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Arusha National Park


1/3 Mount Kilimanjaro from Arusha National Park
Mount Kilimanjaro from Arusha National Park
2/3 The rare and resplendent Colobus monkey
The rare and resplendent Colobus monkey
3/3 Hornbills in the forests of Arusha National Park
Hornbills in the forests of Arusha National Park

Arusha Park is just a few kilometres north east of Arusha and has a rich variety of wildlife, despite the small size of the park

Arusha Park is just a few kilometres north east of Arusha and has a rich variety of wildlife, despite the small size of the park. Having climbed through bustling villages and even a massive new Tanzanian university, you hardly have to get beyond the Parks bright new entrance gate before you're overlooking 'Little Serengeti' which is well worth a scan.  With a high chance of seeing herds of buffalo, zebra, the odd giraffe and great bird life, it's an inspiring start to any safari.

You soon move into montane forest inhabited by inquisitive blue monkeys and the only place on the northern safari circuit where the acrobatic black-and-white colobus monkey is easily seen. In fact having been made into stars by a classic Hugo van Lawick film, they are almost falling over themselves to get in front of your camera.

In the midst of the forest stands the spectacular Ngurdoto Crater, whose steep, rocky cliffs enclose a wide marshy floor dotted with herds of buffalo and warthog. Further north, you can see rolling grassy hills which encompass the stunning Momela Lakes, each one a different hue of green or blue. Here you are likely to see thousands of flamingos, as well as a selection of resident and migrant waterfowl.  There is also the chance to canoe these lakes, if organised in advance and devoting enough time to avoid rushing things. This grassy area provides good grazing for herds of Zebra and you often encounter amazingly relaxed Giraffes nibbling at the odd thorn bush. Although elephants are uncommon in Arusha National Park, and lions absent altogether, leopards and spotted hyenas can often be seen in the early morning or early evenings.

This small park is dominated by Mount Meru and even if you aren't climbing it yourself, its well worth taking some time to explore its lower slopes by vehicle, foot or a combination of both. Covered in an almost mystical cloud forest, with huge Juniper & Nuxia, Olive & Fig trees galore, its open vleis and cascading streams offer chance encounters with forest game including Bushbuck, Red Duiker and Warthog as well as more Colobus if you are lucky. If you have time, which normally means staying in or very near the Park, you can walk within the Crater itself, close to the central ash cone, dominated by the sheer 2000ft cliff rising up to the summit.

A few of our favourite places to stay:

Twiga Lodge

Twiga Lodge is a relaxed little lodge on the edge of Arusha


View other places to stay in Arusha National Park

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Who to talk to

Vanessa Janion

Vanessa's 16 years in travel has seen her knowledge develop from sub-Saharan Africa into North Africa, Central and Southern America and the Galapagos. Consequently, she’s a veritable encyclopaedia of travel information and exceptionally cool, calm and collected in the face of the greatest planning demands.

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At Natural High, we've had long experience putting together trips in Africa that really work. Whether it's intimate bushcamps in out of the way places, or a private lodge in one of Africa's top-billing wildlife areas, light mobile camping or remote island escapes, we know there is a lot to choose from. We're absolutely confident that we can recommend the right places for you.

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