The Lake Manyara National Park is located at the base of the Great Rift Valley and has a total area of 320 sq. km. The Great Rift Valley forms part of a fault in the earth's crust which runs 800 km from Turkey to the mouth of the Zambezi River in Mozambique. On entering the gate of the park, is the lush ground water forest whose tall trees are home to troops of baboons and blue monkeys. The forest then opens up into woodlands, grasslands and swamps and the lake itself is home to over 550 species of bird.
Lake Manyara, occupying about 70% of the total area, is a shallow saline lake attracting masses of pink flamingos as well as pelican, storks, sacred ibis, Egyptian geese and cormorants. The park is full of herds of elephants, herds of 100 to 200 are often seen here and many more in the dry season. Lake Manyara is famous for its unusual tree-climbing lions which are sometimes found spread out on the branches of acacia trees up to seven meters above the ground. They inhabit the woodland between the lake and the Rift Valley. Lake Manyara is also home to hippos, buffalos, impala, baboons, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest and around 400 species of bird.
The best time to visit Lake Manyara is in the dry season from July to October as you can spot large mammals. In the wet season, from November to June it is best time for birdwatching, the waterfalls and canoeing.
The park can be reached by road or scheduled flight from Arusha town and en route to Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. A flight connection to the Selous Game Reserve is available.