Despite the Small size of this national park, Arusha National Park is one of Tanzania’s hidden gems. The beautiful scenic views from the landscape of the park, coupled with the vast fauna and flora. The park is worth visiting while planning a Tanzania safari. The moment you think about visiting the northern parts of Tanzania and you skip Arusha National Park is when you need to change your mind. Otherwise, you are likely to miss an amazing African safari adventure.

Usually, travelers say that Arusha National Park has a few things to offer. That it has little wildlife, and that it is close to the city – of Arusha, makes it not a reliable tourism destination. Let me tell you something, all these are mere allegations and none of them is true. In this article, I will explain why Arusha is one of the best and most reliable tourist destinations Tanzania and the entire African continent have. Yes, Arusha National Park is not as vast as the mighty Serengeti National Park or as popular as the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, but it remains one of the best safari destinations in Tanzania’s Northern Circuit. It is actually underrated.


Arusha National Park is located a few kilometers from Arusha town. It takes not more than one hour to drive from Arusha town to Arusha National Park. Actually, this is one of the reasons why you should add Arusha National Park to your travel list. Its strategic location takes away the burden of waking up early off the traveler’s shoulder. Imagine an African safari destination where you wake up at your own pace.

Additionally, Arusha National Park provides scenic views of the magical Mt. Meru and the surrounding areas. No traveler wishes to miss the beautiful scenery brought by a combination of sun rays and physical features, especially at dust or dawn. Such moments are classic when it comes to filming and nature photography. You do not have to miss any of these. Mountain Meru is Tanzania’s second largest mountain with Mountain Kilimanjaro taking the first place. It is a dormant strato-volcano that last erupted in 1910. It is located north of Arusha town in Arusha National Park.

The summit of Mount Meru is holding the 5th position in Africa with a height of 4561m. The caldera of the summits holds a width of 3.5km. The hike and view of this mountain and many more attractions in the Arusha National Park have been a great pull of tourists to visit this park. To someone who is learning hiking, I advise them to start their journey with Mt. Meru hiking. This is an introductory lesson for them before they can the great Kilimanjaro Mountains – Africa’s highest mountains.

For those interested in hiking Mt. Meru or Mt. Kilimanjaro, Love Uganda Safaris and Tours Ltd is here for you. Through them, you can get hiking permits, hiking equipment, a professional safari guide as well as the best safari accommodation during your trip.

History of the Park

Arusha National Park was established in the year 1960 and gazette into a national park. The park is located northeast of Tanzania near Arusha city. It was named after one of Tanzania’s major cities of the country – Arusha city.

The park covers an area of 137km, with just a small area but richly endowed with breathtaking sceneries and attractions. The major physical feature of this national park is mount Meru.

Mountain Meru is Tanzania’s second largest mountain with Mountain Kilimanjaro taking the first place. It is a dormant strato-volcano that last erupted in 1910. It is located north of Arusha town in Arusha National Park.

The summit of Mount Meru is holding the 5th position in Africa with a height of 4561m. The caldera of the summits holds a width of 3.5km. The hike and view of this mountain and many more attractions in the Arusha National Park have been a great pull of tourists to visit this park.

What makes Arusha national park famous?

Arusha national park is home to the world’s giraffe population. The park is also famous for being close to one of Tanzania’s major cities – Arusha. This makes it a favorite safari destination for Tanzania short tours. If you wish to do a three-day Tanzania safari, Arusha national park would be the best recommendation. You can even do a one-day safari game drive and return to your hotel in Arusha town.

What you should not expect in Arusha national park.

What usually makes travelers have a bad experience in a given safari destination is the fact that they do not lower their expectations. Africa has got a lot to offer, but not everything can be found in one place. While visiting Arusha national park, do not expect the great wildebeest migration like it is in Serengeti national park or Lake Natron. Do not expect thousands of elephants and Baobab trees like it is with Tarangire national park.

All you need to know is that every African safari destination has got something new and unique to offer. This is one of the main reasons why an African safari will never be a boring adventure. Just lower your expectations, and come see what the Park has got for you.

If you are interested in other activities outside the Park, Love Uganda Safaris, and Tours Ltd is here to design for you the best Africa tailor-made safari packages. Time and money are your only limitations. We specialize in combining safari destinations in a single trip and minimizing costs for a greater experience is our top priority. Check out the amazing Tanzania combined or group tours here.

Attractions in Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park

Wildlife in Arusha National Park

The national park is home to a few number of wildlife species compared to the other national parks located in Tanzania.  Wildlife viewing gives visitors a chance to see quite a number of wildlife such as elephants, bushbucks, zebras, warthogs, cape buffaloes, and many more.

The variations in the landscape of Arusha National Park make it a reliable home to different animal, bird, and plant species. While some dwell in the lower savannah plains of the park, others can be spotted on the slopes of Mt. Meru. Some of these species are elusive and others can only be found here.


