With 322 square kilometres Arusha National Park is one of the smallest parks in Tanzania, but nevertheless is considered one of the most beautiful, with highly varied topography. It is only 45 minute drive from the city of Arusha. Although it is not usually visited in the most popular safari itineraries, it is frequented by hikers who come to ascend Mount Meru.
There are three main attractions in Arusha Park: the tranquil Momella Lakes with a wide range of birdlife and antelope species and where you can take a canoe ride; Mount Meru which you may climb (3-4 days), and Ngurdoto Crater where you can walk around the rim with an armed guide. The Park is home to Black & White Colobus monkeys which are only found here on the whole Northern Circuit.
Attractions include Mount Meru and its spectacular Ngurdoto Crater, known as small Ngorongoro, and the great beauty of the Momella lakes. The wildlife is not as abundant or as easy to view as in other parks, mainly due to the density of vegetation. Particularly noteworthy are its zebras, giraffes, hippos, buffaloes, hyenas, leopards, and stunning white colobus, among others. Unfortunately, there are no lions or rhinos due to poaching. The diversity of birds, over 570 species recorded, is a paradise for ornithologists and bird lovers.
Arusha National Park can be visited throughout the year, but the dry season from June to October is the best time for wildlife safaris. Wildlife is easier to spot because the vegetation is thinner and animals gather around predictable water sources. In the peak of the Wet season (March to April), some of the roads might become difficult to navigate, which can interfere with your wildlife viewing experience.
Wildlife Safaris in Arusha NP are more low-key than in the other parks in northern Tanzania. The forest in Arusha National Park is home to species not often encountered in other parks in northern Tanzania, including a blue monkey and black-and-white colobus. If you are lucky, you might also spot a shy red duiker. More common is the even smaller Kirk’s dik-dik. Giraffe is very common in the area around the Momella lakes.