The acrobatic black and white Colobus monkey welcome you as you pass through Arusha's main entrance gate. From the lush green swamps surrounded by thick forest in the Ngurdoto Crater, up through the scenic beauty of the Momela Lakes, each a startlingly different hue, through to the chilly alpine like tundra on Mount Meru, Arusha is a gem of a park, seldom used by the majority of visitors to Tanzania.
- Size & Location: 137km², 25 km northeast of Arusha town in Northern Tanzania
- When to visit the park: July - October (Game-Viewing season), June - February (climb Mt. Meru)
- Climate: Dry in the cooler months with low humidity. Daytime maximum temperatures at 32° C
- Rainfall: 600mm per annum
- Altitude: 1500m above sea level
Explore the diverse and changing landscapes, hike along scenic mountain and forest trails and view huge masses of wildlife in this quaint and charming park.
There are three major attractions in the park. First is the Ngurdoto Crater, which is sometimes called "mini Ngorongoro." Secondly, there are the Momella lakes, which are shallow alkaline lakes which get their water from underground streams. Finally, there is the spectacular Meru Crater. Mount Meru (14,990 feet) is described as "one of the most rewarding mountains to climb in Africa." Visitors can climb the mountain, or organize walking safaris. The park also provides great views of Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru on clear days.
The remains of a large volcano, the Ngurdoto Crater is a steep sided bowl of lush swamps and riverine forest, which is home to elephant, buffalo, warthog, baboon, reedbuck, Colobus monkeys and duikers. Mosses, ferns, lichens and orchids thrive in the damp atmosphere of the crater, giving way to huge mahogany, olive and date palm trees on the drier crater walls.
The tranquil beauty of the Momela Lakes brings to the park a wide variety of birdlife (Over 380 species) including flamingoes, waterfowl, African pochard, ibis, heron, egrets, colourful turacos and trogons. The rocky crags of Mount Meru sees a large number of birds of prey and you may be lucky enough to spot lammergeyers, a large, rare bird of prey, floating on the up draughts from the crater. Other game includes hippo, giraffe, zebra, antelope, blue monkey, dik dik, reedbuck, klipspringers, leopard, and spotted hyena.
- Ngurdoto Crater (little Ngorongoro)
- Momella lakes
- Black and white Colobus Monkey
- Mount Meru (14,990 feet) and the Meru Crater