East Africa, Tanzania

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara itself is the main attraction of the Park, and attracts a variety of waterbirds, including huge flocks of pink flamingos as well as pelicans, storks and cormorants.

Africa is blessed with epic lakes — Tanganyika is the world’s second deepest; all the Rift Lakes are gigantic stunners, and Lake Victoria is a massive and complex inland sea. But many, including Ernest Hemingway, consider the smaller gem of Lake Manyara — with its diamond-white alkali rim, its million or so coral-coloured flamingos, and the deep sapphire waters at its centre — the loveliest of all.

The lake is a birder’s heaven (it’s frequented by 300 migratory avians), and the water from its Crater Highlands-supplied springs makes it a forested redoubt for all the most glamourous large mammals, including the famed Manyara tree-climbing lions (it’s a little irreverent, but tree-lounging might be a better description).

If you’ve seen Out of Africa (if not: you owe it to yourself) you’re familiar with Lake Manyara. It’s the lake that Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen fly over in a biplane, the lake that heart-thumpingly seems to burst into life, when tens — hundreds! — of thousands of flamingos lift from its waters.

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