Arusha National Park : The park is only a few kilometers north of Arusha, while the park’s primary entrance is 25 kilometers east of the city. The park is 35 kilometers from Kilimanjaro International Airport and 58 kilometers from Moshi. It is a popular day trip destination for Arusha-based travelers who are planning extended northern circuit safaris. This small national park near Arusha consists of the slopes, summit, and ash cone of Mount Meru, the Momella Lakes, the Ngurdoto Crater, and a diversity of wild animals, bird species, and lush highland forests that cover its lower slopes.
The park contains a variety of animals, but visitors should not anticipate the same game-viewing experience as in Tanzania’s northern circuit, which includes Serengeti, Tarangire, and Ngorongoro. Despite the small scale of the park, giraffe, Cape buffalo, zebra, warthog, black-and-white colobus monkey, blue monkey, flamingo, elephant, and bushbuck are common. There are leopard populations, but they are infrequently observed. Numerous water-loving birds, such as lesser flamingos in Momella Lake, as well as woodland species that are easier to observe here than elsewhere along the tourism route populate the forest.
ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK ENTRANCE FEES
Entrance fees to Arusha National Park vary based on factors such as age, country of birth, and so on. During the peak season, the entrance fee to Arusha National Park is USD 50 for adults and USD 15 for children ages 5 to 15. During the off-season, the entrance fee is 45 USD for adults and 15 USD for children ages 5 to 15.
Other Arusha national park costs include concession fees paid or charged to visitors who need to spend the night within the park, camping fees for visitors who need to camp in the park, hut fees for visitors who need to spend the night in the huts, and fees for some tourism activities such as nature walks. Do not overlook the 18% VAT.
WHAT IS THE IDEAL TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK?
The dry season, from late May to October, is the best time to visit the park, along with other northern Tanzania safari destinations such as the Serengeti, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Wildlife is simple to spot because they congregate around waterholes, there is little precipitation, the vegetation is not dense, roads are easily accessible, and mosquito populations are low. November to December and March to May are the best times to observe the evergreen habitats and nature in the Arusha National Park forest, as well as for bird watchers, as both migratory and resident birds can be seen readily.
HOW TO ACCESS/ GO TO ARUSH NATIONAL PARK
Due to its proximity to Arusha town, Moshi town, and Kilimanjaro National Park, Arusha National Park is more accessible than other northern circuit Tanzania safari destinations. The park is only a few kilometers distant and can be reached in less than an hour by international passengers arriving at Kilimanjaro International Airport.
In addition, if you are in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, or any other part of Tanzania, you can easily reach Arusha by taking a domestic flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport or Arusha Airport, and then making your way to Arusha National Park. If you do not wish to fly, you can ride public buses daily to Arusha.
ATTRACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES IN ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK.
Arusha National Park is a compact park with a wide variety of attractions and activities. The crater is home to herbivores such as elephants, hippos, bison, zebra, and even the occasional wildebeest, as well as unique ecosystems and breathtaking views of Mount Meru. There is a great deal to see and do in this area, despite its small size and abundance of natural resources and diverse animal attractions. The following are some of the attractions of Arusha national park.
This is one of the finest places to observe buffaloes and waterbucks in Arusha National Park, as it is the only freshwater lake in the park and serves as their watering hole. Other untamed animals, including giraffes, zebras, gazelles, and a variety of bird species, can also be found here searching for water.
Tululusia Hill, a popular hiking destination that provides visitors with a breathtaking view of the lower regions of Arusha National Park and the two mountains of Kilimanjaro and Meru, served as a lookout during tribal conflicts from Tanzania’s post. This densely forested region of the park is home to elephants, bison, colobus monkeys, red duikers, leopards, and tree-dwelling pythons.
