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    The Best Things to Do in Arusha National Park in 2024/2025

    11 minutes read
    11 minutes read
    Elephant in Arusha National Park
    Elephant in Arusha National Park

    Introduction to Arusha National Park

    Arusha National Park, a hidden gem in Tanzania’s wildlife scene, offers many incredible experiences for nature enthusiasts. From thrilling game drives to breathtaking hikes, this park has something to offer every visitor.

    If you’re planning a trip to Arusha National Park in 2023/2024, here are the best things to do to make the most of your visit:

    Embark on a Game Drive

    No visit to Arusha National Park is complete without a game drive. Hop into a safari vehicle and set off on an adventure through the park’s diverse landscapes.

    As you venture deeper into the park, focus on the abundant wildlife that calls this place home. The park is teeming with fascinating creatures, from graceful giraffes and majestic elephants to elusive leopards and playful monkeys.

    Arusha National Park is unique because it offers various habitats, including open grasslands, lush forests, and crater lakes. This diversity attracts a broad range of wildlife, making your game drive an exciting and rewarding experience.

    The park is known for its resident herd of African buffalos, often spotted grazing in the grassy plains. Zebras, warthogs, and waterbucks are also frequently seen during game drives.

    Take a Walk on the Wild Side

    Arusha National Park is among Tanzania’s few parks that allow walking safaris. Accompanied by an experienced guide, venture out on foot to explore the park’s stunning natural beauty up close.

    Walking safaris offer a unique perspective, allowing you to observe the fancy details of the flora and fauna and truly connect with the environment. Walking through the park, your safari guide will point out interesting plant species, animal tracks, and signs of recent wildlife activity.

    You may encounter troops of black and white colobus monkeys swinging through the trees or spot vibrant birdlife fluttering among the branches. Walking safaris are an immersive experience that lets you thoroughly enjoy the park’s sounds, sights, and scents.

    Climb to the Summit of Mount Meru

    For adventurous souls, a climb to the summit of Mount Meru is a must-do activity. Towering over the park, Mount Meru offers a challenging yet rewarding trek.

    The four to five-day hike takes you through diverse landscapes, from dense forests to rocky slopes. Along the way, encounter unique wildlife and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views. At the summit, witness a sunrise that will leave you in awe of nature’s beauty.

    Its famous neighbour, Mount Kilimanjaro, often overshadows Mount Meru, but it offers thrills and rewards. The trek to the summit takes you through different vegetation zones, providing an ever-changing backdrop of flora and fauna.

    In the lower sections of the mountain, you’ll pass through lush forests, where you may encounter troops of baboons and monkeys. As you ascend higher, the landscape transforms into moorlands and alpine deserts, offering stunning views of the surrounding scenery.

    Canoe on the Momela Lakes

    The Momela Lakes, a series of alkaline lakes in the park, provide a picturesque setting for a canoeing adventure. Hop into a canoe and glide along the calm waters, surrounded by lovely views of the surrounding landscapes.

    As you paddle, keep an eye out for the abundant birdlife that inhabits the shores of the lakes. This serene experience offers a peaceful respite from the excitement of the game drives and hikes.

    The Momela Lakes are home to various bird species, including flamingos, pelicans, and kingfishers. Canoeing on the lakes lets you get closer to the birds and observe their behaviour in their natural habitat. 

    The calm waters mirror the surrounding landscapes’ beauty, creating a truly magical experience. It’s a perfect chance to relax, unwind, and appreciate the tranquillity of nature.

    Discover the Ngurdoto Crater

    A visit to the Ngurdoto Crater is an absolute must. Often referred to as the “Little Ngorongoro,” this collapsed volcanic crater forms a unique ecosystem within the park. 

    Walk along the hole’s rim and marvel at the lush vegetation and wildlife that inhabit this area. Look out for buffalos, warthogs, and other animals as they roam freely in this stunning natural amphitheatre.

