Arusha National Park

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Arusha National Park is one Tanzania’s smallest park (137km²,) but most beautiful and topographically varied northern circuit parks. It’s dominated by Mt Meru, an almost perfect cone with a spectacular crater. Also notable is Ngurdoto Crater (often dubbed Little Ngorongoro) with its swamp-filled floor. Wildlife is present, but for the most part it’s a sideshow to the scenery and the trekking and climbing possibilities.

  • Game viewing,
  • Climbing Mt Meru,
  • Walking safaris,
  • Birds watching,
  • Canoeing.
Best time:

All year-round for game viewing and other activities, to hike Mt Meru, June-Februaryalthough it may rain in November, it’s also the best time to sight the view of Kilimanjaro December-February.

Feasibilities: Drive in from Arusha or Moshi. The main park entrance is at the southern Ngongongare gate. The northern Momella gate is 12km further north near park headquarters, which is the main contact for making campsite reservations. Entrance fees can only paid by Visa cards or Tanapa pre-paid cards at the main entry Ngongongare.

Flora & Fauna of Arusha National Park

Within the park there are three broad areas to be found: Ngurdoto Crater (surrounded by forest), the Momella Lakes (alkaline) and Mount Meru (lush forest and bare rock). These are all at varying altitudes and as a result have very different vegetation – it is all this that helps to make this such a diverse park to visit.

Despite its small size, Arusha National Park has a rich variety of wildlife. Within the park’s three vegetation zones, many different kinds of animals can be found. Near water, reedbuck and waterbuck can be spotted, while shy bushbuck and duiker keep to the forested parts of the park. The Mount Meru eco-system is especially diverse, and home to some of the larger mammals, such as buffaloes, Giraffes, and waterbuck


Almost 400 species of birds have been recorded in the park. Some of them are migratory and only present between October and April, others are permanent residents. Especially the Momella lakes are a great place for bird watching, which host a large concentration of water birds, including flamingos. There is also a variety of raptors, which hide in the forested areas of Mount Meru.

The park is small but it includes a diverse range of habitats. There are three distinct areas to be found:

  • Ngurdoto Crater,
  • The Momella Lakes
  • And the rugged Mount Meru.

Linked to the altitude and geology of Arusha National Park you can find mountain rainforests, open savannah, alkaline lakes and even a volcanic crater. On clear days you get great views of Mount Meru, which is Africa’s fifth highest mountain and within the parks boundary. You can also see across to Kilimanjaro – which is 50km away.

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