Established in 1960, lake Manyara National park extends over 330 sq. km of the northern rift-valley floor southwest of Arusha. its centerpiece is lake Manyara, a fluctuating body of alkaline water set within a shallow sump at the base of the rift valley. to the southeast, a scattering of extinct volcanoes rise in splendid isolation from the open plains of the Maasai steppes. to the west, the lake is hemmed in by the 600m-high golden-brown rift escarpment alluded to inits name – an Emanyara being the spiky protective hedge grown around a Maasai boma.

lake Manyara national park is one of Tanzania’s smallest offers a wilderness experience in diverse habitats, from its rift valley soda lake to dense woodlands and steep mountainsides. apart from a spectacular setting, the park is famous for its unusual tree-climbing lions and the vast elephant herds it was established to protect. lake Manyara is best used as a soft introduction to a safari. lake Manyara makes a convenient first stop out of Arusha, but its remarkable habitat diversity compressed within a relatively small area ensures that it offers a virtual microcosm of the Tanzanian safari experience.