Arusha is the gateway to most safari destinations in Tanzania. Arusha is approximately 30 miles from Kilimanjaro International Airport and sits at an altitude of some 4100 feet above sea level. The town is at the base of Mount Meru and is a wonderfully fertile area producing coffee, wheat, sisal and maize. Just a short distance from the town of Arusha is the Arusha National Park, which was described by Sir Julian Huxley as “a gem amongst parks”.
Arusha National Park is 552 sq km in size and is situated in northern Tanzania, just north east of Arusha town. The reserve offers remarkable natural beauty and protects the slopes of Mount Meru. It is the closest national park to Arusha town and approximately one hour away. Activities in the park include forest walks, beautiful picnic sites and 3-4 day trips to Mount Meru, the fifth highest peak in Africa, which offers good acclimatisation for Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Arusha National Park consists of three spectacular features, the Momela Lakes, Meru Crater and the Ngurdoto Crater. On clear days magnificent views of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru can be seen from almost any part of the park. The vegetation and wildlife varies with the topography, which ranges from forest to swamp. The park is famous for its 400 species of birdlife, both migrant and resident, and the black and white colobus monkey. Other animals frequently seen are baboon, elephant, giraffe, buffalo, hippo, leopard, hyena and a wide range of antelope. Because of its proximity to Arusha, it is an ideal park for a day excursion.
Walking safaris, canoeing trips on the lakes or exciting game drives are some of the exciting activities to do in Arusha National park. Arusha is home to groups of forest elephant, many buffalo, water and bushbucks, duikers and dik diks. Spotted hyenas, leopards and civets are some of the predator inhabitants.
A major attraction is the large number in primates; especially the black and white Colobus and the shining Sykes monkeys, which are very likely to be seen on a game drive or a walk in the park.
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