Manyara is also home to another forest an evergreen, jungle-like area full of monkeys enjoying the many, remarkably high trees. The most dominant of them all is the spectacular sycamore fig, hardly to be missed thanks to its creamy yellow and brown bark. Other stunning specimens typical for Lake Manyara National Park are the huge baobabs that you will find all over the Rift Wall. The lushness of the forest derives from groundwater seeping down from the extinct Ngorongoro volcano. This underground life artery can be experienced directly in the hot springs in the south of the park where sulphurous water bubbles out, steaming hot to the touch. Despite the rather small strip of land, Lake Manyara National Park won’t let you down when it comes to wildlife spotting. There are over 500 bird species; even an amateur will be able to detect an impressive hundred a day. Flamingos dot the lake surface, joined by myriad other water birds that are best spotted at the end of the dry season. The most astonishing encounter in the forest is the silvery cheeked hornbill and there’s no better place than Lake Manyara to encounter a palm-nut vulture. And that’s just the start. Practically all large mammals roam the grassy floodplains, as residents or migratory visitors. Although lion, spotted hyena, serval, caracal, leopard and cheetah are more prolific in other parks, keeping an eye out will reap high rewards here. Don’t forget to look up; the narrow belt of acacia woodland is the favourite playground of Manyara’s fabulous tree-resting lions the reasons behind this peculiar behaviour remains a mystery even today. You will tick the boxes for buffalo, elephant, zebra, wildebeest, warthog, baboon, many kinds of antelope and Maasai giraffe. An interesting fact about the latter is that the older the male, the darker the skin.