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Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park is one of Tanzania’s most mysterious national parks is located just northeast of Arusha city. There lies the world’s largest giraffe population and Mount Meru, Tanzania’s second-highest peak. It takes up 552 square kilometers.

Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), Moshi, and Arusha are 25 and 58 kilometers away fro Arusha National Park. Among the amazing creatures and plants found there are buffalo, bushbucks, warthogs, zebras, red duikers, elephants, giraffes, leopards, hippos, monkeys (both black and white and vervet), birds (flamingos, secretary birds, vervet monkeys, and African fish eagles), and primates (leopards, blue monkeys, and vervet monkeys) that are not found in any of the other national parks in the northern circuit. About forty minutes drive separates KIA from Arusha National Park. Popular choice, this park allows visitors from Arusha city to experience it for one day or several days. Three parts comprise the stunning beauty of Arusha National Park: the shallow alkaline Momella lakes, which are distinguished by a range of algal hues, the southern Ngurdoto crater, and the western Meru crater, which guides the Jekukumia River. Despite its little size, visitors may still enjoy all the park has to offer and even spend the night in Arusha town.

Safaris in Tanzania are another option open to visitors of Arusha National Park. The name of the park comes from the Waarusha people, who historically inhabited the region. Tanzania’s diversified ecology and profusion of natural features make Arusha National Park a well-liked tourist destination. Ngurdoto crater is to the southeast; the Kekukumia River and the funnels of Meru crater are to the west; and the shallow alkaline Momelia lakes are to the northeast. The park is peppered with these three breathtaking vistas. With so many different kinds of plants and animals, Arusha National Park provides a plethora of activities for tourists.

Many have aptly referred to this picturesque park as a hidden treasure. The tarmac route from Arusha town, the safari hub of northern Tanzania, takes just half an hour. A sense of tranquility and seclusion permeates the landscape, which consists of verdant mountains, valleys, lakes, and tiny plains.

Mount Meru, the third-highest freestanding mountain in Africa at 4,566 m (14,980 ft), dominates the landscape.

Arusha National Park displays a huge array of landscapes, from expansive savannahs and rainforests to acacia woodlands and alpine vegetation on the upper slopes of Mount Meru. With the highest concentration of giraffes anywhere in the world, Arusha National Park is teeming with wildlife. There are a lot of animals here, like cape buffalo, elephants, hippos, and zebras. You might also see a lion or a leopard on a game drive.

Getting There and getting around Arusha National Park

Lions in Arusha National Park

Through the Park winds a network of game watching tracks that are both well-maintained and well-signposted. Along these routes, visitors may often see the majestic Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro Views.

From Arusha, the starting point of any northern circuit safari in Tanzania, it is only a 45-minute journey to Arusha National Park, making driving the best option. During the dry seasons (June–September and December–March), Arusha National Park is at its most beautiful point in the year and this is the best time to visit it.

Top Tourist Attractions in Arusha National Park.

Situated in northern Tanzania, Arusha National Park is the nearest national park to the town of Arusha. Among the many sightings to behold on safaris to Arusha National Park are the Momella Lakes, Ngurdoto Crater, Mount Meru, and a plethora of bird and terrestrial animals.

Wildlife in Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park hosts some of the “most wanted” wildlife in Africa and their chances of being spotted while on a game drive are very high. Depending on which part of the park, you may see specific wildlife species endemic to just some areas and others are common wildlife species. To increase the likelihood of your witnessing your preferred wildlife species, do let us know your bucket list.

Many different kinds of mammals call Arusha National Park home. Some of these include elephants, giraffes, monkeys, duikers, baboons, water bucks, and hippos, among many others. With over 450 species documented, the bird life is quite breathtaking. You may get up close and personal with lesser and greater flamingos by following the game viewing track that around the Momella Lakes.
The black and white colobus monkeys, as well as their resonant, guttural territorial calls, are best heard and seen in Tanzania’s Arusha National Park.

Mount Meru

Mount Meru is an active volcano with a height of 4566 m, located in Arusha National Park in Tanzania.

