The park is situated between the 600m 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 from this centre. 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.
The drive takes about two and half hours from Arusha. The entrance to the park is off to the left of the Great North Road at Makuyuni. From here there is a track that goes past the lake and through the village of Mto wa Mbu to the park entrance.
The park is recognized for its incredible beauty. Wildlife at Lake Manyara is not restricted to birdlife 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 renown for its tree-climbing lions which spend most of the day spread out along the branches of acacia trees six to seven metres above the ground. The park contains the most pachyderms per km sq. 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 a huge variety of waterbirds.
The dry season of July to October is the best time to visit to spot large mammals, whilst the wet season of November to June is the best time for birdwatching