Elephant, birds, and deer collage

Lake Manyara

Located close to Arusha (about a 1.5 - 2hr drive) in the Great Rift Valley, this park serves as a popular starting point for the Northern Circuit safaris. While it is one of the smallest parks, covering about 127 sq miles (330 sq km), it is also possibly the most ecologically diverse game reserve in Tanzania, boasting a great birding reserve with more than 400 species recorded. Ernest Hemmingway is quoted as saying that the setting for Lake Manyara "is the loveliest I had seen in Africa."

60% of this park's total area is covered by the lake, which attracts thousands of pink-hued flamingos on their perpetual migration, as well as other large waterbirds such as pelicans, cormorants, and storks. The remaining 40% of the park is a forest harbouring over 350 species of birds and an array of mammals such as elephants, giraffes, hippos, blue monkeys, impala, and leopards to name a few. It is here that one also encounters the rare tree-climbing lions which spend hours on the branches of the acacia tree. In addition to the lions, the park is also home to the largest concentration of baboons anywhere in the world - a fact that makes for interesting game viewing of large families of the primates.

This park is suitable for visits year round but especially between December to February and May to July