Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park is a hidden treasure, the country’s second-oldest park (it was formed in 1960), and one of the smallest (its area is just 542) in Tanzania . An ecological mosaic rich in variety and fauna that is frequently overlooked in favour of its more well-known neighbours. Wonderful opportunities to discover nature await you at the Park. Unlike other parks on Tanzania’s northern circuit, it doesn’t have great vistas of the “big five,” but it does have great climbing and hiking on Mount Meru.
The park has a wide range of landscapes, from the lush wetlands of Ngurdoto Crater to the peaceful serenity of the Momela Lakes and the rugged alpine heights of Mount Meru. There are zebras grazing on the park’s crimson meadows, and leopards hiding out by the waterfalls in the dense forest. Arusha National Park is home to unique primates like the black and white Colobus monkey as well as over 400 migratory and permanent bird species.
The summit of Mount Meru, an active volcano that last erupted almost a century ago, is 4566 metres above sea level, although the climb from its base is around 3100 metres. Ngurdoto caldera is the other prominent monument; it was created between 1 and 3 million years ago. The Momela Lakes in the region’s northeast were created by volcanic activity around 6,000 years ago.
The ascent of Mt. Meru is gratifying, passing through forests of dripping Spanish moss and rising to an open heath peppered with huge lobelia plants. Delicate Klipspringer antelope observe hikers from the tops of massive rocks, while eternal flowers cling to the alpine desert under your feet. The view of nearby Mt. Kilimanjaro from the rugged peak is stunning at daybreak.
Each of the seven Momela lakes has a distinctively greenish-blue appearance due to its high alkalinity. Flamingoes populating these lakes also contribute to the colour scheme by introducing pink.
During the dry season (July to November) or after the brief rains (December to March), Arusha National Park is at its finest. Climbing Mount Meru is ideal between June and February while seeing Mount Kilimanjaro is best between December and February. The park is easily accessible within a day’s trip from either Arusha or Moshi since it is just 25 kilometers to the east of the city of Arusha.
Planning to Visit Arusha National Park
Best time to visit the Park
June through October and December through February are prime times to explore the park. Hiking routes and animal safaris in the park are at their best during this time of year because of the dry weather. The park is open all year, though, and each season has its own special offerings.
Day visits and guided tours are provided for those who only have a short amount of time to spend in the park. Day visits are great for those who want to experience the park’s main features in a single day, while guided tours are suitable for those who want to learn more about the park’s flora and animals. Guided excursions and day trips can be reserved in advance or on the day of travel.
Getting to Arusha National Park
Visitors visiting Tanzania will find that Arusha National Park is a simple day trip from either the city of Arusha or the city of Moshi. Visitors may access the park quickly and simply by vehicle or taxi from the city of Arusha. Visitors on safari in northern Tanzania often make a stop at Arusha National Park.
For those who don’t have much time but yet want to see some of Tanzania’s magnificent animals and sceneries, this park is a great option. Game drives, hiking, kayaking, and even walking safaris are just some of the activities available to parkgoers.
Attractions Outside Arusha National Park
The city of Arusha is more than simply a transit point to the national park; it’s also a fascinating place in its own right. The town and its surroundings provide a wealth of other sightseeing opportunities.
The Arusha Coffee Lodge is a must-see for any coffee connoisseur. Originally established in the early 1900s, this coffee plantation is now a beautiful lodge where guests may enjoy tours of the estate’s coffee grounds and roastery. Discover the full cycle of coffee production from bean to cup, from picking to roasting.
Hiking and Mountain Climbing
There are a number of trails for hiking in the region, including one that leads to the summit of Mount Meru, Tanzania’s second-highest peak. The native Maasai people, their customs, and their distinctive dances may all be explored on a cultural trip.
Gateway to the rest of Tanzania
You may use Arusha as an entry point to discover the rest of Tanzania. The town is situated in a prime area for exploring the country’s many national parks and other protected areas in the north. Seeing some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife in their natural habitat is as simple as booking a tour out of Arusha on a Tanzania safari.
In addition, Arusha serves as a starting point for several of Tanzania’s most well-known tourism circuits, such as the Northern Circuit, which takes visitors to the parks of Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara, and Tarangire. It is also the starting point for excursions to the southern parks, such as Ruaha and Selous, and to Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain.
Frequently Asked Questions about Arusha National Park
What is Arusha National Park and where is it located?
Northern Tanzania is home to a small national park known as Arusha National Park. East of the city of Arusha, the park has a total area of around 137 square kilometres. In addition to its beautiful landscapes—which include the Ngurdoto Crater and Mount Meru—this park in northern Tanzania is famous for its abundance of wildlife, which includes buffalo, giraffe, zebra, and colobus monkeys.
What are the main attractions to see and do within the park?
At Arusha National Park, guests have their pick of exciting pursuits. One of the most popular activities is the wildlife safari, during which visitors may observe many different species of animals in their native environments. Guided walking safaris, boat safaris, and game watching safaris provide guests the opportunity to come even closer to the park’s animal inhabitants.
Mount Meru, Tanzania’s second-highest peak, is found there as well, and getting there takes anything from three to four days. The Momella Lakes are a series of tiny alkaline lakes inside the park that are popular for their breathtaking scenery and abundance of birdlife.
How do I get to Arusha National Park and how long does it take to drive from Arusha town?
About 45 minutes is a possible travel time between Arusha town and Arusha National Park. Travellers can choose to rent a car and explore on their own, or they can organise a guided safari tour with a local tour operator. Because of its proximity to Moshi, the park is a popular stop for tourists in the area.
Can I visit Arusha National Park on a day trip or do I need to stay overnight?
It is easy for visitors to spend the day exploring Arusha National Park. Inside the park, visitors can enjoy a variety of activities and attractions, such as canoe safaris, walking safaris, and animal safaris. You may easily spend a day exploring the park. Those who choose to spend longer time in the park or take part in additional activities may stay at one of the lodges located there.
What kind of wildlife can be found within the park?
Arusha National Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, giraffes, zebras, warthogs, baboons, and colobus monkeys. Visitors may also spot flamingos, eagles, and vultures, as well as smaller predators like leopards and hyenas.
What is a walking safari and is it available in Arusha National Park?
During a walking safari, visitors are led by an expert guide through the park and taught about the plants and fauna that live there. Walking safaris in Arusha National Park provide visitors a rare and up-close encounter with the park’s wildlife and landscape. Walking safaris are available to tourists, and they may choose from excursions to popular destinations including Momella Lakes, Ngurdoto Crater, and Mount Meru.
What is the significance of Mount Meru within the park and can it be climbed?
Mount Meru, Tanzania’s second-highest mountain, may be found in Arusha National Park. It is a dormant volcano that is often recognised as one of the region’s toughest summits. Climbing Mount Meru is a popular activity for park visitors, and the average trip takes around four days to accomplish.
What are the Momella Lakes and why are they a highlight of the park?
The Momella Lakes are a collection of tiny, alkaline lakes in Arusha National Park. They serve as the park’s centrepiece in terms of attractiveness and biodiversity. The lakes provide a breeding ground for several bird species, including flamingos, herons, and ducks, so when it rains, the waterfowl population explodes.
Enjoy the scenic vistas and abundant bird life by taking a boat out on the lakes. The areas around the lakes are great for nature excursions due to the abundance of wildlife such as giraffes, zebras, buffaloes, and bushbucks.
The lakes are historically and culturally significant, and they were given their name by a Maasai chief who lived there in the nineteenth century. Beautiful Momella Lakes in Arusha National Park, with Mount Meru in the background, are a major draw for visitors.