Arusha National Park is located near the town of Usa River, about 20 km from the city of Arusha. It is a multi-faceted jewel, often overlooked by safari goers, despite offering the opportunity to explore a diversity of habitats situated within a few hours. You will hear a lot about this park from members of our team because it is located less than 5 km from our head office in the town of Usa River. We like to tell our guests that the park is so close to where we are, we feel like it’s part of our backyard.
The entrance gate leads into a shadowy forest inhabited by inquisitive blue monkeys and colourful turacos and trogons – the only place on the northern safari circuit where the acrobatic black-and-white colobus monkey can be easily seen. In the midst of the forest you will find the Ngurdoto Crater, whose steep, rocky cliffs enclose a wide marshy floor filled with herds of buffalo and warthog.
Further north, rolling grassy hills enclose the tranquil beauty of the Momela Lakes, each one a different hue of green or blue. Their shallows sometimes tinged pink with thousands of flamingos. The lakes support a rich selection of resident and migrant waterfowl, and shaggy waterbucks display their large lyre-shaped horns on the watery fringes. Giraffes glide across the grassy hills, between grazing zebra herds, while pairs of wide-eyed dik-dik dart into scrubby bush like overgrown hares on spindly legs.
An easy 30-minute drive from the city of Arusha (20km) or approximately 45 minutes from Kilimanjaro International Airport (60km), the lakes, forest and Ngurdoto Crater can all be visited in the course of a half-day outing at the beginning or end of an extended northern safari. While at Arusha National Park: You will enjoy forest walks covered with numerous picnic sites.
You can also partake in a three or four-day Mt. Meru climb starting from Arusha National Park. Most people consider this climb a good acclimatization for Kilimanjaro. Best time to visit: Any time of the year.To climb Mt Meru the best time is June-February although it may rain in November. To catch the best views of Kilimanjaro while climbing Mt. Meru is December-February.