Arusha National Park has been recorded as a prime birding destination. It has over 120 bird species ready to see. The most common bird species to look out for while at the national park include among others but are not limited to; Hartlaub’s turaco, scaly spurfowl, hadada ibis, silvery checked hornbill, cinnamon chested bee-eater, Taveta weaver, the bar-tailed trogon and Narina trogon. Flamingos in the Momella lakes can be insightful on a birding safari.

Momella lakes

The Momella lakes are located on the northeast side of the park. There are seven Momella lakes in the region in these include; Tulsan, Lekandiro, Kusare, El kekhotoito, the big Momella, and the small Momella. These are alkaline-base-formed lakes that were formed from the volcanic debris from the earlier eruption of mountain Meru. These lakes are home to wading birds and good sights for birding.  Other wildlife such as zebras can as well be sighted from the banks of the lakes. Also on these lakes, you will see flamingo birds which also be found in Kenya’s Lake Nakuru National Park.

Travelers usually embark on canoeing in this lake while enjoying spectacular views of flamingo birds as well as the vast and extensive slopes of the surrounding areas.

The park is subdivided into three regions that hold the major attractions of Arusha National Park.

  • West Meru Crater region

This forms the western side of Arusha National Park. It features Mount Meru Peak and the Jekukumia River. This funneled river, channels into the formation of maio water. A Hike along the banks of the river, with a rewarding refreshing feel of the Maio waterfall waters, is truly worth it.

  • Southeastern region

The southeastern region of the national park is mainly dominated by grasslands and Ngurdoto crater. This crater is 100 meters deep and spread out to a width of 3.6 kilometers. This area is swampy and is home to multiple wildlife species hence a reliable destination for safari game drives. The Ngurdoto forest found in this region harbors black and white Colobus monkeys – one of Africa’s most sought-after wildlife species.

The Momella shallow lakes make up the northwest side. It is suitable for wildlife viewing and bird watching.

  • Tululusia Hill

In the past, Tululusia Hill was used as an overlooking spot for approaching enemies during wars. Currently, it is one of the best hiking and camping sites in Africa. Visiting this hill gives travelers an opportunity to learn about Tanzania’s past in relation to tribal and colonial wars. This area is heavily forested. It is a good site for spotting elephants, buffaloes, Colobus monkeys as well as other multiple dwellers of the magical the Park.

Activities in Arusha National park

Game drives

Game drives in Arusha national park are conducted around the Momella lakes. These lakes are visited by a number of wildlife species. Though they do not drink from the waters since the waters are alkaline. The presence of wildlife at the lakes gives a chance for wildlife sightings during game drives through the plains of Arusha National Park. Wildlife spots include hyenas, zebras, giraffes, cape buffaloes, elephants, leopards, hippos, wildebeest, and many more. The best time for wildlife viewing in the Park is during the dry seasons that is during the months of June to October.

Mountain Climbing

The presence of mountain Meru avails an amazing chance for hikers to experience this national park. Mount Meru is accessed from the Momella lakes from the eastern gate. The hike rewards a beautiful aerial view of Arusha Park landscapes and the Mount Meru summit that is found on the west Meru crater.

Bird watching

With a bird life of over 400 bird species in the forests of Arusha National Park. Bird watching is an exceptional activity that birders can enjoy while on a safari journey through Tanzania. Notable birds in the Park include the African fish eagle, Narina trogon, Little grebe, Great crested grebe, Egyptian goose, Black Saw wing, Bar-tailed trogon, Hartlaub’s turaco, cinnamon chested bee-eater, Bearded vulture, African olive pigeon, Verreaux eagle, Tawny eagle, Silvery cheeked hornbill, scaly francolin, peregrine falcon, red fronted parrot, southern pochard, Augur buzzard, flamingos and many more.

The best birding time in Arusha National Park is the best day in the dry season during the months of June to October, though it’s available all year round. The months of November to April. are the best for spotting migratory birds from Europe and North Africa.

How to get there?

The park can be accessed with a road transfer or an air transfer. It is located 25 kilometers from Arusha, 35 kilometers from Kilimanjaro national park, and the park’s main gate is 25 kilometers m from Arusha city taking only a few minutes.

Travelers who fancy flying, can get a plane to Kilimanjaro airport and then drive a few kilometers to the park.

What is the best time to Visit Arusha National Park?

Like many national parks in Tanzania, Arusha National Park is open for visitors all year round. However, the best time for safari viewing is during the dry months of June to October. This is also the best time to spot many of the migratory birds here.


A wide range of accommodation facilities is available for visitors of Arusha National Park or overstays. These include Hatari Lodge, Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge, the Africa Tulip, Arusha Serena Hotel, Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge, Momella Wildlife Lodge, and mount Meru Game Lodge.

In conclusion, Arusha National Park is among the best places not to miss on your African safari. Book your Arusha trip with Love Uganda Safaris and Tours here

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