Approximately 1 ½ million years ago, Mt. Meru was a dormant volcano. Around eight thousand years ago, an internal eruption turned Meru’s caldera lake into superheated steam, causing one side to explode. The formation of hillocks, valleys, and small lakes was caused by one of the biggest mudslides ever recorded on Earth. According to geologists, Mount Meru was once a towering, symmetrical volcanic spire nearly as tall as Kilimanjaro before it blew its top.
At the base, you can find areas of brush and forest; higher up, you’ll find virgin rain forest covering this fascinating and fractured landscape.

Birds in Arusha National Park

With over 400 species of birds identified as residents, including forest birds, raptors, water birds, and migratory bird species, Arusha National Park is an exceptional location for a birding safari in Tanzania. Arusha National Park is home to a wide variety of birds, including pink-hued flamingos, olive pigeons, Augur buzzards, bearded vultures, black saw-wings, cinnamon-chested bee-eaters, Egyptian geese, and bearded vultures. An egret with a crest, Pelicans, golden eagles, yellow-billed storks, hammerkops, bronzy sunbirds, pied avocets, red-billed oxpeckers, great-headed bush shrikes, White-browed coucal, the Hartlaub’s turaco, Grebe chick, An assortment of birds, including Narina trogon, Peregrine falcon, Red-fronted parrot, Scaly francolin, Silvery-cheeked hornbill, Southern Pochard, Tawny eagle, and Verreaux’s eagle, among many more

The flamingos that populate the Momela lakes are among the most spectacular bird species in Arusha National Park.

Momella Lakes

Located in the park’s northeastern region, the Momela Lakes are a popular stop for visitors to Tanzania. These seven stunning alkaline lakes were formed approximately 250,000 years ago when a massive explosion blew off the peak of Mount Meru, creating the chain of lakes.

The Momela lakes—Big Momela, Little Momela, El Kekhotoito, Kusare, Rishateni, Lekandiro, and Tulusia—are fantastic locations for birding safaris in Tanzania since they are home to a wide variety of birds, including the migratory greater pink flamingos. The lakes of Momela get their water from underground springs, and the hues of the water vary from verdant to turquoise. Each lake has its own unique mineral makeup, which gives them their distinct colors. The algae that live in these lakes also contribute to their unique appearance.
Birds of several kinds congregate around the lakes of Momela, including shoebills, pink flamingos, Egyptian geese, guinea fowls, African fish eagles, and African jacanas.

Ngurdoto

Arusha National Park

Ngurdoto crater, one of five stunning volcanic calderas in northern Tanzania (the others being Ngorongoro, Empakaai, Maasai, and Olmati), is a stunning natural feature in Arusha National Park. The 3.2-kilometer-diameter and 300-meter-deep Ngurdoto crater is an extinct volcano that is sometimes called “Little Ngorongoro” due to its eerily similar appearance to the Ngorongoro crater.

A variety of animals and plants, including buffalo, elephants, warthogs, antelopes, monkeys, baboons, leopards, spotted hyenas, shy red duikers, kirk dik-diks, and numerous bird species, including herons, spur-winged geese, horn-bills, bee-eaters, and turacos, inhabit the floor of the crater, which is shaped like a basin and surrounded by dense rain-forests. A Tanzania wildlife safari would be incomplete without visiting Ngurdoto crater, which is similar to Ngorongoro but has a much softer floor, making driving impossible. Instead, visitors go on walking safaris to explore the crater, which is accessed by a 4X4 safari vehicle that winds its way up to the caldera’s edge, surrounded by thick rainforest. As they make their way through the crater, they have the chance to see a variety of animals and birds.

The Mini Serengeti

One of the grasslands in Arusha National Park is the small Serengeti, also called “Serengeti Ndogo” (the Swahili name for small Serengeti). It lies adjacent to the road leading to Momella Gate, approximately 500 meters north of Ngongongare Gate. Several different herbivores congregate there to graze. Buffalo, zebras, warthogs, elephants, and waterbucks are herbivores. You can see a beautiful herd of herbivores grazing together if you bike here first thing in the morning. It is rather unusual to encounter these animals around midday.
Mini Serengeti is a great place for walking safaris, seeing animals up close, and taking pictures with them in the background. It will transport you to the majestic Serengeti.

