The wall of the Great Rift Valley looms on the eastern horizon of Lake Manyara, forming an impressive backdrop to the glimmering soda lake and creating stunning waterfalls and navigable rivers.
Lake Manyara National Park has a wonderful mosaic of different habitats, which attracts a whole host of animals including a high density of elephants. Look out for monkeys, antelopes, zebras and hippos too. There are also lions and some have developed the unusual behaviour of climbing trees for their afternoon snooze. However, they have not mastered the art of dragging their kill high into the branches, as the leopard is so adept at doing.
Birdlife is fascinating at Lake Manyara and numbers are at their peak during the rainy season when seed-eaters, insect-eaters and waterbirds thrive. Nomadic quelea (finch-like birds), gather in breeding flocks of many thousands and fly across Lake Manyara National Park in vast twittering clouds. Pelicans, storks, geese, herons and cormorants share their waterworld with migrant flamingoes, who come and feed on the algae rich water and turn the crystalline edges of the soda lake a vibrant pink.
Waterfalls spill over the escarpment wall and fill rivers, some of which can be canoed down for a great safari adventure. In the south of the park hot springs bubble to the surface but are too hot for a dip.
The mixture of different habitats, animals and birdlife in Lake Manyara National Park, is unlike anything else you are likely to see. Another bonus is that Lake Manyara is only a 2-hour drive or half an hour light aircraft flight, west of Arusha - the gateway to the Northern Safari Circuit.
When the park is dry the wildlife is easier to see, but when it is wet the birdlife thrives and the waterfalls are full. Dry Season is during the cooler winter months from July to October. Hot short rainy season is during November and December, while the long mild rainy season is from March to June.