Arusha national park covers Mount Meru, a prominent volcano with an elevation of 4566m, in the Arusha region of northeastern Tanzania. It is located in Arusha Tanzania and is governed by Tanzania National Parks Authority. 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. Ndurdoto crater in the south-east is grassland. The shallow alkaline Montella lakes in the northeast have varying algal colours and are known for their wading birds.
Mount Meru is the second highest peak in Tanzania after Mount Kilimanjaro, which is just 60km away and forms a backdrop to views from the park to the east. Arusha national park lies on a 300-kilometre axis of Africa’s most famous national parks, running from Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater in the west to Kilimanjaro national park in the east. The park is just a few kilometres northeast of Arusha, though the main gate is 25km east of the city. It is also 58km from Moshi and 35km from Kilimanjaro international airport.
Wildlife in Arusha National park
Arusha national park has a rich variety of wildlife, the visitors shouldn’t expect the same game-viewing experience they find in other national parks of Tanzania’s northern circuit. Despite its small size, Arusha national parks common animals include giraffe, Cape buffalo, zebra, warthog, the black and white Columbus monkey, the blue monkey, flamingo, elephant, bushbuck and many other African animals. The leopard populations are present in this national park but rarely seen. The birdlife in the forest is prolific, with many forest species that are easily seen in this park than elsewhere on the tourist route- the Narina trogon and bar-tailed trogon are both possible highlights for the visiting birders, whilst the range of starling species provide somewhat less gaudy interest.
Best time to visit Arusha national park
Wildlife viewing in Arusha National Park is good throughout the year but is at its best in the Dry season, from late June to October. The beautiful scenery is most impressive in the Wet season, from November to May, although March and April can be very wet and grey. The clear skies from December through February give you the best views of Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro.
Accommodation in Arusha national park
There are 2 lodges, 2 guesthouses, 2 mountain huts plus campsites within the park; more accommodation can be found near River Usa outside the boundaries of the park, as well as several hostels plus hotels in Arusha town.
Things to do
The Arusha national park is an ideal introduction to Tanzania and its amazing safaris. Below you will find an overview of the various excursion options.
Walking safari: Arusha national park is one of the few parks in Tanzania where you can take a walking safari accompanied by an armed ranger. During this quiet walk, you will encounter different types of animals such as buffaloes, giraffes, elephants, antelopes, baboons and the various types of bird species found in this park. It’s always a wonderful experience to enjoy all the natural beauty in a rewarding walk. After half an hour of walking, you will reach the waterfall which makes a refreshing shower.
Kano safari: canoeing is also an active way to get close to the African wildlife. Accompanied by an experienced guide, you will sail along the shores of the mommella lakes where animals such as giraffes, waterbuck, and buffaloes come to quench their thirst. In clear weather, both mount Meru and the snowy peak of Mount Kilimanjaro can be seen from the canoe.
Jeep safari: the above activities are almost always combined with a game drive while on Tanzania Self drive Safari. During a Safari in Arusha national park, you will drive along the various mommella lakes that are surrounded by a forest. At the end of the game drive, the Ndurdoto craters visited. Like the famous Ngorongoro crater, this is a caldera (collapsed volcanic cone) and although smaller, this crater also offers amazing beautiful views.
Climbing Mount Meru: unlike Kilimanjaro Mountain, mount Meru has one route, starting from the mommella gate. If you like to climb a mountain, but don’t have that much time, mount Meru is a great alternative to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. During the ascent, you have a beautiful view river the Great Rift Valley and Mount Kilimanjaro.
Tululusia hill: A former lookout during tribal wars from Tanzania’s post, Tululusia hill is today a popular hiking and camping area that affords visitors an excellent view of the lower reaches of the Arusha national park as well as Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. This heavily forested region of Arusha national park is home to elephants, buffaloes, Columbus monkeys, the red duiker, suni, leopards and even the tree-dwelling pythons.
How to get there
The Arusha national park is about an hour’s drive from the city of Arusha. This is the base for a visit to the park and here you will find numerous tourist offices where you can easily book a safari. You will undoubtedly visit this site during your trip through Tanzania because this is also the base for a visit to the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro crater. You Can consider car Rental in Tanzania to find the best Car hire deals for your visit to Arusha National Park