The multifaceted gem of the north
The closest national park to Arusha town – northern Tanzania’s safari capital – Arusha National Park is a multi-faceted jewel, often overlooked by safarigoers, despite offering the opportunity to explore a beguiling diversity of habitats within a few hours.
The forest closest to the entrance is inhabited by blue monkeys and colourful turacos and trogons – the only place on the northern safari circuit where the acrobatic black-and-white colobus monkey is easily seen. In the midst of the forest stands the spectacular Ngurdoto Crater, whose steep, rocky cliffs enclose a wide marshy floor dotted with herds of buffalo and warthog.
Further north, there is the tranquil beauty of the Momela Lakes, each one a different hue of green or blue. Their shallows sometimes tinged pink with thousands of flamingos, the lakes support a rich selection of resident and migrant waterfowl. Giraffes glide across the grassy hills, between grazing zebra herds.
At dusk and dawn you are ost likely to see the majestic snow-capped peaks of Mt Kilimanjaro, but it is Kilimanjaro’s beautiful cousin Mt Meru that dominates the park’s horizon.
However, with a little time, Arusha National Park offers some lovely walking in the foothills of Mount Meru and canoeing on the Momela Lakes, plus gentle game drives. If you have the time it is well worth a day or two.
Arusha National Park is perfect for a day trip (or even two) to start off your safari softly.
When is the best time to visit?
You can really visit the park anytime of the year although the peaks are during the dry months between June and October.
What is there to do?
There are a range of activities to do in Arusha NP. Walking safaris which are always accompanied by a ranger are very unique; there are very few national parks that allow such an intimate and close safari on foot inside the boundaries of a national park which makes this activity worth trying out.
You can also explore the far reaches of the park by vehicle, taking in some of the lovely views and keeping an eye out for wildlife. There are many lovely picnic sites where you can stop for a picnic lunch.
Another great activity here and one not found in other national parks in Tanzania, is a canoeing safari which allows you to explore the Momela Lakes.
How about accomodation?
Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge, situated just outside the park is the closest option but there are many other options in the area. Onsea House and Machweo and the famous Hatari Lodge are popular choices but we also reccomend hotels in and around Arusha town like The African Tulip, Arusha Coffee Lodge and the more budget friendly option The Outpost Lodge.
Check out some pics taken in Arusha National Park.