With the jagged teeth of Mount Meru on the horizon, the Arusha National Park is a hidden gem for safari lovers wanting to explore the vast African wilderness. Montane forests pave the way leading to grassy rolling hills, sinking marshes and shimmering blue lakes. As dawn strikes the landscape, bathing the world in hues of blue and gold you can spot the towering snowy peaks of the famous Mount Kilimanjaro.
Flora and fauna decorate the rocky cliffs of the Arusha National Park and it’s one of the only places you can spot the black and white colobus monkey flipping through the trees. From a distance the lakes, glittering in the sunrise, flame pink with flamingos that flock to the shores in search of breakfast. Warthogs rush into the brush scrubs and dik-dik antelope dart across the plains side by side. Arusha is without a doubt a spectacular place to see.
You can reach the Arusha National Park with a short drive from the city of Arusha and whilst unknown for its large game viewing opportunities it’s an area that hits the mark for hikers. With a knapsack on your back you can discover an untouched piece of heaven with rushing waterfalls, lush green rainforests alive with birdsong and colorful vegetation clinging to the Ngurdoto Crater walls. Scrabbling up the magnificent rocky face of Mount Meru and feeling the soft sway of grass beneath your feet as you trek towards the endless horizon is an unrivalled experience never to be forgotten.
A BIRD LOVERS PARADISE
Even though the big cats tend to inhabit other National Parks and elephants are a rare find, you can still enjoy abundant wildlife spotting in Arusha National Park. Herds of shaggy buffalo roam the grassy plains, giraffes lift their heads from feasting on the trees and hyenas drift from the shadows of the dense forests. For bird lovers the Arusha National park is a pure delight, you can spot the occasional saddle billed stork, grey crowned canes and bright and dazzling red breasted parrots pecking at their plumage.
CLIMB THE SUMMIT
Those who want to embrace a challenge from Mother Nature can soar to the skies by climbing the summit of the cragged Mount Meru. Mount Meru is the fifth highest mountain in the whole of Africa and has prehistoric value. Many years ago a volcanic blast hit the mountain which is why the rocky ridges and jagged teeth are a defining aspect of Mount Meru’s terrain. As you clamber up the mountainside you will push your way through the tangled vines of dense rainforest and stretch your legs through open grassy plains and alpine desert. The naked eye of Kilimanjaro gleams in the distance as you stumble across leopard slinking through the heath, an antelope grazing and a monkey calling from the branch. Climbing the summit can be a life changing experience fraught with adventure. Yet due to the paths passing through the wildlife tracks you should always be in the presence of an armed wildlife ranger.
WHEN TO VISIT
Being a lesser known park on the radar means that Arusha enjoys the solitude of nature year round, despite the magnificent landscapes visitors tend to travel to the better known regions of the Serengeti leaving this spectacular park in the shadows of the mountains. As the sun rises in the east, you can catch the clearest views of Mount Kilimanjaro between the months of December and February. Those hikers wanting to embrace the challenge of climbing Mount Meru are best packing their bags between the months of June to February. This is the time when the weather is soft and subtle although the rains can hammer hard during November.