Don't be fooled by the fact that Arusha National Park is small (552 km2). Within its borders, it has a diverse topography and wonderful wildlife. From the rugged peaks of Mount Meru to the marshy depths of the Ngurdoto Crater where warthog wallow, to monkey-filled montane forest and rolling grassy hills on which giraffe and zebra graze, there's plenty to see here.
- An easy 40-minute drive from Arusha
- Diverse fauna and flora
- Montane forest filled with monkeys, including the rare Colobus monkey
- On a clear day, spectacular views of both Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro
- Mount Meru, which can be climbed (four-day, guided hike)
- The beautifully-coloured alkaline Momela Lakes
- Great view points and picnic sites
- Guided walking tours
- Prolific birdlife
While Arusha National Park doesn't have the Big Five except for buffalo, it offers visitors spectacular scenery and sightings of a wide range of animals including monkey, giraffe, zebra and the sweetest antelopes on earth, the dik-dik. Add to that commanding views of Mount Meru, and Kilimanjaro on a clear day, it's the perfect place to start your African safari.
In its many forested areas, it may be more difficult to spot wildlife, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled!
Arusha National Park includes Tanzania's second-highest mountain, Mount Meru, with its rugged peaks and wooded foothills. Buffalo and giraffe can be seen here and, if you're very lucky, the elusive leopard.
The main gate to the park opens into magical montane rain forest. This emerald area is a playground for a wide range of monkeys that you may not see anywhere else, including the black-and-white Colobus and blue monkey. Look out, too, in the shadows beneath the trees for tiny duiker and dik-dik.
An old volcano in the east of the park, Ngurdoto Crater stretches 3 km across and has steep sides and grassland and marsh in its bowl. There are a number of great viewpoints around its rim where you can stop to watch the warthog and buffalo grazing and wallowing below.
Seven alkaline lakes are found in the northeast of the park, each a different, brilliant colour, due to the algae that grow in them. Many water birds live here including, depending on the time of year, flocks of flamboyantly-pink flamingos.
Arusha National Park is an easy 40-minute drive from Arusha (25 km to the main gate), and about half an hour from Kilimanjaro International Airport (35 km to the main gate). Due to the small size of the park, all three main areas can be seen in a half-day trip, but a full day with a picnic lunch and a guided walk is a far more relaxed way to do it!
Scaling challenging Mount Meru is considered ideal preparation for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Eco Lodge with spacious accommodation that offers good value for money.
Spacious rooms and villas with views of Mount Meru, Mount Kilimanjaro or Momella.
On an Empakaai Crater hike, you can expect to see buffalo, hyena, blue monkeys and the occasional elephant.
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Arumeru River Lodge is a peaceful lodge situated just outside Arusha and close to the airport. With vast, beautiful gardens in which 21 rooms, 6 suites and a family cottage are scattered, it's easy to forget that you're in town at all. The main lodge is airy and welcoming and the hands-on hosts put great emphasis on keeping their guests happy.
Arusha Coffee Lodge is set on a beautiful old coffee plantation outside Arusha, with the old Plantation House housing the restaurant, bar and lounge. It offers 30 Plantation Houses with suites and rooms, spread across the lush grounds, all en-suite and luxuriously decorated, with indoor fireplaces. There are a number of restaurants, boutiques and shops on the property and coffee tours are offered. Day trips to Arusha National Park, Arusha town and Ngorongoro can be arranged.