Arusha National Park 143

Arusha National Park is a relatively small park, covering an area of 137 square kilometers (52.9 square miles), and lies near the town of Arusha. The town and the park is named after the Waarusha people who for long have traditionally lived in the area. However, the park also overlaps the area where the Maasai people lived. In fact, most of the names of the places are derived from Maasai language.

Inside the park, there are three major attractions. First is the Ngurdoto Crater, also referred to as mini-Ngorongoro. Secondly, there are the Momella Lakes which are shallow alkaline lakes fed by underground streams. Thirdly, there is the spectacular Meru Crater. Mount Meru with a height of 14,990 feet offers one of the most rewarding mountain climbing experiences in Africa. From the park, incredible views of Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru are also on offer on clear days.

Ngurdoto Crater is remains of a large volcano. It is a bowl-shaped formation with steep sides covered with lush swamps and riverine forest. This is home to animals like elephant, reedbuck, buffalo, warthog, colobus monkeys, duikers, baboons etc. In the damp atmosphere of the crater, botanical species like mosses, ferns, lichens, orchids, thrive. On the drier crater walls, there are a number of mahagony, olive, and date palm trees.

The tranquil beauty of the Momela Lakes brings to the park a wide variety of birdlife (Over 380 species) including flamingoes, waterfowl, African pochard, ibis, heron, egrets, colourful turacos and trogons. The rocky crags of Mount Meru witnesses a large number of prey birds, and you might get lucky to spot the lammergeyers which is a large, rare bird feeding on bones. It normally floats up on the draughts from the crater. Other animals like hippo, zebra, giraffe, blue monkey, dik dik, reedbuck, leopard, klipspringers, and spotted hyenas are also on offer

Attractions:

  • Ngurdoto Crater (little Ngorongoro)
  • Momella lakes
  • Black and white Colobus Monkey
  • Mount Meru (14,990 feet) and the Meru Crater

Safaris