Arusha National Park, often hailed as a “little gem,” is a pristine natural haven located just 30 minutes from the bustling safari hub of Arusha town in Northern Tanzania. This enchanting park boasts a diverse landscape comprising mountains, valleys, lakes, and verdant plains, creating an atmosphere of tranquility and solitude. The prominent feature of the park is Mount Meru, standing tall at 4,566 meters (14,980 feet) as the third-highest free-standing mountain in Africa. This majestic peak also serves as an ideal acclimatization refuge for adventurers preparing to tackle the towering heights of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Tanzania.
Geography and Climate:
The park, nestled between 1,700 and 4,566 meters in altitude, showcases a stunning panorama of natural wonders. The best times to visit are from June to September and December to early March. However, the park welcomes visitors year-round, except during the short rainy period from October to November and the heavy rains from March to May. The climate offers a soothing blend of temperatures, making it an inviting destination for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Arusha National Park is easily accessible by both road and air. From Arusha town, a mere 32 kilometers on a well-paved road leads to the Ngongongare gate. Alternatively, the park is approximately 40 kilometers from the Kilimanjaro International Airport, offering a convenient option for air travelers.
Activities in Arusha National Park
This park stands out as a versatile destination, offering an array of activities to suit varied interests.
Explore the wonders of Arusha National Park through exhilarating game drives. The park features a well-maintained network of roads and tracks, providing a thrilling day-long adventure for tourists originating from Arusha Town. Witness diverse wildlife, including buffalo, giraffe, monkeys, baboons, antelope, and a plethora of bird species.
For those seeking a closer connection with nature, the park offers both short and long walking safaris. The cool climate and natural forests create an ideal setting for comfortable hiking. To embark on a walking safari, arrangements must be made at one of the two park gates, accompanied by an armed ranger ensuring safety and providing insights into the park’s biodiversity.
Experience the unique opportunity of canoeing on the serene Small Momella Lake. Prior arrangements allow visitors to glide across the water, encountering buffalo, giraffe, bushbuck, waterbuck, and even hippos. The lake is a habitat for wading and water birds, offering a picturesque setting for an immersive experience.
Adventurers can embark on a thrilling 2-night, 3-day mountain hiking expedition, utilizing the Miriakamba and Saddle huts. Prearrangements at the Momella Gate are essential, involving porters and an armed ranger escort. Traverse diverse vegetation zones, including mesmerizing montane forests, while encountering wildlife such as buffalo, giraffe, monkeys, baboons, antelope, and a variety of birds.
Discover the park’s trails on horseback through established routes, which can be combined with overnight stays in designated camps within the park. This unique experience requires prior arrangement, providing a distinctive perspective of the park’s natural beauty.
Arusha National Park is a paradise for bird enthusiasts, boasting more than 450 bird species, both resident and migratory. Small Momella and Longil lakes are prime locations for observing a diverse array of water and non-water birds.