A setting once described by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest I had seen in Africa,” Lake Manyara is a true wonder of Tanzania. Its shallow blue waters, lined with pink-hued flamingos and more than 400 species of birds, give life to the surrounding area and attract wildlife and travelers alike to its peaceful seclusion.

Surrounding Lake Manyara is the smaller, more exclusive Lake Manyara National Park, which stretches for 31 miles along the base of the towering golden ridges of the Rift Valley escarpment. Upon entrance to the Lake Manyara National Park, a sign begs your attention with the saying, “Remove nothing from this Park except: Nourishment for the soul, Consolation for the heart, Inspiration for the mind.” And that is exactly what Lake Manyara delivers. The compact game viewing here is a veritable microcosm of the Tanzanian safari experience, with expert guides who are not only lovers of the park’s ecosystem but are also passionate birders. With their guidance, you will be introduced to Manyara’s legendary tree-climbing lions and vast elephant herds, as well as the largest concentration of baboons anywhere in the world, who make their home in the lush groundwater forests alongside Skyes monkey and short-eared bushbabies.

Beyond the forested entry is the grassy floodplain and alkaline lake centerpiece, where herbivores such as hippos, impalas, wildebeests, buffalo, warthogs, Masai giraffes, and zebra herds congregate in troves under the mountainside’s watchful peaks. Inland, a narrow belt of acacia woodland filled with enormous fig and mahogany trees draw nourishment from the underground springs, constantly replenished from crater highlands above the Manyara basin. This is the favored haunt of the mystifying cheetah, tree-climbing lions, and squads of elephants the park was originally established to protect and a favored highlight for visitors. Between the banded mongoose darting between the trees and the plethora of waterfowl gracing its shores, Lake Manyara National Park is an excellent location for learning about Tanzania’s delicate ecosystem while simultaneously enjoying its breathtaking beauty. The magic found at Lake Manyara National Park is truly unlike any other.