Arusha National Park

Established in 1960, Arusha National Park spans 137 square kilometers and sits between the peaks of Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro. The park’s elevation ranges from 1500m at Momella to 4566m at Mount Meru’s summit. Originally encompassing Ngurdoto Crater and Momella Lakes, the park expanded in 1967 to include Mount Meru.

Arusha National Park features diverse flora and fauna due to its varied topography, which includes forests, swamps, and grasslands. The best time to visit is during the dry season from July to March, with June to February recommended for climbing Mount Meru.

On clear days, the park offers spectacular views of Mount Meru and, from December to February, inspiring vistas of Mount Kilimanjaro. Located approximately 58 kilometers from Moshi, 35 kilometers from Kilimanjaro International Airport, and 25 kilometers east of Arusha, it is the closest national park to both Arusha and the airport. Ngurdoto Gate is approximately 10 kilometers from the main road between Arusha and Moshi.

Arusha National Park boasts a rich diversity of herbivores, predators, and primate species, including baboons, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, leopards, hippos, hyenas, warthogs, black and white colobus monkeys, waterbucks, and various antelopes. Notably, lions are absent from the park.

Exploring the picturesque landscapes, forest moorlands, lava deserts, and plains around Mount Meru is best done with an armed park ranger for safety against wild animals. The summit of Mount Meru offers stunning views of its crater and eruption cone.

In addition to its wildlife, Arusha National Park is renowned for its abundant bird species, with over 400 recorded, including migratory and resident birds such as hamerkops, spur-winged geese, herons, woodpeckers, grey parrots, secretary birds, and red shanks.

 Activities in the Park

 Game Viewing 
Arusha National Park is a prime destination for wildlife viewing, offering sightings of giraffes, cape buffaloes, zebras, warthogs, blue monkeys, elephants, lions, and black and white colobus monkeys. The park’s forests are also teeming with birdlife, making it a paradise for bird enthusiasts.

 Ngurdoto Crater 
Surrounded by riverine forest, Ngurdoto Crater’s lush swamp and steep-sided bowl provide sanctuary to animals like African buffaloes, elephants, various monkeys, baboons, herons, hamerkops, and spur-winged geese. Zebras are commonly found in Serengeti Ndogo, an extensive grassland in the western side of the crater.

 Climbing Mount Meru 
Mount Meru, Africa’s fifth-highest mountain and the second-highest peak in East Africa, offers thrilling hiking adventures within Arusha National Park. The recommended climb is a four-day trek to the summit, offering breathtaking views of landscapes and wildlife.

 Momela Lakes 
These seven shallow alkaline lakes, including the largest, Lake Momela, are fed by underground water sources and each supports different algae growth. Although the alkaline waters are not utilized by animals, they attract a variety of African birds.

 Uwanja Wa Mbogo 
Located 500 meters west of Momela Gate, this area comprises streams, marshes, and bushes that attract buffaloes, giraffes, and other wildlife, making it ideal for game viewing.

 Cave Waterfall and Fig Tree Arch 
The Cave Waterfall, nestled on Mount Meru’s slopes, and the Fig Tree Arch (Ficus thonningii), formed by parasitic tree seeds dropped by birds, are natural wonders not to be missed.

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