Day Trip - Arusha National Park

Trip Overview

About the Arusha National Park

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.

Getting there

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 or Moshi.

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