Mount Meru, Tanzania’s second-tallest peak after Mount Kilimanjaro, is one of Arusha national park’s adventure/hiking challenge areas. A popular pastime for visitors to Arusha National Park is ascending Mount Meru or hiking its lower slopes on the mountain’s smaller trails. The three-day trek to the crater’s summit is a more tranquil and, according to some, more difficult alternative to the nearby iconic peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. The routes to rivers and waterfalls on the lower slopes make for a pleasant day hike for those who do not desire to attempt the more challenging ascent.
Another attraction in Arusha National Park is the Ngurdoto Museum, which overlooks the Ngurdoto Forest with its population of black and white colobus primates. It contains an extraordinary assortment of specimens of the numerous animals, birds, and insects that inhabit the park.
This marshy crater is densely populated with a variety of wild animals, and it is the most popular stopover location for game drive activities. On a game drive here, keep a watch out for Cape buffalo, elephants, monkeys, baboons, warthogs, and other antelope species. On the periphery of the city, the Ngurdoto Forest is home to playful black-and-white colobus monkeys.
The Arusha national park also features the small Serengeti, the Momella lakes, where there are more flamingos, distinctive vegetation, and magnificent wild animals.
THINGS TO DO AT ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK/ TOURISM ACTIVITIES
In the popular tourist destination of Arusha National Park, game safaris can be conducted early in the morning, late in the afternoon, and at night. The game drive entails investigating the park in a safari vehicle and is frequently conducted around the Little Serengeti, where visitors can see and observe a variety of wild animals, including zebras, wildebeest, and buffaloes, among others. At the Momella Lakes, game viewing is conducted at a leisurely tempo, and many visitors stop to watch endangered colobus monkeys playing in the forest’s canopy as they pass through.
Small Momella Lake is the location of one of the most popular activities in Arusha National Park: canoeing. Seven shallow lakes comprise the Momella Lakes in Arusha National Park: Big Momella, Small Momella, Kusare, Lekandiro, Tulusia, Rishateni, and El Kekhoito. Each of these alkaline lakes with abundant algal growth has a distinct shade of green or blue. Although the water is unsafe to consume, it is ideal for canoeing and offers the opportunity to observe flamingos and other birds, as well as water bucks, giraffes, zebras, and dik-dik in the surrounding area.
The ideal time to go birding is during the wet season, when migratory species have arrived. Flamingos and other waterbirds, including the Tawny eagle, red-fronted parrot, African fish eagle, Egyptian goose, great crested grebe, lammergeyer, black saw wing, and cinnamon chested bee eater, can be found in the small and majestic Momella lakes, which change color during the breeding seasons. In addition to the Momella, a variety of forest species can be observed.
Guided nature walks
By taking a guided nature trek in the park, travelers can also get up close and personal with nature. There are numerous walking trails to choose from, and travelers must be accompanied by an expert tourist guide and a park ranger, as well as adhere to all instructions. Some of the paths are Kitoto to Njeku via Meru crater, Momella gate to Itikoni, Ngurdoto crater rim, Buffalo to Kaitong, Laitong to Buffalo, and Momella gate to Tululusia water fall. The duration of the nature trek ranges from two to six hours, depending on the trail and the visitors’ energy and interest.
Hiking Mount Meru
Mount Meru hiking is another popular tourist activity in Arusha national park, and most people who need to ascend Mount Kilimanjaro national park are advised to start and challenge themselves with Mount Meru hiking first. Mount Meru requires an average of four days to reach the summit, but it is possible to do so in three days with proper acclimatization. All hiking parties follow the same path up the mountain, which commences at Momella Gate.
ACCOMMODATION IN ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK
When planning a trip to Arusha National Park, travelers can choose from a variety of hotels where they can enjoy their nights and excursions. The park contains a number of camping sites and huts where visitors can appreciate the natural surroundings, but if camping and living in huts are not your thing, there are also lodges, such as Hatari Lodge and Momella Wildlife Lodge, where you can spend the night.
A second option for accommodation in Arusha National Park is to travel a few kilometers to Arusha or Moshi town and spend the night there. Arusha and Moshi towns offer a range of lodging options, from luxurious to budget-friendly.