About the Arusha National Park
Size: 552 sq km (212 sq miles).
Location: Northern Tanzania, northeast of the
city of Arusha
When to go
To climb Mt Meru, June-February are the best months although it
may rain in November. For the best views of Kilimanjaro, climb
Mt Meru between December.
On a day-trip there is plenty to see at all times of the year.
It's an easy 40-minute drive from Arusha and approximately 60
km (35 miles) from Kilimanjaro International Airport.
What to see
The lower, shadowy montane forest is inhabited by inquisitive
blue monkeys and colourful turacos and trogons and the acrobatic
black-and-white colobus monkeys are 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.
Further north, rolling grassy hills enclose the tranquil beauty
of the Momela Lakes, each one a different hue of green or blue.
Their shallows are sometimes tinged pink with thousands of flamingos.
The lakes support a rich selection of resident and migrant waterfowl,
and shaggy waterbucks display their large lyre-shaped horns on
the watery fringes. Giraffes glide across the grassy hills, between
grazing zebra herds, while pairs of wide-eyed dik-dik dart into
scrubby bush like overgrown hares on spindly legs.
Although elephants are uncommon in Arusha National Park, and
lions 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, only 50km (30 miles) away. Mount Meru is the fifth
highest peak in Africa at 4,566 metres (14,990 feet) and it dominates
the park. Meru offers unparalleled views of its famous neighbour,
while also forming a rewarding hiking destination in its own right
and an day trip here is perfect day for game viewing while you
benefit from spending minimal time driving there from either Arusha