Arusha National Park
This is the small but beautiful National Park near Kilimanjaro Airport. Arusha and Moshi provide an ideal destination for day’s safari or to relax in after an ascent of Kili or Mt Meru in one of the lodges in the park.
As well as having an abundance of wildlife Arusha National Park has three special features: Mt Meru, Momela Lakes and the Ngurdoto Crater. Mt. Meru, Tanzania’s second highest peak at 4566m, is one of Africa’s most beautiful volcanoes. The route to the summit passes through parkland, montane forest, a giant heather zone and moorland. Finally, the summit is reached by a narrow, barren ridge which provides stunning views of the Ash Cone lying several thousand feet below in the crater and Kilimanjaro in the background. Over 400 species of birds, rhino, elephant, buffalo, baboon, warthog, black and white Colobus monkey and duiker are all found in this delightful “gem amongst parks”.
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Little Serengeti will appear and is very rewarding, slow moving giraffe stride across the open grass land, small herds of zebra graze along with water buck, wart hogs take off at high speed with tail raised as if on an electric wire. It’s the perfect start to any Safari with the added bonus of having the freedom to make a half day walking with an armed ranger.
The Ngurdoto Crater stretches 3 km’s across; it is a steep-sided bowl surrounded by riverine forest. The crater floor is a lush swamp with many visible animal trials and provides a natural sanctuary to many animals, including elephant, buffalo, a variety of monkeys, baboons and birds since it is prohibited for tours to descend down to the bottom of the crater. To the west of the crater an extensive grassland plain, Serengeti Ndogo.
A visit to Momela lakes, with flamingoes and other wildlife, is an unforgettable experience. There are seven shallow alkaline lakes, all seven lakes being mainly fed by separate underground water sources. Due to the varying mineral content of these underground sources, each lake supports a different type of algae growth, resulting in differently coloured lakes.
If you are thinking of trekking up the slopes of Mt. Meru to her summit (4566 m.) which is reached along screed knife ridged slops then allow yourself the extra day to enjoy the return through the rain forest. The climb can be done in 3 days but this will leave you feeling tired for a day afterwards as you head to the summit then ascend to the park gate in one day. It’s a lot of downhill for anybody. The 4 day gives you the freedom to drop down part way then continue the following day for an easy descent through the rain forest.
- Game drives of the park
- Half-day walking safaris on the foothills of Mt. Meru
- Canoeing around Momella lake to get close to water buffalo, hippo and many types of water birds, including lesser east African flamingo.
Mount Meru, Momella lakes, rolling hills, lush forest, Ngurdoto Crater, little Serengeti, zebra, waterbuck, bushbuck, warthog, wild pig, giraffe, dik dik, elephant, buffalo, hippo, hyena, leopard, sykes (blue) monkey, vervet monkey, baboon, black and white colobus, bush babies. Great birding, butterflies, chameleons and smaller reptiles.
Best time to visit
Year round for game activities – for climbing Mount Meru the same goes as for Mt. Kilimanjaro; July – early October and December – March.
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