Arusha National Park
Safari suitability: 4/10Find your tour
The park does offer some excellent activities for those seeking exercise, but its small size and lack of big game bring it down a few points.
What YAS members think
- Home to Mt. Meru, the second-highest mountain in Tanzania
- Walking, canoeing and mountain biking safaris are possible here
- About an hour’s drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO
About Arusha National Park
Arusha National is located in north eastern Tanzania, about 35 km (22 miles) from Kilimanjaro International Airport. The bustling town of Arusha is often an initial destination for weary travellers who’ve just landed at JRO (Kilimanjaro airport) after hours of travel. The town of Arusha is sees loads of tourists as they pass through on their way to the parks, and it offers a wide-range of lodging and dining options. There are also several good markets where people can haggle alongside locals for handmade souvenirs. Mount Meru, the second highest mountain in Tanzania at 4566 m (14,980 ft), is located in Arusha National Park. Walking and hiking safaris are possible with a ranger guide, and as one ascends the slopes of Mt. Meru, they will be afforded some stunning views of neighboring Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Arusha is a great park those seeking outdoor activity. In addition to game drives there is also the option to do hikes, canoeing and mountain biking. Mount Meru receives a very small portion of visitors as most opt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. A wide-variety of animals can be found in Arusha National Park, from small colobus monkeys to giraffes, hippos and zebra. There are very few elephants here and lions are no longer found in this park. A few leopards are purported to remain in the park, but they are rarely sited.
When is the best to visit Arusha National Park?
Arusha is best visited during the dry seasons, between the months of June and October and January through March. November and December are the short rain months and visitors may experience an occasional downpour which will then turn to clean skies. March through May is the heavy rains season and most outdoor activities will be difficult during this time of year.
We found ourselves landing early in the morning in JRO and didn't know how to spend the day. We did do a nice nap first, but by 11am, I was ready to see some of the land! Our guide took us to Arusha. It was very lush and there were many monkeys about. We needed a ranger to hike Mt. Meru and, because we'd only just landed, we did not do this. There weren't any big animals that we saw, but it was lush and green and tropical and fun not crowded. Glad we went but would have been disappointed had this been the main focus of our trip!
Arusha is well know by whoever is planning a safari in Tanzania and hides a real wonder, the Arusha National park. Often snubbed by the programming of the northern circuit, it contains several wonders and it’s the perfect choice for a day game drive, maybe combined with a walking excursion. Part of the park is covered by the rainforest inside which stands the beautiful Mount Meru, a still active volcano, which is also the second highest mountain in all of Tanzania with its 4.566 meters. Here a lot of primates live, the black-and-white colobus included, which flies on the tree branches fluttering its wonderful fur. Another feature of this park is the Ngurdoto Crater, a small caldera of about three km, full of fauna, called the ‘small Ngorongoro’. For bird lovers there are many ornithological species and the seven small Momella Lakes which, with their extremely alkaline waters, attract numerous flamingos. They are spectacular seen from afar: immense pink spots. As for the remaining fauna, there are elephants, herbivores and giraffes with the largest population in the world. Of course it is possible to trek the Meru: some consider it a training before tackling the great giant, the Kilimanjaro. Among the plants present in the park I point out the singular strangling figs, a strange species of parasite that envelops the host plant until it kills it. Much photographed is the specimen under which a door for cars has been opened. The best moment to visit this park is during the dry season, July to November.
Mt Meru is the lesser known great climbing adventure, often greatly over shadowed by its close by neighbor, Mt Kilimanjaro. However, this extraordinary adventure should not be missed, time permitting. Whether summiting or stopping short before the peak, the views are simply breathtaking. Especially, seeing Mt Kili at dusk, a sight which is ethereal. However, it is important to have a very experienced and trusted guide. While ascending, there are wild buffalo which are very dangerous as well as the climb to the summit, usually starting around midnight, is not for the inexperienced or faint of heart.
Arusha National Park is lovely little park has stunning scenery that is very different and considerably more lush than that of its northern neighbor. The wildlife watching is satisfying, with sightings of elephants, zebras, giraffes and dik-diks common. For me, a favorite attraction is the black-and-white colobus monkey, which is frequently spotted here. Another highlight: the small Momella Lakes, which attract flamingo's and other water birds. If you're arriving at Kilimanjaro International Airport and have a few extra days at your disposal, I recommend Arusha park as a convenient and enjoyable stop for a night or two before heading further afield for your main safari. There is a good range of accommodation in and around Usa River, the park access village.
