Arusha National park
With an area of 137 square kilometers, it is one of the smallest national parks in northern Tanzania. It is the best places where you can experience both a walking and a driving safari, located on the slopes of Mount Meru. The mountain faces the nearby Arusha town which is a popular tourist town. It has a great view of the highest point of Africa, the so-called Mount Kilimanjaro.
The Arusha National Park, which gets its name from the Waarusha people who live in the area, is characterized by four main features: The Momela Lake, Ngurdoto Crater, highland forests, and the rugged Mount Meru.
The Momela Lake was discovered in 1876 by a Hungarian who observed a remarkable number of rhino and hippos. However, these have unfortunately disappeared from the park. It is still a unique and tranquil place to relax while you’re in Tanzania. More than 350 species of birds, both migrant and resident, are among the most popular attractions there.
The closest national park to Arusha town, Arusha National Park is a multi-faced jewel, often overlooked by safari goers despite offering the opportunity to explore a beguiling diversity of habitats in only a few hours.
Size: 137sq km.
Location: Northern Tanzania, northeast of Arusha town.
Getting there:An easy 40-minute drive from Arusha; approximately 60km away from Kilimanjaro International Airport
The lakes, forest and Ngurudoto Crater can all be visited in the course of a half-day outing at the beginning or end of an extended northern safari.
What to do:Forest walks, numerous picnic sites, three or four day Mt Meru climb.
When to go:June-February: To climb Mt Meru (it may rain in November)
December-February: Best views of Kilimanjaro
Accommodation:A lodge, two rest houses, camp sites, two mountain huts inside the park, two lodges at Usa River outside the park, and several hotels and hostels in Arusha town
Often over-looked by visitors, Arusha National Park has incredible volcanic scenery, wonderful views of Mt Kilimanjaro (on clear days), a beautiful rainforest and plenty of wildlife. The main features are Ngurdoto Crater and the Momella Lakes. The Momella Lakes attract a wide variety of birds, particularly flamingos. Guests sometimes enjoy this park just as much as the Serengeti NP. Its close proximity to Arusha usually means that it gets put first on a Northern Parks itinerary.
Location: Northern circuit, 40 minutes outside Arusha on the way to Moshi
Things 2 Do: Game-Drives, Forest Walks, Canoeing, Mt. Meru Climb
Time: Usually 1 full day but 2 days if hiking and canoeing. Day trip from Arusha is possible.
Animals:Abundant: Zebras, giraffes, waterbuck, reedbuck, klipspringers, hippos, buffaloes, hyenas, mongooses, dik diks, warthogs, baboons, and vervet and colobus monkeys. Sometimes: Elephants and leopards, but no lions or rhinos.