Safari tours to Arusha national park – The closest national park to Arusha town – northern Tanzania’s safari capital – Arusha National Park is a multi-faceted jewel, often overlooked by safari goers, despite offering the opportunity to explore a beguiling diversity of habitats within a few hours.
The entrance gate leads into shadowy montane forest inhabited by inquisitive blue monkeys and colourful turaco 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.
It is a popular destination for day trip visitors who are about to embark from the town of Arusha on longer northern circuit safaris. The small national park includes the slopes, summit, and ash cone of Mt. Meru, the Momela Lakes, Ngurdoto Crater, and the lush highland forests that blanket its lower slopes. Game viewing around the Momela Lakes is at a laid-back and quiet pace, and while passing through the forest many visitors stop to search for troupes of rare colobus monkeys playing in the canopy.
Climbing Mt. Meru or enjoying the smaller trails that criss-cross its lower slopes is a popular activity for visitors to Arusha National Park. The three-day trek to reach the crater’s summit is a quieter, and some say more challenging alternative than the famous peak of nearby Mount Kilimanjaro. Along the lower slopes, the paths to rivers and waterfalls create a relaxing day hike for visitors who don’t want to attempt the rather arduous climb. Ancient fig tree forests, crystal clear waters cascading from mountain streams, and a chance to spot colobus monkeys are the attractions and pleasures of Arusha National Park.
Further north, rolling grassy hills enclose the tranquil beauty of the Momela Lakes, each one having a different hue of green or blue. There are shallows sometimes tinged pink with thousands of flamingos. The lakes support a rich selection of resident and migrant waterfowl, and also shaggy waterbucks that display their large lyre-shaped horns on the watery fringes. Giraffes glide across the grassy hills, between grazing zebra herds, whilst pairs of wide-eyed dik-dik dart into scrubby bush like overgrown hares on spindly legs.
Safari tours to Arusha National Park – Although elephants are uncommon in Arusha National Park, and lions are 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, which is only 50km (30 miles) away.
But it is Kilimanjaro’s unassuming cousin, Mount Meru – the fifth highest mountain in Africa at 4,566 metres (14,990 feet) – that dominates the park’s horizon. With its peaks and eastern foot slopes protected within the national park, 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 highly open heath spiked with giant lobelias. Everlasting flowers cling to the alpine desert, as delicately-hoofed klipspringers mark the hike’s progress. Astride the craggy summit, Kilimanjaro stands unveiled, blushing in the sunrise.
An easy 40-minute drive from Arusha. It is approximately 60 km (35 miles) from Kilimanjaro International Airport. The lakes, forest and Ngurdoto Crater can all be visited in the course of a half-day outing at the beginning or end of an extended northern safari.
Forest walks, numerous picnic sites; three- or four-day Mt Meru climb – good acclimatization for Kilimanjaro.
Safari tours to Arusha National park – This park is often overlooked by visitors, worried they will not see that much wildlife. However Arusha National Park has such a lot to offer and dazzles with a perfect mix of flora and fauna and diversified landscapes. Passing the “small Serengeti” during a game drive, you are likely to spot peaceful herds of buffaloes, shy bushbucks on the edge of the forest as well as warthogs and zebras. Heading towards the Ngurdoto Crater you will soon find yourself in a lush rainforest – a great place to spot the athletic black and white colobus monkey as well as the elegant mitis monkey. The Ngurdoto Crater is basically a smaller version of the Ngorongoro Crater and has a diameter of about 3 km. With a bit of luck you might even spot buffaloes in the swamps on the crater floor.
Due to the low numbers of predators in the park, walking safaris are permitted. This is a must for anyone wanting to get a closer look at the moss covered trees and the occasional red hot pokers as well as for those wanting to get up close to wildlife. Most common sightings whilst on a walking safari include buffaloes, warthogs, giraffes and a variety of birds such as the silvery cheeked hornbill, little bee-eater and the occasional long crested eagle. The walk takes visitors to the refreshing Tululusia waterfalls and back to the Momella gate.
On the way towards the Momella Lakes, visitors are in for a treat as common waterbucks and reedbucks love to hang around the lake shore. An array of water birds like cormorants, kingfishers and beautiful flamingos are also often spotted. There are seven alkaline lakes to be seen and each lake has a different salt concentration. Visitors also have the option of going on a canoe trip on the small Momella Lake.
Arusha National Park is also home to about a handful of African elephants but due to their constant movement they are hardly ever spotted. The same goes for leopards which roam the vast foggy forests of Mt Meru.
Day 1 Arusha – Arusha National Park
In the morning, we will collect you from your hotel in Arusha and take you to the Arusha National Park. The park has an incredible variety of fauna and flora, which cannot fail to impress.. Your day trip will include a visit to the Ngurdo Crater. Buffaloes, waterbucks, giraffes, warthogs, zebras and baboons can be seen all year round as well as many different bird species. At the Momella Gate, an armed ranger will be waiting for you to accompany you on your walking safari that will give you the chance to experience the wildlife up-close. Only a few other national parks in Tanzania give you such an opportunity and it is something that should not be missed. Lunch will be taken at a picnic place and in the afternoon, you will continue your tour in the safari vehicle through the Arusha National Park. After plenty of time allocated for you to observe the wildlife, we will take you back to Arusha.