Although Arusha National Park covers only 137 square kilometers (53 square miles) this small park contains a wide variety of landscapes including Ngurdoto Crater, Momela Lakes, mountain rain forests and savannas.
The entrance gate leads into a shadowy montane forest inhabited by inquisitive blue monkeys and colourful turacos and trogons – 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.
Rolling grassy hills enclose the tranquil beauty of 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. At the lakes, hippos enjoy the cool clear mountain water coming from the slopes of Mount Meru.
Mount Meru – the fifth highest in Africa at 4,566 metres (14,990 feet) – dominates the park’s horizon. Its peaks and eastern footslopes protected within the national park, Meru offers unparalleled views of its famous neighbour, Kilimanjaro, while also forming a rewarding hiking destination in its own right.
Arusha National Park has been popular with film makers and is the backdrop for two films; “Hatari” made in the 1950’s with John Wayne and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” with Gregory Peck and Ava Gardener.
Arusha National Park is located near the town of Arusha, a 1 hour drive from Moshi.
- Hiking along Ngurdoto Crater
- Driving through the giant fig tree
- Canoeing in Momela Lake
- Climbing Mt. Meru