ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK

Size: 552 sq km (212 sq miles)
Established: 1960
Distance from Arusha: 25 km (15 miles)

Arusha National Park, with an area of about 137 sq. km is located only 45 kilometers from Arusha town. It has a wide range of habitats, from alkaline crater lakes and swamps to montane forests, alpine desert and the summit of Mt Meru, (the fourth highest mountain in Africa).Arusha National park

Mammals include buffaloes, elephants, giraffes, hippopotamuses, zebras, leopards, waterbucks, hyenas, duikers, baboon monkeys and almost 400species of birds.

It is most famous for the beautiful black and white colobus monkeys which swing from branch in the tall rainforest trees, and the shy duikers. The park is ideal for a day game drive or pleasant few hours walk. However, those who plan to climb Mount Meru must consider three full days.

Why should you visit? 

Arusha National Park is one of the most diverse parks topographically. At dusk and dawn the majestic snow-capped peaks of Kilimanjaro, only 50km (30 mi) distant, are easily seen but it is Kilimanjaro’s unassuming cousin, Mount Meru – the fifth highest in Africa at 4,566 metres (14,990 feet) – that dominates the park’s horizon.

Meru offers unparalleled views of its famous neighbour, while also forming a rewarding hiking destination in its own right. To the 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 are also present.

Giraffes and zebra herds intermingle while pairs of wide-eyed dik-dik dart around. Also present is Ngurdoto Crater, where wildlife is also abundant.

Things to do: 

Forest walks, Picnicking, Canoe safaris, Mountain climbing and hiking, Bird and animal watching, Monkey trekking.

Best time to visit:

It is best to climb Mt Meru between June and February, although it tends to rain in November. Best views of Kilimanjaro are between December and February

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