The overlooked multi-faceted jewel-Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park though over looked by tourists on Tanzania safaris, is a multi-faceted jewel and the closest national park to Arusha town which is northern Tanzania’s safari capital.  Overlooked because of the less wildlife within the park, it offers a great opportunity to sight fascinating wildlife in a diversity of habitats within a few hours.

Arusha National Park was established in 1960 and covers an area of about 552 sq. km (212 sq. miles) just 25 km (15 miles) from Arusha town. It’s in a few destinations where you find a park so close to a capital like that, one of the few being Nairobi National Park. Arusha National Park covers Mount Meru, a prominent Volcano with an elevation of 4566 m above sea level. Mount Meru is the second highest peak in Tanzania after the popular Mount Kilimanjaro just 60 km away forming a backdrop to views from the park to the east.

Safari Attractions and activities in Arusha National Park

Wildlife in Arusha National Park

Arusha national park black and white colobus monkey

Black and White Colobus Monkey

The park has a rich variety of wildlife though not much rewarding like other famous Tanzania wildlife safari parks, like Serengeti National Park, Lake Manyara National Park and Tarangire National Park. The common animals sighted in the park include giraffes, cape buffaloes, zebras, warthogs, black and white colobus monkeys (the only place in the northern circuit where it is easily seen), blue monkeys, elephants, lions, flamingoes and many more. Leopards are rarely seen. Due to the low numbers of predators in the park, walking safaris are permitted.

Bird species in Arusha

Birdlife in the forest is prolific, with many forest species more easily seen here than elsewhere with the Narina Trogon and Bar-tailed Trogon both a possible highlight for tourists on birding safaris in Tanzania. Other bird species that can be seen here include the silvery cheeked Hornbill, little bee-eater and the occasional long crested eagle. An array of water birds like cormorants, kingfishers and beautiful flamingos are also often spotted on the salt lakes.

Hiking Mount Meru

Many tourists enjoy to either hike Mt. Meru (the fifth highest in Africa at  4,566 meters (14,990 feet) )or enjoy the smaller trails that crisscross its lower slopes. The three-day trek to reach the crater’s summit is a quieter, and some say more challenging alternative than the famous peak of nearby Mount Kilimanjaro. Along the lower slopes, the paths to rivers and waterfalls create a relaxing day hike for visitors who don’t want to attempt the rather arduous climb.

Arusha National Park is one spectacular destination to visit while on a short trip from Arusha, it offers a chance to sight several species in a short period of time. There a few national parks where you can be able to see wildlife in a few kilometers so if in Arusha taking this opportunity is rewarding.