Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park is a protected area located in northern Tanzania, near the city of Arusha. It covers an area of approximately 552 square kilometers (212 square miles) and is one of the smaller national parks in Tanzania. Despite its size, the park is known for its diverse range of landscapes and wildlife, making it a popular destination for tourists and wildlife enthusiasts.
Key features and attractions of Arusha Park include:
- Mount Meru: The park is dominated by the striking Mount Meru, which is Tanzania’s second-highest mountain after Mount Kilimanjaro. Mount Meru offers various trekking and hiking opportunities, including a challenging summit climb.
- Ngurdoto Crater: This is a volcanic crater within the park, often referred to as the “Little Ngorongoro.” It is a lush and scenic area known for its diverse flora and fauna.
- Momela Lakes: Arusha Park is home to several alkaline lakes, collectively known as the Momela Lakes. These lakes change color throughout the year, offering picturesque scenery and excellent birdwatching opportunities.
- Wildlife Viewing: While Arusha National Park is not as well-known for its big game as some other Tanzanian parks, it still offers opportunities to spot a variety of wildlife, including giraffes, zebras, buffaloes, elephants, and numerous bird species. The park is also home to some predators like leopards and hyenas.
- Canoeing: Visitors can enjoy guided canoeing trips on the Momela Lakes, which allows for a unique perspective of the park’s landscapes and wildlife.
- Walking Safaris: Arusha National Park is one of the few Tanzanian parks where walking safaris are permitted. These guided walks provide an up-close experience with the park’s flora and fauna.
- Cultural Heritage: The park has historical and cultural significance as it was once a hunting area for colonial settlers. You can visit the Ngurdoto Museum to learn more about the park’s history and the local cultures of the area.
Arusha National Park is often used as a starting point for safaris to other famous Tanzanian destinations like Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area due to its proximity to Arusha, a major hub for tourists in Tanzania.
Visitors to Arusha National Park can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, birdwatching, game drives, and photography. It offers a more relaxed and less crowded safari experience compared to some of the larger national parks in Tanzania, making it a great choice for those looking to explore the country’s natural beauty.