Fairend Safaris

Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park is located just a short drive away from Arusha and Moshi. It is one of the most convenient parks to visit for a safari in Tanzania especially if you have limited time. This park is situated in the northeastern region covering an area of 137 square kilometers stretching around Mount Meru.

The park offers spectacular landscapes with distinct physical features ranging from savannah plains, acacia woodland, alpine vegetation, lakes, and craters. Arusha National Park is well known for having the world’s largest population of giraffes. In addition, it is also home to a wide range of wild species and is one of the few parks that offer walking safaris.

How to get there

The best and easiest way of getting to Arusha National Park is by road. It takes about a 45-minute drive to get there from Arusha. Alternatively, travelers can access the park from Moshi which is 58 kilometers away from the park.  International travelers can use Kilimanjaro International Airport or Arusha Municipal Airport as their point of entry.

Attractions found in Arusha national park

Wildlife

Arusha National Park is home to a wide range of wildlife species though not few compared to other protected areas in Tanzania.  The animals found in this park include giraffes, shy red duikers, Kirk’s dik-diks, leopards though rarely seen, cape buffaloes, zebras, warthogs, and primates such as blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys among others.

Birds

The Park is home to several bird species which can be seen in savannah grasslands, forests, and acacia woodlands. Over 400 bird species both migratory and permanent residents can be found in this park. These birds include Taveta Golden, collared Sunbird, Olive Sunbird, Amethyst Sunbird, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, African Gray Flycatcher, Waller’s Starling, Eastern Mountain Greenbul, Stripe-cheeked Greenbul, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Winding Cisticola and Siffling Cisticola among others.

Mount Meru

Mount Meru is a dormant volcano standing at the center of Arusha National Park. It stands at 4,566 meters above sea level making it the second tallest mountain in Tanzania. It offers beautiful scenery and has a summit cone with a symmetric caldera offering adventurous activities like hiking and picnics.

Momela lakes

Momela Lakes are located in the northeast part of the park. They are alkaline lakes consisting of 7 small lakes which include small and Momela, El Kekhotoito, Kusare, Rishateni, Lekandiro, and Tulusia. These lakes are great birding areas where different birds like herons, shoe bills, pink flamingoes, Egyptian geese, guinea fowls, African fish eagles, and African jacanas can be seen. At the banks of the lake, travelers can see animals grazing from those areas. Though, they do not drink water from these lakes since they are alkaline lakes.

Ngurdoto crater

Ngurdoto crater is one of the five volcanic calderas found in the northern part of Tanzania. Besides, it is an extinct volcano that is surrounded by riverine forest and a lush swamp on the crater floor. The crater hosts many animals such as elephants, African buffalos, spotted hyenas, warthogs, antelopes, monkeys, and baboons among others. In addition, it also hosts birds such as hammerkop, spur-winged geese, herons, and many more. It is part of the park that offers walking safaris since it has many trails which are used to tour the crater.

Activities to do in Arusha national park

Game drives

Arusha National Park offers game drives which allow travelers to see different wild species in their natural habitat. Game drives are done in the morning or afternoon, they are done using a 4WD vehicle lasting for 3 to 4 hours. During the game drives guests can spot many animals such as giraffes, shy red duiker, kirk’s dik-dik, leopards though rarely seen, cape buffaloes, zebras, warthogs, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, and many more. These can be seen on different trails like around Momella lakes, Ngurdoto crater, and near the Ngurdoto museum.

Bird watching

Arusha National Park is home to over 400 bird species making it a great birding destination. It hosts both permanent residents and migratory birds. The best time to go birding is during the wet season from November to April when migratory birds are present. The birds to look out for in this park include African fish eagle, flamingos, secretary birds, African olive pigeon, Augur buzzard, Bar-tailed trogon, Bearded vulture, Black saw-wing, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Egyptian goose, Great crested grebe, Hartlaub’s turaco, little grebe, Narina trogon, Peregrine falcon and Red-fronted parrot among others.

Canoeing

Canoeing is done on the small Momella Lake with the help of a well-experienced guide who paddles along the lake. During the canoe ride travelers enjoy a peaceful and quiet ride as they spot different birds and animals. These animals are hippos, bushbucks, waterbucks, giraffes, buffaloes, and zebras among others on the lake shores. The birds to look out for include flamingos, pelicans, herons, and fish eagles. This activity usually lasts for about 2 to 3 hours and travelers can have fun and take great pictures.

Guided nature walks

Arusha National Park has fewer predators making it a safe destination for nature walks. Travelers can use different trails to have close encounters with wild species while keeping a safe distance. Nature walks in the park are carried out with the help of an experienced and armed park ranger who guides guests on the trails. He or she also helps tourists locate some animals and birds. Some of the trails to use are near River Jekukumia and Momela Lakes, you will be able to see some birds and animals

Where to stay 

Travelers visiting Arusha National Park have a wide range of accommodation facilities to select from. These include Arusha Coffe Lodge, Arusha Serena Hotel, Mount Meru game Lodge, Mount Meru Hotel, Vijiji Center Lodge and safari, Hafari lodge, and lastly Momella wildlife Lodge among others.

When to visit 

Arusha National Park can be visited any time of the year however the best time to visit is from June to October and from December to February. During this period animal viewing and game drives can be easily done and experiencing the great migration is possible.