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Lake Manyara National Park is 80 miles from Arusha town. It is a small park of only 130 square miles and 80 square miles consists of the soda lake. Manyara is bordered by the western wall of the Great Rift Valley (3,150 feet altitude) and the shallow alkaline Lake Manyara. The park derives its name from the Maasai word “manyara” which is a species of Euphorbia plant used to build the Maasai stockades for their cattle and goats.

Wildlife in Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is notable for elephants, hippos tree-climbing lions. Actually, it is quite hard to see tree-climbing lions in Lake Manyara, due to the brush and woodland. The behavior of lions climbing trees was first observed in this park, but lions do climb trees in Tarangire and the Serengeti as well. The park was first made famous by the elephant researcher Ian Douglas Hamilton and Manyara was established specifically to protect the elephants herds. This park has the highest density of elephants boasting 7 elephants per square kilometer. Manyara is a birding paradise more than 400 species are resident all year round. The species include a large variety of hornbill species including the huge and colorful ground hornbill, pied kingfisher, white and pink-backed pelicans, hamerkop, crowned eagle, long-crested eagle and a lovely variety of bee-eaters, sunbirds and whydah birds. The park is also known for its large troops of baboons and the famous Hippo Pool also providing over 40 species of waterfowl in the area. Lake Manyara is an excellent park to visit during the green season (November-June), but many of the mammals migrate to Tarangire during the dry season (July-October) for the water in the Tarangire River