Arusha National Park was established in 1960 and spans 137 square kilometers. The park is located only a few kilometers north of Arusha, the main gate is 25 kilometers east of the city. Moshi is 58 kilometers away, while Kilimanjaro International Airport is 35 kilometers away from the park. It is a popular day trip location for travelers who are prepared to embark on longer northern circuit safaris from Arusha. The slopes, summit, and ash cone of Mt. Meru, the Momella Lakes, Ngurdoto Crater, and a variety of wild animals, bird species, and lush highland forests that coat its lower slopes make up this small national park near Arusha town.
The Park contains a diverse range of animals, but tourists should not expect the same game-viewing experience as the Serengeti, Tarangire, or Ngorongoro in Tanzania’s northern circuit. Despite the park’s tiny size, giraffe, Cape buffalo, zebra, warthog, black-and-white colobus monkey, blue monkey, flamingo, elephant, bushbuck, and other African wildlife are all frequent. Leopard populations exist, but they are rarely seen. The forest is rich in birdlife, with numerous water-loving birds, such as lesser flamingos in Momella Lake, as well as woodland species that are more easily observed here than elsewhere along the tourist route.
ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK ENTRANCE FEES
The entrance costs to Arusha National Park vary depending on a variety of factors, such as age, birthplace, and so on. During the high season, the entrance price to Arusha National Park is USD 50 for those over the age of 16, and USD 15 for those aged 5 to 15. During the low season, the entrance price is 45 USD for those over the age of 16, and 15 USD for those between the ages of 5 and 15.
Other Arusha national park costs include concession fees paid or charged to visitors who need to spend the night inside the park; camping fees for visitors who need to camp in the park; hut fees for visitors who need to spend the night in the huts; and some other tourism activities such as nature walks. Don’t forget about the 18% VAT.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK?
The optimum time to visit the Park, like other northern Tanzania safari attractions such as the Serengeti, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, and Ngorongoro Conservation Area, is from late May to October, during the dry season. It is easy to spot wildlife since they like to congregate around waterholes, rainfall is sparse, foliage is not very dense, roads are easily accessible, and mosquito populations are low. The rains transform the landscape as lush, green grasses emerge from November to December and March to May, and this is also the best time to witness the evergreen habitats and nature in the Arusha National Park forest, as well as for bird lovers as migratory and resident birds are easily seen.
HOW TO ACCESS/ GO TO ARUSH NATIONAL PARK
Arusha National Park is easily accessible compared to other northern circuit Tanzania safari because it is located near Arusha town, Moshi town, and Kilimanjaro National Park. For international visitors arriving at Kilimanjaro International Airport, the park is only a few kilometers away and can be reached in less than an hour.
Also, if you’re in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, or any other part of Tanzania, getting to Arusha is as simple as taking a domestic flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport or Arusha Airport, and then getting to Arusha National Park from there. If you don’t want to fly, you can take public buses to Arusha on a daily basis.
ATTRACTIONS/ THINGS TO DO AT ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK.
Arusha National Park is a small park with a variety of sights to see and activities to participate in. The crater is home to a rich species that includes herbivores like elephants, hippos, buffalo, zebra, and even the occasional wildebeest, as well as unique ecosystems and beautiful vistas of Mt. Meru. Small in size, yet teeming with natural riches buried in its vast endowment of various animal attractions, there’s plenty to see and do here. The following are some of the Arusha national park’s attractions.
This is one of the top attractions to see in Arusha National Park; it is the park’s only freshwater lake, and it is best for viewing buffaloes and waterbucks because it is their watering hole. Other wild animals such as giraffe, zebras, gazelles, and variety of bird species can also be found here trying to find water to drink.
Tululusia Hill, a renowned hiking spot that offers visitors an excellently magnificent perspective of the lower regions of the Arusha National Park as well as the two mountains of Kilimanjaro and Meru, was once a lookout point during tribal battles from Tanzania’s post. Elephants, buffalo, colobus monkeys, red duikers, leopards, and even tree-dwelling pythons live in this thickly forested area of the park.
