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Despite the fact that Arusha National Park is a lot smaller than the neighbouring wildlife reserves, there is a lot to see. This is due to its very diverse habitats which are situated around craters and lakes. Mount Meru dominates the horizon and offers magnificent views. And with 2 airports nearby, Arusha NP is one of the most accessible parks in Tanzania.
The park has its own unique personality. You will not find any lions here but this significantly increases your chances of spotting leopards and hyenas. This is also the only place on Tanzania's northern safari circuit that is home to the black and white colobus monkeys. Avid birder watchers will also find plenty to look at here: almost 400 species of birds have been recorded in the park. The area around the shallow Momela lakes in particular is home to an exceptionally large diversity of different birds.
The park, which measures a mere 137 square kilometres, is divided into 3 specific vegetation zones. First, there is Mount Meru: on clear days, the views of the volcano – at 4565 metres, this is one of the highest in Africa ─ are truly impressive. The green slopes rise above the savannah and are home to numerous monkeys, leopards and raptors. The second zone is composed of the Momela lakes that attract flocks of pink flamingos and other waterfowl. Many species of antelope, giraffes and zebras graze around the lakes. Finally, there is the Ngurdoto Crater. The bottom of this 3-kilometre-wide bowl in the landscape lies 100 metres below the rest of the park and consists mainly of forests and swamps. This is the favourite habitat of herds of buffalo and warthogs. Thanks to this large diversity in the landscape, you will be able to tick off numerous ‘must-see animals’ in one day.
Arusha National Park
Despite its proximity to 2 airports (Kilimanjaro and Arusha), Arusha National Park is one of the least visited wildlife parks in the region. This is mainly due to the greater popularity of the larger parks in East Africa. Also, Arusha has no lions and elephants are rarely spotted. These ‘flaws’ are more than compensated for by a host of lesser known attractions and activities. You may choose a jeep or walking safari, or even take a canoe safari – something unique to Tanzania.