Ujambo Wa Mbogo

Ujambo Wa Mbogo, which translates to “the buffalo’s glade” in English, is a breathtaking tourist attraction in Tanzania’s Arusha National Park. Its location at the foot of Mount Meru and close proximity to the Momela entrance put it in the northeastern section of the park. Ujambo Wa Mbogo, a vast natural glade in Tanzania’s parks, is ideal for walking safaris due to its marsh, trees, and streams. Many animals use this area as a feeding ground, such as buffalo, warthogs, and giraffes.

Here we see buffalo chopping down long grasses, and here we see warthogs kneeling in the pasture fields, two of the most distinctive animals you’re likely to see in this area. It is possible to incorporate Ujambo Wa Mbogo into a Tanzanian hiking safari to the Tululusia waterfalls.

The Fig Tree Arch

One of the most photogenic spots in Arusha National Park is the Fig Tree Arch, an arch-shaped tree with a gap big enough to squeeze an elephant through. Visitors can get breathtaking shots from a variety of vantage points, including standing under the tree or even positioning themselves beneath it while in a safari vehicle. A hiking safari to the Tululusia waterfalls in Tanzania includes a stop at a fig tree, which grew from a parasite tree that foraging birds dropped.

The Fig Tree Arch. Arusha National Park.

Ngurudoto Museum

The Ngurudoto Museum showcases a variety of creatures found in Arusha National Park and the Ngurudoto Crater in particular. Skeletons, fossils, taxidermy, and background information about these creatures will be displayed. Many different kinds of plants are on display at the museum, and they have all the information you could need.

Ngurdoto museum Arusha park

Tululusia hill

Arusha National Park is home to the scenic Tululusia hill. Tululusia Hill gets its signature green color from the lush vegetation that covers it. The hill is well-known for housing elephants, buffalo, colobus, and even a few tree-dwelling pythons. This hill is home to the Tululusia waterfalls. This massive waterfall, which drops from about 28 meters, is ideal for a refreshing swim. The Tululusia waterfalls are also often compared to pebbles falling off a hill. From a distance, you will be able to see the Tululusia waterfalls.

The History of Arusha National Park.

One of the Tanzanian top attractions Arusha National Park has a long and illustrious history that begins in 1876 with the visit of the Hungarian Count Teleki to the the Momella area. Following his tour, he shared his thoughts on several parts of the park, including the abundance of hippos and black rhinos he had witnessed in his life.

In 1907, the Trappe family settled into the park, mostly to farm in Momella, and they used a large chunk of what is now the park as a cattle ranch. A large chunk of the Momella estate was voluntarily dedicated to a game reserve by Mrs. Trappe, the first East African woman to become a professional hunter. Upon its founding in 1960, the park included the farm. In its 1960 formation, the park was named as Ngurdoto Crater National Park and included of a small section of the Arusha National Park. The Ngurdoto Crater and Mount Meru, which were not then part of the park, were among the areas that were initially designated for conservation.

In 1967, the area around Mount Meru became a part of Arusha National Park, which renamed it from Ngurdoto Crater National Park. The indigenous Waarusha people were the ones who gave the area its name, Arusha. With the addition of Mont Meru, the park was formally constituted after Tanzania gained its independence. The park is now a popular stop for visitors to Arusha and a prerequisite for safaris to the nearby Serengeti and Ngorongoro conservation areas, thanks to the investments and development made by the Tanzanian government. To make visitors feel more at ease, the Arusha National Park now has some of the most important tourist facilities, including good entrance gates, picnic areas, vamping places, good restrooms, lodges, and so on.

Game viewing was somewhat more challenging than in other parks when the park was mostly covered in shrubs and forest-like habitats; this made it home to only a small number of browser species, such giraffes. This led to the creation of a “mini Serengeti” inside the park, which serves as a habitat for other grazer species and makes game viewing easier. Since the open plain grassland in Tits area is comparable to the habitats in Serengeti National Park, the area was dubbed Min Serengeti. Animals such as elephants, giraffes, buffalo, zebras, warthogs, and many more go to the vast grasslands of the Arusha National Park’s miniature Serengeti for a meal. Game watching is excellent here, and the abundance of animals, including waterbucks and others, is a major draw for visitors.

