Arusha National Park
Size: 552 sq km (212 sq miles)
Distance from Arusha: 25 km (15 miles)
Most popular tours visiting Arusha National Park:
A green jewel and home to the fourth highest mountain in Africa – Mount Meru (4,566 m). Anyone visiting this park will be thrilled by the breathtaking landscapes ranging from the Meru Crater in the west, the Ngurdoto Crater in the south-east to the grasslands and of course the alkaline Momella lakes in the north-east.
This park is often overlooked by visitors, worried they will not see that much wildlife. However Arusha National Park has such a lot to offer and dazzles with a perfect mix of flora and fauna and diversified landscapes. Passing the “small Serengeti” during a game drive, you are likely to spot peaceful herds of buffaloes, shy bushbucks on the edge of the forest as well as warthogs and zebras. Heading towards the Ngurdoto Crater you will soon find yourself in a lush rainforest – a great place to spot the athletic black and white colobus monkey as well as the elegant mitis monkey. The Ngurdoto Crater is basically a smaller version of the Ngorongoro Crater and has a diameter of about 3 km. With a bit of luck you might even spot buffaloes in the swamps on the crater floor.
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.
On the way towards the Momella Lakes, visitors are in for a treat as common waterbucks and reedbucks love to hang around the lake shore. An array of water birds like cormorants, kingfishers and beautiful flamingos are also often spotted. There are seven alkaline lakes to be seen and each lake has a different salt concentration. Visitors also have the option of going on a canoe trip on the small Momella Lake.
Arusha National Park is also home to about a handful of African elephants but due to their constant movement they are hardly ever spotted. The same goes for leopards which roam the vast foggy forests of Mt Meru.