Lake Manyara National Park

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.

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.


330 square kilometres (130 sq mi) includes 200 square kilometres (77 sq mi) (at high water stage) of Lake Manyara, an alkaline lake, below the 600 metres (2,000 ft) high Rift Valley


60 miles west of Arusha


Main species: Elephant, buffalo, leopard, lion, small antelope, good birding