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Arusha National Park

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Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park, located just 30 minutes away from the bustling city of Arusha, is a haven for nature enthusiasts. The park’s dynamic topography seamlessly blends with urban locales, surprising visitors with lush greenery and stunning landscapes. Boasting three main features – Mount Meru, Momella Lake, and Ngurdoto Crater – the park offers a range of activities, making it an ideal spot for those seeking adventure.

Wildlife Wonders

In terms of wildlife, Arusha National Park showcases a variety of mammals. With one of the highest concentrations of giraffes in Tanzania, spotting these majestic creatures is practically guaranteed. Other easily visible animals include elephants, zebras, buffalos, and hippos. While wildebeests occasionally visit, the park’s true wildlife gem is the Colobus monkey, often spotted in the woodlands. However, predator concentrations are low, making sightings of leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, and wild dogs rare.

Birdwatcher’s Paradise

Thanks to Momella Lake, the park attracts a diverse range of birds. Geese, hamerkops, grebes, herons, flamingoes, pelicans, and hornbills flock to the lake, creating a vibrant avian spectacle. Birds of prey, such as eagles and the elegant secretary birds, add to the rich birdlife in the park.

Botanical Beauty

Arusha National Park is not only a haven for wildlife but also boasts a rich variety of vegetation. Woodlands of acacias, kigelias, and schefflera dominate the landscape. Visitors can also encounter juniperus, euphorbias, and ficus, with vibrant flowers like lantana, hibiscus, and jacaranda adding a touch of color to the surroundings.

Activities in Arusha National Park

Mount Meru Climb: Conquering Tanzania’s Second Highest Peak

Mount Meru, an active volcano and Tanzania’s second tallest mountain, beckons adventure seekers. Often considered a practice climb for Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru’s challenging ascent helps tourists acclimate to high altitudes. The climb can be a day hike, taking around 7 hours, offering close encounters with wildlife amid peaceful surroundings. Alternatively, a full climb to the summit takes 3-4 days, presenting a more strenuous but rewarding experience.

Best tackled during the dry season (June to March), the climb provides clear views and a chance to glimpse the snow-covered Kilimanjaro. While challenging, the climb offers an unobstructed, peaceful experience compared to the more crowded Kilimanjaro.

Canoeing: Serenity on Lake Momella

For those seeking a more relaxed adventure, canoeing in Lake Momella is a delightful option. Exploring Small Momella, the journey takes 2-2.5 hours, allowing visitors to row their own canoes alongside a guide. Wildlife sightings include hippos, bushbucks, buffalos, giraffes, and an array of birds like herons, flamingoes, and grebes.

Walking Safari: Embracing Nature on Foot

Arusha National Park’s low predator concentration makes it an ideal location for walking safaris. After a game drive, visitors can register at Momella Gate for a guided walking safari. Roaming at a safe distance, participants can closely observe wildlife and learn about the park’s flora from experienced rangers.

Ngurdoto Crater Visit: Hiking Amidst Wilderness

The northern section of the park features the Ngurdoto Crater, a great location for hiking. Covered by rainforests and surrounded by lush vegetation, the crater offers stunning views. Visitors can hike to the crater floor, exploring the rim and viewpoints by either walking or using a vehicle.


Choosing the Best Time to Visit

The timing of your visit can significantly impact the experience:

Dry Season: Wildlife and Adventure Enthusiasts’ Paradise

For wildlife enthusiasts and adventure seekers, the dry season (June to March) is ideal. Thinner forests make wildlife more visible, and this season is perfect for Mount Meru climbing and walking safaris. Clear skies ensure breathtaking views of the park and Kilimanjaro.

Wet Season: A Treat for Bird Lovers

During the wet season, bird lovers can rejoice as migratory birds flock to the park. Flamingoes, waterbucks, trogons, geese, ibises, pelicans, and more species can be spotted during these months.

Arusha National Park

Getting There – Arusha NP

Accessing Arusha National Park is convenient:

By Air: Quick Transfers from Kilimanjaro International Airport

From Kilimanjaro International Airport, a one-hour drive in a safari vehicle will bring you to the park. Alternatively, it’s a 40-minute drive from Arusha town.

By Road: Public Transport or Private Taxi Options

Buses operate daily from Arusha and Ngare Nanyuki village to Ngongongare gate, providing a budget-friendly option. Alternatively, visitors can hire a taxi for a more personalized journey from Arusha to the park.