Described by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest I have seen in Africa”, Lake Manyara National Park rests in the shadow of the Great Rift Valley escarpment in Tanzania. The park is an unspoiled paradise of indigenous forest fed by underground springs and teeming with wildlife. Animal lovers can expect to see buffaloes, giraffes, hippos, gazelles, antelopes, mongoose, dik-dik and some of Africa’s largest elephant herds and baboon troupes.
But the park’s signature attraction is undoubtedly its tree-climbing lions. The lions of Lake Manyara National Park are a rarity among their own kind as they are the only lions in the world that climb trees and use them as places of rest. The only other lions that share this distinction are those in Uganda’s Ruwenzori National Park. Each year, visitors from across the globe are drawn here to see the iconic predators lounging in the trees. Photographers can take splendid shots of the beautiful creatures perched on the branches of acacia trees.
Lake Manyara itself provides a habitat for hippopotamus and a wide diversity of aquatic life. Despite its salt content, the lake is a popular watering hole for the park’s animal population. During the wet season, the lake swells to a sizable body of water that’s perfect for taking guided canoe safaris. At this time, visitors can spot porcupines, rock hyrax and klipspringer by the water’s edge. A broad spectrum of birds call the lake home including the Peregrine Falcon, Ruppel’s Griffon, the Augur Buzzard, Verreaux’s Eagle and an abundance of flamingoes.
The park is ideal for going on game drives, abseiling, forest walks, and mountain biking and cultural tours. The best time to enjoy game viewing in the park is between the months of July and October. Optimal conditions for bird watching occur between the months of November and June.
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