Lake Manyara National Park is the least visited and smallest of the game parks near Serengeti – other two being Ngorongoro and Tarangire. Just like the other parks, also Lake Manyara has its own unique nature and animals.
One of the unique aspects of the park becomes clear very soon after entering the park: the huge number of baboons.
Instead of the baboons, however, the park is actually best known for the tree climbing lions. Actually, it’s supposedly the only place in the world where lions have started climbing trees.
Depending on who you believe, there are different reasons for the lions to climb trees: some say it’s because of the high levels of humidity, and some say they want to avoid the flies (which truly are plentiful at times). Some also claim it’s due to the lush vegetation which means it’s much easier for the lions to find their prey when climbing the trees.
So should you visit the park: while it may be the least spectacular of all the parks in the area, I still very much liked it and would definitely visit again. I liked the lush surroundings and seeing a lot of giraffes at close range. And of course we also saw plenty other animals, such as zebras and gnus. It was of course a big disappointment that we missed the tree climbing lion by only few minutes (it had just come down), but with safaris it’s always like that: sometimes you’re really lucky, sometimes you’re not.
If you’re interested in a walking safari and exploring the park on foot together with a ranger, this is also possible at Lake Manyara. Actually, three men in our group decided to do so and for 30USD per person they got to walk around for roughly 1.5h. While they liked the walking safari, it was mainly carried out in the open areas of the park meaning there’s less excitement about what could be hiding behind the bushes and the animals you see are actually pretty far away.