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Lake Manyara Safaris

A small but interesting park in the Rift Valley...

Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park

Again, one of the staple attractions on the northern “circuit”, Lake Manyara National Park adds something different again to the mix. Where the Serengeti is known for its huge skies and wildebeest, and the Ngorongoro is known for the views, Lake Manyara is a superb example of what the Rift valley has to offer. This is a park that sits at the bottom of the 600m high escarpment that is part of a tectonic crack that marks the entirety of East Africa, from Ethiopia to Malawi.

This is not, however, the only reason to come to this superb little park. With the soda lake itself running along its eastern edge, the park is a thin concentration of game and is the home for some of Africa’s most famous lions….that have learnt how to climb the trees for a little rest and relaxation! Along with good elephant and some of Africa’s smaller breeds of antelope (such as the klipspringer) and some of the best raptor populations on the eastern side of the continent, this is truly a worthwhile destination to include.

What has really helped the diversity of the wildlife in the park, and also adds to the interest, is that it combines a range of terrains. In the very north it features some large hard and softwood forests with towering figs and mahoganies giving cool shade and cover for game. As you move down into the park you then come across the start of the lake itself and the marshland area that is a favourite of Cape buffalo and wandering elephant. From here the park becomes more desolate with hardy olive trees and boulders that have rolled off from the escarpment above.

Overall, while this park may not be as well known as some of the others in the north, it really does pack a punch and will give those looking for a few alternative animals to those that are most famous a great option.

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    At a glance...Lake Manyara NP

    • Size 201 square miles
    • Location 60 miles west of Arusha
    • Recommended time 2 nights
    • Time to visit best in green season
    • Safari Activities Walking, driving
    • Topography soda lake, escarpment
    • Main species Elephant, buffalo, leopard, lion, small antelope, good birding

    Further reading...