Lake Manyara National Park

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Described by Hemingway in the "Green Hills of Africa", this once prime hunting ground is today a national park of unsurpassed beauty. Lying on the floor of the Eastern Rift Valley, Lake Manyara spreads out in a shallow depression, dominating the scene and standing out starkly against a backdrop of the sheer red cliff of the western escarpment.

One enters Manyara from the village of Mto wa Mbu or 'Mosquito Creek' - the only place in Africa where one can hear the four major language groups. The entrance of the park is dominated by a rich groundwater forest. Here elephants feed on the fallen wild fig and blue monkey, vevet, baboon, bushbuck, waterbuck, nocturnal aardvark, civet, pangolin and leopard can be seen. Buffalo and hippo wallow in the nearby Hippo Pool where most of the park's 380 species of birdlife can be spotted.

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 only endemic to Manyara lions. Along with these amazing tree-climbing lions there are the usual browsers and grazers as well as the interesting banded mongoose.

Two thirds of the park is dominated by the slightly alkaline lake which is home to a seemingly endless variety of waterbirds.