Arusha National Park

Nested on the foothills of Mt Meru in Arusha National Park. Arusha National Park is a small national park(137 sq. km) 45 minutes away from Arusha City.

It has a variety of landscapes such as the open savannah, acacia scrubland, and rainforest among others.

The distinct spectacular landscape features are the Meru crater, the Ngurdoto Crater, and the Momela lakes. These features host different kinds of plants and animals which makes the park rich in biodiversity.

Things to do in Arusha National Park

1. Game drives

Game drives provide an opportunity to view very many animals in Arusha National Park. It involves taking a drive on the trails and running through the park while viewing animals along the way.

2. Walking safari

Walking safaris are quite common in Arusha National Park. Since there are literally no predators in the park, it is a bit safe to take a walking safari. Visitors move with an armed ranger to ensure more safety.

Walking safaris offer a better and up-close look at wildlife in Arusha National Park.

3. Canoeing

Canoeing is an amazing activity to do in order to enjoy the calm waters of lake Momela. This activity offers views of many animals like hippopotamus, giraffes, bushbucks, African fish eagle, African olive pigeon, Augur buzzard, and many others.

4. Climbing Mt Meru

Climbing Mt Meru usually takes 3-4 days. All climbing groups start at Momella gate and take the same route to the top.

It is easy to spot wildlife along the trail. There are also huts along the way that provide basic but comfortable accommodation.

The views at the top are breathtaking especially the side with the scenic Mt Kilimanjaro at a distance.

5. Bird watching

Arusha National Park has over 400 bird species.

These include hadada ibis, the pink flamingos, white-necked raven, African fish eagle, pelicans, saddle-billed stork, cattle egret, scaly francolin, African olive pigeon, Egyptian goose, golden eagle, crowned eagle, Jacobin cuckoo, ostriches, yellow-billed stork, African spoonbill, black-headed heron, African jacanas, bronzy sunbird, white-crested tilt, Hamerkop, and so many others.

Areas of Interest in Arusha National Park

• Momela lakes

Momela lakes are seven shallow lakes in Arusha National Park. These lakes include Big Momela, Small Momela, El Kekhotoito, Kusare, Rishateni, Lekandiro, and Tulusia.
They are alkaline lakes formed from volcanic debris and so animals do not drink their water. Different animals and birds, however, may be seen on their banks. These Momela Lakes are a great habitat, especially for pink flamingos.

• Fig Tree arch

The fig tree arch is an arch formed by a fig tree whose roots form an arch shape. The arch is large enough that a car can pass underneath. This arch was formed because seeds of a parasitic tree were dropped in the fork of the host tree. These seeds germinated and their roots slowly reached the ground and strangled the host tree.

• the Ngurdoto crater

Ngurdoto Crater is a volcanic crater in Arusha National Park. It is surrounded by forest and the crater floor is a swamp. It is a great point for viewing wildlife for example Elephants, the African Buffalo, black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, spur-winged geese, hamerkop, and many others.

• Mt Meru

Mt Meru is the second highest mountain in Tanzania. At a height of 4,562.13m, it is visible and provides a beautiful backdrop for Arusha National Park.

Mt Meru has a rainforest that hosts many wild animals and birds.

Flora & Fauna in Arusha National Park

Wildlife

There are many animals in Arusha National Park despite its small size. This is attributed to the variety of landscapes in the area. Animals that may be spotted in the park include giraffes, cape buffalo, zebras, warthogs, black and white colobus monkeys, bushbucks, and many others. There are also some Leopards although they are often not seen.

Birds

Arusha National Park is home to over 400 different bird species. Birds that can be seen include African fish eagles, Augur buzzards, Verreaux’s eagles, flamingoes, silver cheeked Hornbills, little grebe, hammerkops, pelicans, and very many others.

Migratory birds may be seen in the park from November to April.

Where to stay in Arusha N.P

Accommodation may be within the park or in Arusha City which is 45 minutes away. There is a variety of accommodations available and well developed to suit your needs according to your budget.

Best time to visit Arusha N.P

The best time to visit Arusha National Park is from June to March during the dry seasons with occasional rains in November.

During this time, the animals are much easier to see since the vegetation is not thick. There is also usually much more sunlight and less rain during this time of year.

This time is also best for climbing Mt Meru.

Getting to Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park can be accessed by either road or air transport.

By road, driving to Arusha National Park from;

  • Arusha takes about 45 minutes.
  • Ngorongoro takes about 3-4 hours.
  • Lake Manyara takes about 3 hours.
  • Tarangire takes about 2-3 hours.
  • Moshi takes between 1-2 hours.
By air, you can take a domestic flight to Arusha Airport from Kilimanjaro International Airport. Then you will drive to the park entrance which is 45 minutes away.