With an area of 137 square kilometers, Arusha National Park is one of the smaller but scenic national parks in Tanzania. Situated close to Arusha town, the park is very popular for private safari day tours.
In the midst of the forest stands the spectacular Ngurdoto Crater, whose steep, rocky cliffs enclose a wide marshy floor dotted with herds of buffaloes and warthogs. Further north, rolling grassy hills enclose the tranquil beauty of the Momella Lakes, each one a different hue of green or blue. Their shallows sometimes tinged pink with thousands of flamingos.
Although elephants are rarely seen in Arusha National Park, and lions absent altogether, leopards and spotted hyenas may be seen slinking around in the early morning and late afternoon. The most common animals found in this park are the black-and-white colobus monkeys, hippos, giraffes, zebras, buffaloes and bushbucks.
Arusha National Park is a bird lovers destination. More than 400 species of birds have been recorded in the park. High above you may see the Augur Buzzard, Grey-headed Kingfisher or Silvery-cheeked Hornbill. Both the forest trees and lakes are favored residences for pelicans, bee-eaters, flamingos, herons, ducks, waders and many others. As you relax, you may even spot a Fish Eagle diving for tilapia fish.
At dusk and dawn the veil of cloud on the eastern horizon is most likely to clear, revealing the majestic snow-capped peaks of Kilimanjaro. And you will have an up close and personal view of the rugged Mount Meru.
Diversity of habitats
Despite of its relatively small size, the park features a variety of ecosystems, such as grasslands, swamps, crater lakes, highland forest and undulating hills. Take the opportunity to explore a beguiling diversity of habitats within just a (half) day!
Arusha National Park makes a perfect first introduction to Tanzania’s flora and fauna before continuing your safari to Serengeti National Park or the Ngorongoro Crater. The comfortable accommodations on the lower slopes of the Mount Meru are a great base to acclimatize and explore this little hidden paradise.