What can I say - Colobus monkeys are the most amazing monkeys. They put on a wonderful display swinging through the trees. There were thousands of bright-pink lesser flamingos lining the edges of the lakes and the islands in the lake. So spectacular. Lots of different birds, giraffes (saw two young males play fighting), hippos swimming out to warn a group of canoeists to get moving, blue monkeys, an albino olive baboon. A beautiful peaceful park.
Not many people know of this beautiful little haven, so if you want that private safari moment, this is the real deal. It was fun taking a walk with the giraffes, baboons, buffaloes staring at us all the way to the little waterfall that we didn't hesitate to take a quick face wash before we headed for the game drive. The Momella Lake was all pink, filled with flamingos every where. First time I ever saw one of my favorite birds, the African Hoopoe.
Nice play to stay and you find there also lots of animals, but also the small and big lake Momella. It's possible to do a canoe trip with a guide. Very nice to do and with a bit of luck (like I had) you can see hippos . The sides of the lake has many flamingos and also in the middle of the lake you see them, and that because there is a ridge in the water. With a bit of luck you also can see Mt. Kilimanjaro. I stayed in Momella Lodge, nice place to be. The rooms are dated, but clean. Also on this place we were the only guest, means also we drink coffee with one of the staff and there is also a hippo pool and with the girl who worked there that day I got to see a hippo in the pool, not 100 m away.
Only stopped here for an afternoon, mainly to kill some time. It's actually a gorgeously green park with lots of monkeys about. Not a great place if you're after big game, but if you want nice scenery and little crowds, it's good. And, humid.
Arusha National is located in north eastern Tanzania, its lay down on the mount Meru Mounatin and its near by Kilimanjaro International Airport. Driving to JRO is about 1 hr. The park is suitable for the outdoor activity and game drives there is also the option to do hikes, canoeing and mountain biking. The park contained a lot of variety of flora & fauna, wide-variety of animals can be found like colobus monkeys. Also around the park you can find waterfalls, rivers, streams, green vegetation and also the different species of trees.
I kept seeing this amazing volcanic peak from Arusha. I asked if it was Kilimanjaro but was told, no, Kilimanjaro is in Moshi. This was Mt. Meru. It's an impressive mountain and not for the faint of heart if you wish to trek it. I spent the day in this park and loved it. So different from the big game parks where you're mainly confined to your vehicle. Worth a day to see. I stayed at the Arusha Coffee Lodge, which is not in the park but in Arusha. Decadent!
Arusha National Park is often undertaken and skipped during safari in Tanzania. It's really a shame, this park is really nice and it's a mountain park, different than other parks in Northern circuit. During the day you see different environments, i.e. forest, lakes, crater (Ngurdoto), plain...In Momela lakes you can see flamingos and other water birds. This is a very good park for bird watchers. There are a lot of monkey and you can spot black and white colobus monkeys. It's also well know for the high giraffes density as well as walking safari with park ranges is an exciting experience. Usually you can see bufalos during the walk and take nice shots at the waterfalls. Mount Meru (4.5685m) is inside Arusha National Park and it's the 5th highest mountain in Africa, 2nd in Tanzania after Mt Kilimajaro (5.895 m). It's not far from Arusha town, there are a lot of lodges in town or outside town.
Driving to Arusha National Park from Arusha or Kilimanjaro International Airport
Arusha National Park is very easy to access. It is roughly 90 minutes from the center of Arusha and between 2 and 2.5 hours from JRO, Kilimanjaro International Airport.
Driving from Nairobi to Arusha National Park
The drive from Nairobi's international airport to Arusha National Park takes around four to five hours, not including time spent at border crossings. Shuttle and bus services between Nairobi and Arusha are mushrooming. Companies such as Riverside offer daily shuttles from around $30 pp US.
