Tanzania safaris normally start in the small safari capital called Arusha. The town is located in north eastern Tanzania on the foot hills of Mt. Meru with scenic views of the Kilimanjaro. This safari town is also the gateway to Tanzania safaris on the northern circuit National parks such as Serengeti National park and others from northern Tanzania
Arusha National park
Arusha Park Tanzania is the prime attraction within this safari town. It is the smallest of Tanzania National Parks and Reserves covering just 552km² in the north eastern part of the town. The park lies on the slopes of Mt. Meru standing at 4566mabove sea level and has clear views of the Kilimanjaro Mountain illuminating the Tanzanian skies 50km away as Africa’s Tallest freestanding mountain.
Within the park are Momella lakes, swamps, unique plant species such as Giant lobelia, Spanish moss, Ngurdoto crater, lush savannah plains, woodlands and so much more that create a rich eco-habitat for different wild animals and birds. Some of the animals within the park include giraffe, elephants, buffalo, zebra, the unique red forest duiker, warthog, reedbuck, klipspringers, spotted hyenas, white and black colobus monkey and birds such as flamingoes, pelicans, herons, fish eagles, African marsh harrier, Taita falcons and many others.
Arusha safari accommodation
Part of Arusha sights are long abandoned plantations of tea, coffee and sugar plantation that have been converted into secluded and remote Arusha hotels, lodges and estates and cottages. There are actually only two lodges within Arusha National park including Mt Meru Game lodge and Mt two rest houses, camp sites, two mountain huts inside the park; more lodges by Usa River away from park as well as various hotels as well as hostels in Arusha area.
Other Arusha safari accommodation options include Arusha Impala Hotel from the city centre; mount Meru Hotel on the slopes of Meru, River Tree Lodge, Mountain Village Lodge is just 15kms from Arusha town, Dik-Dik hotel, Kigongoni Lodge and many other options that cover guesthouses, Inns, motels and self catering apartments.
Arusha is served by an airport called Arusha Airport (ARS) used or predominantly domestic flights and private charter by tourists on northern Tanzania safari circuit. Alternatively, Arusha is accessed by air from Mount Kilimanjaro International Airport, then pick a private vehicle for 60km drive from the airport to the town. It normally takes around 40 minutes to arrive in Arusha.
If you are solely travelling by road from Nairobi, Arusha is only 4 hours away but full of adventure, beautiful scenery that will take the thought of the long journey
When to visit
Arusha safaris are best experienced all through the year. If Mount Meru climbing is what you are looking forward to, then June to February is the time you should target. Kilimanjaro mountain snow capped peak is best seen from Arusha town sky around December to February.
Visiting Arusha National park for your Tanzania Arusha safari will be … hitting two birds with one stone! The park is found gazetted in the 552sq km valley area that overlooks Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro located some 50km away. This tanzania wildlife park is a short distance from the town of Arusha that is preferably called a safari town by Tanzania’s tourist traffic. There are several things that make Arusha park a unique Tanzania safari destination among them are the Momella lakes, Ngurdoto crater, the savannah grasslands, peaks of the mountains Meru and Kilimanjaro, swamps, rain forest and most of all its wide range of African game.
Attractions and sights
Several beautiful plants are found within the park and some of the unique plants include the Spanish moss, giant lobelia and heath, acacia and spiky vegetations, fig trees and olive trees among other plants. Mount Meru is a major feature with the park lying on its lush forested and savannah covered slopes. The rugged peak of the mountain stands at 4556m above sea level. Climbing Mount Meru is a dream hike for all visitors that visit Arusha. Ngurdoto crater is found on the peak of the volcanic mountain surrounded by lush forest vegetation and savannah grass to the floor. On a clear day, the skies of Arusha Park are illuminated by the tallest freestanding mountain Kilimanjaro and its snow capped peaks in the early morning by Ngurdoto crater outposts. The shallow Momella lakes are also an important to the Arusha National Park eco-system and like all rift valley lakes; the lakes have alkaline waters that attract flocks of pink flamingoes that enjoy the algae that grows on the water surface. More than 400 birds are recorded in this park including the Euro-Asia migrants that arrive in October escaping the harsh cold winters in Europe. Regular birds sighted in the park include waders, martial fish eagle, African marsh harrier, European roller, sunbirds, pelicans, herons and the Taita falcons among other species. There are several species of Mammals that live in the park. Regular sights include giraffes feeding on spiky acacia trees, elephants roaming the plains, buffalo, zebra, red forest duiker, leopards, warthog, reedbuck, klipspringers, bushbuck, spotted hyenas, trogons, black and white colobus monkeys, Turaco, warthog and many others Getting there Arusha National Park is accessed via Kilimanjaro International airport or through Arusha Airport. The park is just a 40 minutes drive from Arusha town to the west rift valley escarpment region. The park introduces you to Tanzania’s northern safari circuit parks such as Lake Manyara Park and the famous Serengeti National Park. Accommodation in Arusha National park is very luxurious and budget camping too is available. Arusha Momella camp has splendid Tanzania safari accommodation as well as from Kudu Lodge and camp, Mt. Meru Game lodge, Ameru river lodge, E Unoto Retreat, Amboseli Porini camp and many other found in the suburb towns of Arusha.