After Tarangire, Manyara is the second park that one passes when heading by road from the town of Arusha towards Ngorongoro and Serengeti. The main road passes right by the only entrance gate, meaning that no diversion at all is necessary, and the park is relatively small, meaning that it can easily be sampled reasonably well in just a few hours.
Manyara is a dramatically scenic park with an unusual range of habitats and species. This is especially marked given its small size of 330 square kilometres, of which two thirds is taken up by the freshwater Lake Manyara itself.
Approaching from the southeast the road crosses open steppe, with the line of the great rift valley escarpment looming increasingly up ahead, the mountains of Ngorongoro beyond. Lake Manyara is at the foot of the rift off to the left side. As the road reaches the rift it enters the suddenly verdant and well watered areas around the small town of Mto wa Mbu, before passing the entrance to the park itself.
Although there are other more dramatic sections of the escarpment in both the Natron and Eyasi areas, nowhere else is it accompanied by such a verdant and game-rich environment. The atmosphere deep within the park, especially morning and evening, is quite magical, with wonderful views out across the flamingo covered waters.
The Lake Manyara is mostly know because of the famous tree climbing lions.
In some seasons and at certain times of the year lion can be seriously bothered by biting flies, which they sometimes try to avoid by climbing convenient acacias. This happens not only in Manyara, but also in Serengeti and, to a greater or lesser extent, in many other reserves across Africa.