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About Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park is one of the small national parks in northern Arusha part of Tanzania, measuring 552 sq km (212 sq miles). 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 colors and are known for their wading birds. 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-kilometer axis of Africa’s most famous national parks, running from Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in the west to Kilimanjaro National Park in the east.

Mount Meru : Fifty miles (80 km) west of Mount Kilimanjaro lies is an often overlooked, but spectacular volcano. Mount Meru is 14,980 feet (4,565 m) high, and serves as a great warm up before climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (19,341 ft/5,895 m). In fact, it is ideal for altitude acclimatization and you may elect to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with a lower number of days after climbing Meru. On the mountain, there is a good chance of seeing wildlife, and the crowds that can be seen on Kilimanjaro are non-existent here. Many people who climb both mountains have a quiet preference for the humble Mount Meru.


Tourist Attractions in the Arusha National Park

The park is dotted with an abundance of unique mammal species such as the African elephant, Cape buffalo, hippo, zebra, giraffe, and even the camera-shy wildebeest. Leopard populations are present but rarely seen. Getting up close and personal to these incredible mammals are easy, as guided canoe trips and walking safari packages are readily available at the park. What’s more, Arusha’s unmatched variety of fascinating landscapes include an expansive open savanna that later gives way to a patch of acacia scrubland before finally culminating in a lush rainforest. The alpine conditions in the lofty sides of the majestic Mt Meru only add to the picturesque the backdrop of this national park. 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.


Tourism Activities in the Arusha National Park

The closest national park to Arusha town – northern Tanzania’s safari capital – Arusha National Park is a multi-faceted jewel, often overlooked by safari goers, despite offering the opportunity to explore a beguiling diversity of habitats within a few hours.

Game viewing

It is a popular destination for day trip visitors who are about to embark from the town of Arusha on longer northern circuit safaris. The small national park includes the slopes, summit, and ash cone of Mt. Meru, the Momela Lakes, Ngurdoto Crater, and the lush highland forests that blanket its lower slopes. Game viewing around the Momela Lakes is at a laid-back and quiet pace, and while passing through the forest many visitors stop to search for troupes of rare colobus monkeys playing in the canopy.

Walking safaris

Due to the low numbers of predators in the park, walking safaris are permitted. This is a must for anyone wanting to get a closer look at the moss-covered trees and the occasional red hot pokers as well as for those wanting to get up close to wildlife. Most common sightings whilst on a walking safari include buffaloes, warthogs, giraffes and a variety of birds such as the silvery cheeked hornbill, little bee-eater and the occasional long crested eagle. The walk takes visitors to the refreshing Tululusia waterfalls and back to the Momella gate.

Canoe safari

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.


Climbing Mt. Meru or enjoying the smaller trails that criss-cross its lower slopes is a popular activity for visitors to Arusha National Park. The three-day trek to reach the crater’s summit is quieter, and some say more challenging alternatives than the famous peak of nearby Mount Kilimanjaro. Along the lower slopes, the paths to rivers and waterfalls create a relaxing day hike for visitors who don’t want to attempt the rather arduous climb. Ancient fig tree forests, crystal clear waters cascading from mountain streams, and a chance to spot colobus monkeys are the attractions and pleasures of Arusha National Park.

Bird watching

Over 400, bird species are counted in this great park. For those who love bird watching do not miss out this great park, as it will reward you with a great birding experience.


Best Time to Visit the Arusha National Park

One of the best times to visit this protected wildlife sanctuary is during the region’s dry season (that’s from June to November, or December to March every year). Arusha Park is an excellent all-year-round bird viewing hotspot though, mainly from November all the way to April when the long-distance migratory birds are in the area. Some of these birds will fly from as far as North Africa and Europe to breed in this enchanting land. The best months to climb Mt Meru: June to February, and December to February; although it may rain in November.


How to Access Arusha National Park

The park is just a few kilometers northeast 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). There’s nowhere else on the earth that the transition between a pristine mountainous landscape and the bustling city landscape is as abrupt as it in Arusha National Park.

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