- Size: 552 km²
- Established: 1960
Arusha stands out among the parks of the Northern Safari Circuit. While this relatively small park doesn’t have the game viewing of its famous neighbours, it does offer spectacular scenery, a wide range of habitats, some 400 species of birds, the black-and-white colobus monkey and the park’s highlight – Mount Meru. The stratovolcano peaks at an elevation of 4 566 metres making it Africa’s fifth tallest mountain. Mount Meru dominates the landscape of Arusha National Park and offers great opportunities for hikers. From the peak hikers will enjoy the best views of the neighbouring Mount Kilimanjaro.
At the foot of Mount Meru the Momela Lakes are filled with water birds, while giraffe and zebra can be seen in the grassy hills. The montane forests are alive with monkeys and birds, while the Ngurdoto Crater protects a marshy floor that attracts large herds of buffalo and warthog. The alpine desert near the peak is home to some unique evergreen flowers.
Arusha offers visitors some curious creatures such as the shaggy-coated waterbuck and black-and-white colobus monkeys. Elephant and leopard are hard to spot in the park, while giraffe and buffalo are common sights in Arusha. Klipspringer can be seen on the higher slopes of Mount Meru and blue monkeys are the curious inhabitants of the montane forests. Hyenas can be seen in the early morning or late afternoon while dik-dik hide in the shrub.
The diversity of habitats attracts a large number of birds. Raptors circle above the crags of Mount Meru, while the alkaline Momela Lakes are home to flamingos and waterfowl. The forests have colourful inhabitants such as trogons and turacos. Overall Arusha National Park is home to about 400 bird species.
Arusha is has a number of scenic picnic sites and is a great destination for hiking. While the climb to the 4 568 metre peak of Mount Meru is a multi-day challenge, there are many rewarding day-hikes on the bottom slopes. The abundant birdlife along with picturesque waterfalls make walks in the forests particularly rewarding.
The ascent of Mount Meru is a scenic climb that passes through magical forests on the bottom slopes and eventually emerges into the alpine desert with some of the best views of Mount Kilimanjaro and the surrounding landscape. The climb takes three to four days and is known as a good preparation and acclimatisation for Kilimanjaro.
The main attractions – Mount Meru, Ngurdoto Crater and the Momela Lakes can be seen within a day.