Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park, established in 1960 and covering a total size of 552 square kilometres, is a green jewel overlooked by many travellers but one of the most beautiful Tanzania national parks that any traveller should include in their Tanzania safari itinerary. Arusha National Park is home to the fourth highest mountain in Africa, Mount Meru which rises up to 4566 meters above sea level. The thrilling landscapes ranging from the Meru Crater in the West, the Ngurdoto Crater in the south-east to the very grasslands and alkaline Momella lakes in the north-east are what welcome you in Arusha Park. Arusha National Park is located in Arusha town, only about 25km from the town centre. This makes day tours possible for those after spending sometime in the wilderness, or better yet a starting point of Tanzania safaris as tourists acclimatise after a long international flight.
Highlights of Arusha National Park
Though Arusha Park is often times overlooked by visitors on Tanzania safaris for fear of not seeing a variety of wildlife, the park has a lot to offer to tourists. Tourists are dazzled by a mix of flora and fauna alongside diverse and stunning landscapes in Arusha Park. Among the wildlife tourists are sure to encounter while on a visit in Arusha Park include herds of buffaloes, bushbucks, warthogs, giraffes, zebras among others usually at the “small Serengeti” during a game drive, while at the Ngurdoto Crater with a lush rainforest is a great place to spot a number of athletic black and white colobus monkeys and mitis monkeys. The Ngurdoto Crater is a smaller version of the famous Ngorongoro Crater.
The Park also hosts the great Mount Meru, which is a great tourist attraction to a number of travellers. On a clear day, tourists can see the majestic Mountain Kilimanjaro at a distance. Momella Lakes are another highlight of Arusha National Park which offer a variety of water bird species including flamingos, pelicans, Egyptian geese, guinea fowls among so many others
Activities in Arusha National Park
With so much to offer, there are a number of activities that tourists can do while on Tanzania safaris to Arusha National Park. These include;
For the fact that there are few predators in Arusha Park, walking safaris are allowed in the park. Walking safaris are a great way to get up close with the wildlife, and especially to get a closer look at the moss covered trees in Arusha Park. Most common wildlife tourists can encounter while on walking safaris include herds of buffaloes, warthogs, giraffes, an array of bird species including silvery cheeked hornbill, long crested eagles, cormorants, kingfishers, flamingos among so many others can be spotted especially along Momella Lakes. The walking safaris in Arusha National Park take about 2 to 3 hours with tourists crossing Jekukumia River and enjoy the sighting of waterfalls thereabout.
A canoe safari can be done with a scenic canoeing safari following the shorelines of small Momella Lake. A canoe safari can take about 2 to 2 hours and a half, during which tourists get to view buffaloes, bushbucks, giraffes, hippos, a number of water birds and so much more.
Game drives in The Park usually take tourists through the Serengeti Ndogo which is translated small Serengeti, a small open grassland patch guarantees travellers with game views of wildlife including zebras, giraffes, among others. During game drives in Arusha Park, tourists also get to enjoy scenic views of amazing landscapes and the beautiful sceneries.
Climbing Mount Meru
Climbing Mount Meru is another activity that tourists can do when in Arusha Park, especially the adventurous. At an elevation of up to 4566 meters above sea level, climbing Mount Meru on a Tanzania adventure safari is a very rewarding activity especially to those keen on a challenge. Tourists are rewarded with scenic views as well as dramatic climbs to the top of Mount Meru.
The Park has about 400 bird species recorded to inhabit the park. Tourists who visit Arusha National Park can therefore enjoy bird watching safaris especially along the Momella Lakes which attract a variety of bird species. Some of the bird species tourists on a birding safari in Arusha Park can spot include flamingos, Augur buzzard, and Verreaux’s eagle among so many others. A number of migratory birds also do come in to Arusha National Park especially during the month of November.
How to get to Arusha National Park
The Park is not hard to get to, for it is only a few kilometres away from Arusha town. Arusha National Park is easily accessed by road on a road drive of about 25km only from Arusha town. Tourists could also get to Arusha National Park from Moshi which is 58km away, as well as from Kilimanjaro International Airport which is only about 35km away from the park.
The Park can be visited all year round. The best time to visit Arusha Park however is during the dry season which falls in the peak season as well, in the months of June through August, and mid-December to February. The dry season is a great time to visit because the roads are easily passable and the wildlife can be seen. The rainy season which falls in the other months of the year make roads quite to pass through, but some travellers do welcome the challenge. It is for this reason that Arusha Park can be visited throughout the year, depending on one’s preference.
Accommodation in Arusha National Park
There are a number of accommodation options in Arusha Park that tourists on a Tanzania safari tour can stay in, and are variant according to budgets. Some of the accommodation facilities that tourists can stay in include the Africa Tulip Lodge, Arusha Serena Hotel, Momella Wildlife Lodge, and Itikoni Seasonal Camp among others.
Arusha Park, though not known to many travellers, is a great Tanzania national park that tourists should include on their Tanzania safaris itinerary and get to encounter the great scenic beauty and wildlife of the park. Get in touch with a reputable tour operator to help you plan a wonderful Arusha National Park safari.