The following airlines travel to Arusha National Park
Scheduled domestic services in Tanzania. Air Tanzania Corporation (ATC) the Tanzanian flag-carrier, was established on 11 March, 1977, to operate the services suspended following the dissolution of East African Airways (EAA), which was owned jointly by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Visit website
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As Salaam Air has grown to be a leading air carrier between the Tanzanian Islands. Our experienced team understands that customer satisfaction is important to the creation of a successful flight operation. Thus, we go above and beyond to satisfy our clients. The airline plies eight routes to promote tourism within and outside the country. We have two fuel-efficient aircraft Cessna 208B Grand Caravan and Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia, which are good for the environment and the safety of our clients.We would like to help you discover more about our Islands here on our website and at every step of your journey Visit website
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Coastal Aviation is an airline operating out of Dar es Salaam - charter flights. Coastal Aviation flying to some 100 strips located in some of the most isolated pockets of the East African Region. The scheduled Coastal network also connects visitors to Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda with the world-famous Serengeti, links the emerging tourism destinations of Mozambique with the Southern Tanzania parks of Selous and Ruaha, and unites the tropical island paradises of Pemba, Zanzibar, Mafia and Fanjove Private Iaslandwith the National Parks and towns of the mainland. Our state of the art fleet is composed of 20 aircraft and has been expertly-adapted to the African safari environment, without compromise to safety and comfort. Visit website
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Flightlink is a scheduled airline with Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and Air Service License (ASL) granted by Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority & Kenya Civil Aviation Authority to conduct Private & Scheduled Flight under Public Transport category within the region. All the aircraft in our fleet are chosen for their excellent safety records and their ability to perform in even in the most hostile conditions, so landing be it in the bush or on tarmac is not at all taxing. Visit website
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Precision Air is a publicly-listed Tanzanian airline and a leader in providing scheduled flight services to over 10 destinations within and outside Tanzania from its main hub Dar es Salaam. The company operates on the principle that quick, comfortable and reliable service is the best way to serve its customers. Through its customer-focused approach, many have become part of the Precision Air family. Precision Air started with its headquarters in Arusha - the midpoint between the Cape and Cairo, which is the entry point to many of Tanzania's world-renowned landmarks and national parks. The headquarters of Precision Air are now Dar es Salaam, the business complex of the country, which is home to a vast size of traffic travelling within and outside Tanzania. Visit website
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Premium Charter Service is an air charter broker based in Tanzania. We offer our valued clients a truly exclusive flying experience, one that combines luxury with the convenience of flying privately. Our network of domestic and international operators adheres to strict standards of quality. We deliver a superior experience to our clients with a high level of professionalism. Visit website
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Regional air is a recognized leader in the aviation industry in Tanzania, the airline began in 1997 with one pilot and one aircraft. They are affiliated to the long-established Nairobi-based domestic airline, Airkenya. We are based in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha. Arusha is the starting point of safaris into Northern Tanzania, as the airline also offers charters to these various parks and game reserves. Visit website
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Safari Plus is Tanzanias first, Premium Charter operator in Tanzania positioned to offer unique flying experience while giving our customers flexibility and total control over their travel needs around the country and beyond. The Airline was established in 2009. 1 x Beechcraft King Air 350 with 8 Seats configured in executive club seating. 2 x Beechcraft 1900D with 18 Seats. Head office based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Operating base at Julius Nyerere International Airport. Approved by the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority to operate both; Scheduled Air Services and Non-Schedule Air Services (Charter Services). Visit website
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Premier safari airline and charter. Safarilink is Kenya's premier safari airline with a network of connecting domestic scheduled services to all the best safari destinations within Kenya and across the border into northern Tanzania. From it's base at Wilson Airport, Nairobi SafariLink provides daily scheduled flights to Masai Mara, Amboseli, Tsavo West, Naivasha, Nanyuki, Lewa Downs, Samburu, Lamu, Kilimanjaro, Loisaba, Migori and Diani Beach. Additionally it can also provide private charter flights if a client's particular requirement as regards destination or timing cannot be met by the scheduled services. Visit website
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TANZANAIR was formed in 1969 and pioneered aviation throughout Tanzania. Today it continues to live up to its slogan as theComplete Aviation Company. It was founded by Dinos J Samaras who managed the Company until he passed away in April 2010. It is now headed by his son John Samaras who was his deputy since 1983. With 45 years experience, TANZANAIR offers tailor-made air travel to suit the needs of its customers. With a modern fleet of twin and single-engine Cessna and Beechcraft turbine aircraft, TANZANAIRs well-established reputation leads the way in air charter services throughout the region. TANZANAIR operates out of its own purpose-built Passenger Terminal located between Terminal I and II at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam. The passenger lounge is adjacent to the two hangars. It is housed within a secure wall enclosed compound with ample parking facilities. Visit website
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Flown by an international team of pilots, Zantas Air has one of the youngest fleets of Cessna Grand Caravans in Tanzania. These are maintained to the highest safety standards and comply with the ICAO, CESSNA, and TCAA directives. We have an exclusive lounge at Arusha airport. Guests can relax in our comfortable lounge while they wait for their flight. Our operations are designed to suit our client's needs with a customized itinerary based on their schedule. Zantas Air works with its sister company, Mbali Mbali Lodges and Camps, to offer shared charter flights. We fly passengers from Northern Tanzania to Western Tanzania twice a week on Monday and Thursdays. Visit website
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