Arusha National Park Featured, Parks and Reserves
Don’t be fooled by the fact that the Arusha National Park is small (552 km2). Within its borders it has a diverse range of 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.
* Arusha National Park Highlights
- ∞An easy 40-minute drive from Arusha
- ∞Diverse fauna and flora
- ∞Montane forest filled with monkeys, including the rarely-seen-elsewhere colobus
- ∞On a clear day, spectacular views of both Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro
- ∞Mount Meru, which can be climbed (4-day, guided hike)
- ∞The beautifully-coloured alkaline Momela Lakes
- ∞Great view points and picnic sites
- ∞Guided walking tours
- ∞Prolific birdlife
While the Arusha National Park doesn’t have The Big Five (in fact, the only one of them it has, is buffalo), it offers visitors spectacular scenery and sightings of a wide range of animals including monkeys, giraffe, zebra, and the sweetest antelopes on earth – dikdiks. Add to that commanding views of Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro (if it’s a clear day) and 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 playground to 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 duikers and dikdiks.
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 see the warthog and buffalo grazing (and wallowing) below.
Seven alkaline lakes are found in the north east 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 main gate), and about a half hour from Kilimanjaro International Airport (35 km to 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 guided walk is a far more relaxed way to do it!
Before you go to Arusha National Park Things you should know before you go!
Malaria is a consideration in Arusha National Park
Learn more about malaria areas and malaria prevention with our resource article.
Malaria Areas & Prevention