Top Things to do in Arusha National Park

Game Drives

An incredibly well-liked activity at Arusha National Park is wildlife drives. You’ll travel on several routes via vast savannah grasslands like the Serengeti Ndogo on your wildlife drive. Along the trip, you may witness Dik Dik, zebras, giraffes, bush pigs, red duikers, waterbucks, primates like blue and black colobus monkeys (which are visible close to the Ngurdoto museum), and, if you’re lucky, predators like leopards, hyenas, wild cats, and more. Along the park’s roads that go to Momella Lakes and Ngurdoto Crater, one may see spectacular views of several animals, including hippos in the water and others that congregate along the beaches to drink water. The game drive takes roughly four hours and is undoubtedly worth it among the many thrilling activities available on a safari in the park.

Mount Meru Trekking.

At 4566 meters above sea level, Mount Meru is the second-highest peak in Tanzania (after Kilimanjaro) and the fifth-highest in Africa, making a hike up it in Arusha National Park an exhilarating and intriguing experience. When the once-much-taller Mount Meru collapsed more than 500,000 years ago, a huge horseshoe-shaped crater wall of sheer rocks remained. Little volcanic explosions inside the crater have created an ash cone, a subsidiary peak with amazing views. The three or four-day climb up the mountain has drawn comparisons between its beauty and difficulty to Mount Kilimanjaro from climbers. Traveling over the hilly terrain, hikers can anticipate seeing a great diversity of plant and animal life. They might come into zebras, buffalo, cheetahs, leopards, birds, primates (including short-furred sykes monkeys and black and white colobus), farmlands, and Maasai herders caring to their cattle on the lower slopes. The ashtray, Mount Kilimanjaro, and the crater of Mount Meru will all be spectacularly visible from the top. You’ll stay the night at the Miriakamba hut on your climb.

Guided Nature Walks in Arusha National Park.

Embark on a thrilling adventure as you stroll through the park. One of the greatest places to go on a guided nature walk is Arusha National Park because there are fewer dangerous animals there.

Along the fascinating paths of this nature walk, you will see sights such as the crater of Ngurdoto, the viewpoints of Kitoto and Njeku, the path from Momella gate to Ikikoni, the waterfall of Tululusia, and the Ujambo wa mbogo region. An experienced and armed park ranger will lead you on a nature walk through marsh bushes and streams in Arusha National Park. Along the way, you will see stunning landscapes, come within meters of animals like zebras, giraffes, warthogs, and buffalo, listen to the melodies of specialized birdsong, relax your mind, and feel the cool breeze, among other benefits.

Bird Watching

With more than 400 bird species, including those that are endemic or near-endemic to Tanzania, Arusha National Park is a top spot for birdwatchers in the country. The park’s alkaline Momella lakes and forests are ideal for birdwatching, as they provide excellent viewing opportunities for a wide variety of birds, including the verreauxs eagle, augur buzzard, greater flamingos, little grebes, spur-winged goose, secretary birds, African fish eagle, bar-tailed trogon, black saw wing, bearded vulture, hartlaub’s turaco, red fronted parrot, tawny eagle, narina trogon, Egyptian goose, and African olive pigeon, among many more wildlife species. Additionally, when birdwatching, you could catch a glimpse of birds swooping over the Ngurdoto crater.

Canoeing.

One of the Tanzanian protected locations that provides the stunning canoe ride is Arusha National Park. Guests can go canoeing in the park on the placid Momella Lake with the assistance of a knowledgeable guide. You can take wonderful pictures while relaxing on the canoe ride and seeing a variety of wildlife, including hippos in the water, bushbucks, waterbucks, giraffes, buffalo, and zebras along the lakeshore. You can also see water birds, such as flamingos, pelicans, herons, and fish eagles.

Horse Back Riding


Arusha National Park also offers horseback riding along its several paths; this is something visitors can do before they even set foot in the park. While on horseback, tourists may also enjoy seeing a variety of wildlife, including zebras and giraffes.

The Best Safari Accommodations in & Near Arusha National Park.

Below is a selection of our favorite lodging options in or close to Arusha National Park. Since there are many different lodging options outside the park to suit all budgets, most guests choose to stay outside. Though staying inside the park is far more expensive, if you can afford it, there are some amazing choices inside the national park!

An alternative option is camping, which the lodging choices below don’t cover. We have particular standards by which we select our rooms to ensure you enjoy the best possible vacation. These include the chances to witness wildlife, the most beautiful scenery, and odd (yet effective) and thrilling locations.

View every one of our rooms (as well as a tonne that isn’t on the website)

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