Lake Manyara National Park, which encompasses an area of 330 sq.km, of which 200 sq km is lake, was proclaimed a game reserve in 1957 and registered three years later as a National Park. The park is situated between the 600 m high escarpment of the Great Rift Valley and Lake Manyara and is 130 km from Arusha.
Thus, it can be visited on a day excursion. At the Southern end of the park are hot Sulphur Springs known as Majimoto. Further along the forest the area opens up into woodlands, grassland, swamps and beyond, the soda lake itself.
Nestling at the base of the Great Rift Valley escarpment, the park is recognized for its incredible beauty. Wildlife at Lake Manyara is not restricted to bird-life only. Many game animals such as buffalo, elephant, giraffe, impala, hippo and a great variety of smaller animals also inhabit the park.
Lake Manyara is also known for its tree-climbing lions which spend most of the day spread out along the branches of acacia trees six to seven meters above the ground. The park contains the most pachyderms per sq km in Tanzania. As visitors enter the gate, they pass into the lush forest, home to troops of baboons and blue monkeys. Buffalo and hippo lurch in the adjacent Hippo Pool. The vegetation eventually merges into flat topped acacia woodland where, in the heat of the day entire prides of lion can be seen stretched on the branches of these trees – a habit prevalent to Manyara lions.
Along with these amazing tree-climbing lions there are the usual browsers and grazers as well as the curios-looking banded mongoose. Two thirds of the park is dominated by the slightly alkaline lake which is home to ahuge variety of waterbirds.