Tucked below the majesty of the Rift Valley wall, Lake Manyara National Park consists of a thin green band of forest, flanked by the sheer 600 m high red and brown cliffs of the escarpment on one side and by the white-hot shores of an ancient soda lake on the other. This wedge of surprisingly varied vegetation supports a wealth of wildlife, nourished by the streams flowing out of the escarpment base and waterfalls spilling over the cliffs. Acacia woodland shelters the park´s famous tree-climbing lions, lying languidly among the branches in the heat of the day. Feeding in the undergrowth or dozing in the dry riverbeds, this area has the country´s densest populations of buffalo and elephant.
Deep in the south of the park, hot springs bubble to the surface as hippo wallow near the lake´s sedge-lined borders. The park´s dazzling variety of birds includes thousands of red-billed quelea flitting over the water, pelicans, cormorants and the pink streaks of thousands of flamingos. Manyara is the perfect location for an active safari-canoeing on the lake or mountain biking and abseiling outside the park´s borders.
The dry season (June to October) is best for large mammals, while the wet season (November to May) is best for bird watching, waterfalls and canoeing.