Lake Manyara National Park is a small and naturally pretty game reserve spanning around 125 square miles. Three quarters of the National Park is the actual lake of shallow alkaline waters, surrounded by flood plains. Lake Manyara is dotted with large fig trees, mahogany trees and acacia forests. The lake is fed by underground springs which bring water from the Manyara basin. This combination supplies lush grazing land and also attracts many game wildlife. The land area of the park is located west of the lake, hemmed in on the other side by the Great Rift wall.
The park is perhaps best known for its tree-climbing lions and its baboons but the grazing also attracts hippo, elephant, wildebeest, giraffe and buffalo. There is a good leopard population here, but because of the terrain they are, as ever, hard to see. For the ornithologist there are over 300 migratory bird species to spot, including flamingos and the long-crested Eagle.
Visitors to Manyara enjjoy a great variety of terrain on game-drives, from the ancient forests, to thick scrubland, to the lakeside flood plains. While not being the largest park, it does add a different dimension to a safari in Tanzania, enjoying the sight of the lake shimmering in the African heat, often with large flocks of flamingos feeding in its shallow waters. There are several lodges and camps within the park or on its boundaries. Manyara is a 203 hour drive from Arusha depending on traffic.