Arusha National Park
NORTHERN CIRCUIT – TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS
Arusha National Park
Arusha National park,often overlooked,is in fact a treasure,a rich tapestry of habitats,teeming with animals and birds.From the lush swamps of the Ngurdoto Crater to the tranquil beauty of the Mommela Lakes and the rocky alpine heights of Mount Meru,the terrain of the park’s is as varied as it is interesting.More than 400 species of birds,both migrant and resident,can be found in Arusha National Park, alongside rare primates such as the black-and-white colobus monkey. Montane forest inhabited by inquisitive blue monkeys and colourful turacos and trogons ñ 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, rolling grassy hills enclose 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, and shaggy waterbucks display their large lyre-shaped horns on the watery fringes. Giraffes glide across the grassy hills, between grazing zebra herds, while pairs of wide-eyed dik-dik dart into scrubby bush like overgrown hares on spindly legs.
Although elephants are uncommon in Arusha National Park, and lions absent altogether, leopards and spotted hyenas may be seen slinking around in the early morning and late afternoon. It is also at dusk and dawn that the veil of cloud on the eastern horizon is most likely to clear, revealing the majestic snow-capped peaks of Kilimanjaro, only 50km (30 miles) distant.
Mount Meru – the fifth highest in Africa at 4,566 metres (14,990 feet) ñ that dominates the parkís horizon. Its peaks and eastern footslopes protected within the national park, but it is Kilimanjaro unassuming cousin. Mount Meru offers unparalleled views of its famous neighbour, while also forming a rewarding hiking destination in its own right. Meru offers unparalleled views of its famous neighbour, while also forming a rewarding hiking destination in its own right.
Passing first through wooded savannah where buffalos and giraffes are frequently encountered, the ascent of Meru leads into forests aflame with red-hot pokers and dripping with Spanish moss, before reaching high open heath spiked with giant lobelias. Everlasting flowers cling to the alpine desert, as delicately-hoofed klipspringers mark the hikeís progress. Astride the craggy summit, Kilimanjaro stands unveiled, blushing in the sunrise.
About Arusha National Park
The park is just a few kilometers north east of Arusha, though the main gate is 25 km east of the city. It is also 58 km from Moshi and 35 km from Kilimanjaro International Airport(KIA).
The climate is temperate throughout the yearTwo wet seasons – November to December (short rains) and March to MayDriest months – August to OctoberBest time to visit is anytime between July and MarchBest time to climb Mt. Meru are between June and February.
Getting There: Drive from Arusha or Moshi.
What to do:
- Canoeing safaris,
- Walking safari,
- Day tour game drives,
- Bush lunch.
- Mt.Meru trekking