Mount Meru, Tanzania’s second tallest peak after Mount Kilimanjaro, is one of the adventure/ hikers challenge area in Arusha national park. A favorite activity for visitors to Arusha National Park is climbing Mt. Meru or hiking the smaller paths that crisscross its lower slopes. The three-day walk to the crater’s summit is a more peaceful, and some say more difficult, alternative to the nearby Mount Kilimanjaro’s iconic peak. The routes to rivers and waterfalls on the lower slopes provide a relaxing day trek for people who don’t wish to attempt the more difficult ascent.
The Ngurdoto Museum, which overlooks the Ngurdoto Forest with its population of black and white colobus monkeys, is another attraction in Arusha National Park. It includes a remarkable collection of samples of the numerous animals, birds, and insects that can be found within the park.
This swampy crater is thickly populated by a variety of wild creatures, and it’s the most well-known stopover spot for game drive activities. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as Cape buffalo, elephants, monkeys, baboons, warthogs, and other antelope species when on a game drive here. The Ngurdoto Forest, on the outskirts of town, is home to playful black-and-white colobus monkeys.
- The small Serengeti, the Momella lakes, where there are more flamingos, the unique vegetation, and magnificent wild creatures are among the other highlights in the Arusha national park.
THINGS TO DO AT ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK/ TOURISM ACTIVITIES
Game drives can be done early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or at night in the Arusha National Park, which is a popular tourist attraction. The game drive involves exploring the park in a safari vehicle and is often conducted around the Little Serengeti, where guests can see and observe a variety of wild creatures such as zebras, wildebeest, buffalos, and other species. At the Momella Lakes, game viewing is done at a leisurely pace, and many visitors pause to look for troupes of endangered colobus monkeys playing in the canopy while going through the forest.
Canoeing is one of the most popular activities in Arusha National Park, and it takes place in Small Momella Lake. The Momella Lakes are a group of seven shallow lakes in Arusha National Park: Big Momella, Small Momella, Kusare, Lekandiro, Tulusia, Rishateni, and El Kekhotoito. Each of these alkaline lakes, which have a lot of algae blooming, has a different hue of green or blue. Though the water is dangerous to drink, it is suitable for canoeing and provides opportunities to observe flamingos and other birds as well as wildlife such as water bucks, giraffes, zebras, and dik-dik in the surrounding area.
Bird viewing is another amazing and magnificent tourism activity available at Arusha National Park; the best time to go birding is during the rainy season, when the migratory species have arrived. Flamingos and other water birds such as the Tawny eagle, red-fronted parrot, African fish eagle, Egyptian goose, great crested grebe, lammergeyer, black saw wing, and cinnamon chested bee eater can be found in the small and magnificent Momella lakes, which change color during the breeding seasons. Aside from the Momella, there are a range of forest birds to see.
Guided nature walks
Travelers can also get up close and personal with nature by taking a guided nature walk in the park. There are several different walking trails to choose from, and tourists must be accompanied by an expert tourist guide and a park ranger and follow instructions. Kitoto to Njeku via Meru crater, Momella gate to Itikoni, Ngurdoto crater rim, Buffalo to Kaitong, Laitong to Buffalo, and Momella gate to Tululusia water fall are some of the pathways. The duration of the nature walk varies from 2 to 6 hours, depending on the trail followed as well as the energy and interest of the visitors.
Hiking Mount Meru
Hiking Mount Meru is another popular tourist activity in Arusha national park, and most people who need to climb Mount Kilimanjaro national park are advised to start and take a challenge of hiking Mount Meru first. Acclimatization is essential for success on Mount Meru, which takes four days on average to reach the summit, but it is possible to do so in three days. The hike begins at Momella Gate and follows the same path up the mountain for all hiking parties.
ACCOMMODATION IN ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK
When arranging a vacation to Arusha National Park, there are a variety of hotels available for travelers to enjoy their nights and safaris. The park contains a number of camping sites and huts where tourists may enjoy the natural surroundings, but if camping and living in huts is not your thing, there are also lodges within the park where you can spend the night, including Hatari Lodge and Momella Wildlife Lodge.
Another option for lodging in Arusha National Park is to travel a few kilometers into Arusha or Moshi town and spend the night there; there are a variety of lodging options in Arusha and Moshi town, ranging from high-end to low-cost.