Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park is a small park by African standards, covering about 330 square kilometers (some 127 square miles). The lake from which the park takes its name is located at the base of the western Rift Valley escarpment. The park is just one and a half hours (126 kilometers/80 miles) west of the safari capital of Arusha, which makes it very convenient for a day trip. Unfortunately, this can also result in lots of vehicles in north of the park, especially in the afternoons. The compact game-viewing route through Manyara can be considered a miniature version of the Tanzanian safari experience. The park offers a wide range of wilderness landscapes, from its soda lake to its dense woodlands and steep mountainside. Thanks to its stunning scenery, Lake Manyara is often described as one of the hidden gems of Africa. Wildlife is visible from the very start, and it is common to see baboons just a few meters from the entrance gate, lazing around or playing by the side of the road. Manyara is known, in part, for the thousands of pink flamingos that inhabit the lake. During the wet season there are masses living by the lakeshore, while they are fewer in number during the dry season. More than 400 bird species can be found in the park, making it a haven for bird-watchers. But the park is especially famous for its legendary tree-climbing lions, as well as for its large herds of elephants, and huge baboon population. Wildebeest, giraffe, zebra and impala can also be seen.