Arusha National Park covers Mount Meru, a prominent volcano with an elevation of 4566 m, in the Arusha Region of north eastern Tanzania. The park is small but varied with spectacular landscapes in three distinct areas. In the west, the Meru Crater funnels the Jekukumia River; the peak of Mount Meru lies on its rim. Ngurdoto Crater in the south-east is grassland. The shallow alkaline Momella Lakes in the north-east have varying algal colours and are known for their wading birds.
Arusha National Park is a small park of 137 km² but has remarkable sights including the fourth highest mountain in Africa; Mount Meru (4566m). The transition between the urban chaos and pristine mountain hiking trails is very obvious and abrupt when entering Arusha National Park. Visitors are thrilled by the breathtaking landscapes ranging from the Meru Crater in the west, the Ngurdoto Crater in the south-east, to the grasslands and the Momella lakes in the north-east.
It also shelters Ngurdoto Crater, often called Little Ngorongoro, with its swamp-filled floor. Animals which can be found in the park, amongst others, are the black & white Colobus monkeys, small predators, giraffes, elephants and buffaloes. The park is excellent as a starting point of your trip to acclimatize after a long international flight. On a clear day and a with a bit of luck you can see the majestic Kilimanjaro in the distance.
Mount Meru is the second highest peak in Tanzania after Mount Kilimanjaro, which is just 60 km away and forms a backdrop to views from the park to the east. Arusha National Park lies on a 300-kilometre axis of Africa’s most famous national parks, running from Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in the west to Kilimanjaro National Park in the east.
The park is just a few kilometres north east of Arusha, though the main gate is 25 km east of the city. It is also 58 km from Moshi and 35 km from Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).
Mount Meru is a dormant stratovolcano located 70 kilometres (43 mi) west of Mount Kilimanjaro in the country of Tanzania. At a height of 4,562.13 metres (14,968 ft), it is visible from Mount Kilimanjaro on a clear day, and is the fifth-highest mountain in Africa, dependent on definition. Mount Meru is located just north of the city of Arusha, in the Arusha Region of Tanzania. It is the second-highest mountain in Tanzania, after Mount Kilimanjaro. The Momella route which starts at Momella gate, on the eastern side of the mountain is used to climb Mount Meru.
Mount Meru is the topographic centerpiece of Arusha National Park. Its fertile slopes rise above the surrounding savanna and support a forest that hosts diverse wildlife, including nearly 400 species of birds, and also monkeys and leopards.
Arusha National Park has a rich variety of wildlife, but visitors shouldn’t expect the same game-viewing experience they find in other national parks of Tanzania’s northern circuit. Despite the small size of the park, common animals include giraffe, Cape buffalo, zebra, warthog, the black-and-white colobus monkey, the blue monkey, flamingo, elephant, bushbuck and many other African animals. Leopard populations are present, but rarely seen.
Birdlife in the forest is prolific, with many forest species more easily seen here than elsewhere on the tourist route – Narina trogon and bar-tailed trogon are both possible highlights for visiting birders, whilst the range of starling species provide somewhat less gaudy interest.
Visitors to Arusha National Park will have opportunities to do game viewing ,ride a horse ,climb the mount Meru as well as do organized walks with a ranger!
Arusha National Park is special because it is one of the few parks in Tanzania where you have the opportunity to do a safari by foot. An armed ranger will be waiting for you to accompany you on your exciting walking safari. During this activity you get the chance to experience the wildlife up-close, a totally different experience than game-viewing by car. Buffalo, waterbuck, giraffe, warthog, zebra, bush-buck and of course the naughty baboons can be seen all year round as well as many different bird species. The walking safari takes 2 to 3 hours during which you cross the Jekukumia River and visit a beautiful waterfall where you can take a refreshing ‘shower’. The shadowy Montane forest is inhabited by inquisitive blue monkeys, many colorful birds and is the only place on the northern safari circuit where the acrobatic black-and-white Colobus monkey is often seen. The guide stops regularly, not merely searching for game, but telling you about birds, insects, trees, animal droppings, the medicinal use of plants and which animals eat which plants.
Enjoy a peaceful and scenic canoeing safari following the shorelines of small Momella Lake. On this 2- 2.5 hours canoe safari you can view buffaloes, bushbuck, giraffes, hippos and many water birds living in and close to the water.
Best Time to Visit: Arusha National Park