Lake Manyara spans both the Manyara and Arush Regions in northern Tanzania. It is largely comprised of a narrow strip of forested land from the Gregory Rift's edge to the alkaline Lake Manyara. During the wet season, thousands of vivid pink flamingos congregate on the lake, making for a truly spectacular site to see for visitors and especially bird-watching enthusiasts. In addition to the vast flocks of flamingos, there are 400 other bird species, leopards, lions, elephants, blue monkeys, baboons, dik-diks, gazelle, hippos, impalas and giraffes. Entryway roads wind through the seasonally lush jungle that is brought to life by the rains. Ancient mahogany trees and thick undergrowth provide excellent habitats to shy creatures, while the sweeping grasslands are home to large herds that wander between the acacia trees. The vistas are crowned by the jagged volcanic peaks of the Masai Steppes, creating a beautiful place for visitors to go on game drives and snap shots of the fascinating wildlife. Experience a different side of the wildlife with a nighttime game drive, or canoe across the lake when the rains permit it. Just outside of the park, thee are cultural tours, bike tours, bush dinners, abseiling and forest walks. Bird-watchers should visit during the wet season, while those seeking big game will have better viewing opportunities during the dry season. There are several nearby luxury accommodations, but also more affordable guesthouses and camping options. Access to the area is by road, or chartered flight from the city of Arusha.
Tarangire National Park sits just southwest of Lake Manyara in northern Tanzania. A uniquely diverse patchwork of habitats transected by the Tarangire River supports a wide array of wildlife. Hop into a game drive vehicle and set off across the gently rolling hills of sky-high grasses, dense bush, towering termite mounds buzzing with life and a generous sprinkling of Baobab trees. Known for its large herds of elephants (numbering up 300 individuals per herd!) and prowling lions hiding among the tall branches of the many trees, visitors might also spot zebras, wildebeest, waterbuck, giraffes, impala, ostrich, pythons and olive baboons. The park boasts the densest concentrations of wildlife outside of the Serengeti, so visitors are sure to encounter one of the elephant herds scratching at the riverbed, or one of many top predators that are drawn to this savanna smorgsabord. A blush of green sweeps across the area seasonally as the rains bring life back to this arid landscape, creating a bird-watchers paradise as the 550 bird varieties fill the air with melodic calls. Gain a more intimate feel for the dusty, red earth plains with a walking safari, visit a nearby Masai or Barabaig village, or marvel at the ancient rock paintings. There are several accommodation options to suit all budgets, ranging from luxury lodges to tented camps in and around the park's boundaries. Access to the area comes via road and chartered flights from the Arusha or Serengeti airports.