Lake Manyara National Park forms one edge of the Great Rift Valley. The lake itself is a true birder’s paradise with its huge resident populations of flamingoes, storks, cormorants, pelicans, and over 350 other bird species. In the northern end of the park, a dense groundwater forest boasts giant fig and mahogany trees, monkeys, baboons, bushbuck, waterbuck, and elephant. South of the groundwater forest is an open grassland, host to buffalo, wildebeest, impala, giraffe, zebra, and lions that can occasionally be seen resting on the limb of an acacia.

Manyara is very accessible with its own airstrip (Lake Manyara Airstrip) and it is just a 2-hour drive from both Arusha and Ngorongoro. Since the park is located so close to Tarangire National Park, we often send clients to Chem Chem Safari Lodge or Manyara Ranch so they can easily access both parks and enjoy their own private concession. For those staying solely in Lake Manyara National Park and skipping Tarangire, we like to use Lemala Manyara and Lake Manyara Tree Lodge. We find that 2-3 nights in the region are usually enough. Regardless of where you stay, you’re likely to have excellent game-viewing on your game drives as Manyara is rich with diverse species of flora and fauna.

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Elizabeth Gordon