very pretty backdrop for your game and bird watching.
The Lake Manyara Boardwalk trail meanders 300m through to the lake, and gives visitors a unique view and wonderful photo opportunites along the route. Educational signage at key points further enhances the experience! For the braver tourist, check out Tanzania's only Treetop Walkway too, giving you a birds-eye view of the area.
You can comfortably visit the Park en-route to or from your safari in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. The driving trail loops in a horseshoe shape around the Park, and can easily be covered in a few hours.
There are a handful of lodges here if you did want to spend longer in the Park, which offer a fully-inclusive safari experience, including all meals and guided game drives. Some lodges also offer canoe safari trips out onto the lake itself.