Arusha National Park (and Mount Meru)
Arusha National Park lies on the eastern slopes of Mount Meru, just outside Arusha, and stretches towards Kilimanjaro. Covering some 550 sq. kms, the diversity of habitat is bewildering – alpine desert on the summit of Meru descending through open heathland dotted with lobelia and montane forest to savannah woodland, rolling hills of grassland and the Momella lakes. In the heart of the park lies the Ngurdoto Crater, like the Ngorongoro, a collapsed caldera.
The scenic splendour of Arusha is matched by the variation in wildlife species. Of the Big 5, you’re only likely to see buffalo, but giraffe, zebra, waterbuck, dik dik, warthog and bushbuck are common, and some special species include the black & white colobus and blue monkey. The birdlife is spectacular with over 650 species recorded. Flamingo and waterfowl dominate some of the Momela lakes, and the forest is home to such splendours as the Narina trogon, scarlet-tufted sunbird, Kenrick’s and Abbott’s starling, rufous sparrow, red-throated tit and bat hawk.
Walks and canoe excursions are part of the Arusha experience and can be enjoyed alongside traditional game-viewing drives. Alternatively, undertake a 3 or 4 day climb of Mount Meru.