This is the nearest national park to the town of Arusha– which is Tanzania’s northern safari capital. Arusha National Park is an all-around natural gem, commonly overlooked by those on safari although it offers a chance to explore an enthralling diversity of wildlife habitats in a couple of hours.
The park entrance gate takes you into the faint montane forest home to the blue monkeys as well as the colorful turacos plus the trogons, and it is the only park on Tanzania’s northern safari circuit in which you can easily see the acrobatic black and white colobus monkeys. In the middle of this forest you will find the beautiful Ngurdoto Crater, with steep rocky cliffs that enclose a broad swampy floor scattered with numerous warthogs plus buffaloes.
Moving further t the north, are the rolling grass covered hills that enclose the peaceful beauty of the stunning Momela Lakes, each with a different shade of blue or even green. Their shallows of the lakes are at times visited by countless pink flamingos. These lakes support a great diversity of resident plus migrant waterfowl, as well as the hairy waterbucks which display their big horns shaped like lyres on the water border. Giraffes move across the grass covered hills, while numerous zebras graze in the fields and pairs of big eyed dik-dik run into the bush using their spindly legs.
even though elephants are rare in Arusha National Park, lions are entirely absent here, while leopards plus spotted hyenas can be seen creeping around early in the morning as well as in the late afternoon. It is as well at sunset and sunrise that the cloud cover on the eastern horizon will clear, and may be unveil the views of the majestic snow covered peaks of Mountain Kilimanjaro, just 50 kilometers or 30 miles away.
However Mount Meru which is the 5th highest mountain in Africa standing at 4566 meters that dominates the horizaon of this park. The peaks plus the eastern foothills of this mountain are protected inside the national park. Mount Meru offers unmatched views of its well-known neighbor – Mt. Kilimanjaro and is also a wonderful place to visit for those interested in hiking adventures.
Walking through the wooded savannah in which buffalos plus giraffes are commonly seen, the climb of Mount Meru takes you into forests burning with red-hot pokers as well as dripping with the impressive Spanish moss, prior to arriving at high open moorland dotted with huge lobelias. The Everlasting flowers adhere to the alpine desert, while the klipspringers blotch the progress of your hike. On reaching the rocky summit, you will be able to enjoy clear views of Mountain Kilimanjaro.
Location and size of Arusha National Park
this park covers a total land area of 552 sq km or 212 sq miles. It is Located in Northern Tanzania just northeast of the tourism capital of Arusha town..
How to reach Arusha National Park
it is only a 40 minute drive from the town of Arusha. The distance to Arusha NP is nearly 60 km or 35 miles from Kilimanjaro International Airport. You can visit the Ngurdoto Crater, the lakes and forest on this half-day adventure at the start or finish of an extended adventure on a northern Tanzania safari.
Activities to enjoy in Arusha National Park
Forest walks and picnic lunches since the park has several picnic sites; a 3 or 4 days climb of Mt Meru with ample time for acclimatization for Mt. Kilimanjaro.
When to visit Arusha National Park
the best time to climb Mt Meru is from June to February although at times it could rain in the month of November.
Mountain Kilimanjaro can best be viewed from December to February.
Accommodation in Arusha National Park
There are 2 lodges, 2 rest houses, some camp sites, 2 mountain huts in the park, however, more lodges can be found outside the park boundaries and more hotels plus hostels within the town of Arusha.