Arusha National Park
Tanzania Destinations | northern circuit
Arusha National Park is covering 138 sq. Kilometres lie between the peaks of Mountain Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru and ascends from 1500 metres at Momella to 4566 metres at the summit of Mount Meru. Established in 1960 the park contained Ngurdoto Crater and Momella lakes, until 1967 when Mt. Meru was made part of the Park.
The flora and fauna vary with the topography, which ranges from forest to swamp. The best time for visiting is during the dry season from July-March. The best months to climb Mount Meru are June-February (although there are some rains in November). On clear days magnificent views of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru can be seen from almost any part of the park. The best views of Mt. Kilimanjaro is from December-February.
The Park is only 25 kilometers East of Arusha, 58 kilometres from Moshi and 35 kilometres from Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA). It is the nearest National Park to both Arusha and Kilimanjaro International Airport and is thereby an easy day trip. From the main road between Arusha and Moshi, it is about 10 kilometres to reach Ngurdoto Gate.
The Park contains a diverse resident population of herbivores, primates and predators including black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, elephants, giraffes, buffalos, hippos, leopards, and hyenas, waterbucks, wart hogs and a wide range of antelope species. No lions in the park, although you can see leopards if you are lucky.
If you wish to walk on the Mount Meru (4566 m) sector of the park through a variety of landscapes, plains, forest moorlands, and a lava desert, it is compulsory to be accompanied by an armed game warden because of the wild animals. From the summit of Mount Meru, you will have an impressive view of the crater and of the eruption cone 3000 metres below.
Arusha National Park is famous for its 400 species of bird life, both migrant and resident such as red sharks, hamerkops, spurwinged gooses, herons, woodpeckers, grey parrots, secretary birds and many more. The Momela Lakes offer plenty of bird-watching opportunities.