Lake Manyara National Park is another of Tanzania’s small parks with an area of not more than 330 square kilometers. The beautiful nature, the varied flora and the exiting fauna make Lake Manyara an obvious place to spend a day or so on the way to Serengeti and Ngorongoro. It is in the bottom of the great Rift Valley, which stretches all the way from Jordan to Mozambique, and it has an intriguing ecology and a greatly varied bird life, perfect for bird watching. 380 species have been registered, and at most times of the year, thousands of flamingos settle down, feeding on algae as a pink ribbon along the lake.
The vegetation is also very unique, with groundwater forest with high fig and mahogany trees, acacia forest, marsh area and grassland, as well as hot springs in the south. The park is especially famous for its lions, which have a habit of climbing the trees. Except from in the Ruwenzori park in Uganda, the lions in Lake Manyara are the only ones who have this peculiar behavior, which is inherited from generation to generation. Zoologists believe that they have attributed this habit to avoid the biting flies and the heat at the ground. You are lucky if you spot these lions, though.
But there are good chances of spotting elephants. Lake Manyara used to have the largest concentration in Africa, but because of poaching, the number of animals has decreased. You are also sure find hippos, buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, gazelles and a lot of baboons.
Lake Manyara is about 120 km (1.5-2 hours) from Arusha on the way to Ngorongoro and Serengeti. One can also take a 1 hour flight from Arusha. This park can be visited year round.