    The Ngurdoto Crater is a fascinating sight to behold. Its steep walls enclose a lush floor covered in marshes, grasslands, and forest patches.

    The crater provides a wildlife sanctuary; lucky visitors may spot elephants, buffalos, and even leopards. As you explore the rim, take in the breathtaking views of the crater below and the surrounding landscapes.

    The crater provides a wildlife sanctuary; lucky visitors may spot elephants, buffalos, and even leopards. As you explore the rim, take in the breathtaking views of the crater below and the surrounding landscapes.

    Enjoy a Picnic in the Park

    Arusha National Park offers several designated picnic areas to take a break and enjoy a meal amidst nature. Pack a tasty picnic lunch and find a scenic, relaxing spot to refuel. Take in the breathtaking views, listen to the beautiful sounds of nature, and cherish the moments of tranquillity in this remarkable setting.

    If cooking isn’t your thing, you can always buy and take out some local and international cuisine and bring them to the park. Picnicking in the park is a beautiful way to immerse yourself in the beauty of Arusha National Park.

    Whether you dine near one of the picturesque lakes or under the shade of a towering tree, you’ll be surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature. Keep your eyes open for any wildlife visiting during your picnic, but remember to keep a safe distance and never feed the animals.

    NOTE: Loud music is strictly prohibited.

    Immerse Yourself in Birdwatching

    Arusha National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers. Over 400 bird species are recorded within its borders, giving plenty of reasons to take on birdwatching here. 

    Remember to bring your binoculars and go on a birdwatching adventure. From the vibrant flamingos at the Momela Lakes to the unique species in the montane forests, you’ll have the opportunity to spot various avian wonders.

    The park’s diverse habitats support an affluent bird population. Look out for the African fish eagle, with its striking plumage and piercing call, as it soars above the lakes in search of prey.

    The forested areas are home to colourful species like the turaco and trogon. Birdwatching in Arusha National Park is a delight for experienced birders and those new to the hobby.

    Soak in the Serenity of the Park

    One of the most underrated activities in Arusha National Park is simply taking the time to soak in the serene atmosphere. Find a quiet spot, sit back, and appreciate the beauty of nature surrounding you. 

    Whether it’s the tranquil lakes, the towering Mount Meru, or the peaceful sounds of wildlife, allow yourself to be fully present and absorb the tranquillity of this remarkable place. Take a moment to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with nature. Listen to the rustling leaves, the singing birds, and the gentle breeze.

    Observe the playfulness of monkeys or the grace of giraffes as they move through their natural habitat. In our fast-paced world, this serene experience is a true gift.

    Conclusion

    Arusha National Park is a gold mine of natural wonders and exciting experiences. From gratifying game drives and walking safaris to climbing Mount Meru and enjoying peaceful moments in nature, the park offers diverse activities for every type of adventurer.

    As you plan your visit to Arusha National Park in 2023/2024, include these top things to do to make your journey unforgettable. Easy Travel Tanzania is ready to assist you in crafting a memorable experience in this remarkable destination.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. What is the best time to visit Arusha National Park for wildlife viewing?

    You can visit Arusha National Park year-round. However, the best time for wildlife viewing is during the dry season(June to October). In this period, the vegetation is less dense, making the animals more visible, and they tend to congregate around water sources, enhancing your viewing chances.

    Remember that the park’s highlands can be pretty cool, so it’s advisable to bring warm clothing, regardless of when you plan to go. It’s also important to remember that animal sightings are never guaranteed, as their movements can be highly unpredictable.

    2. What wildlife can I expect to see in Arusha National Park?

    Arusha NP is home to a diverse range of wildlife. The most commonly sighted animals include giraffes, zebras, buffaloes, bushbucks, and waterbucks. Though more elusive, it’s also possible to spot elephants and leopards.

    Being a birding hotspot, Arusha boasts more than 400 species of birds. So, if you’re an avid birder, you will find a trip to this park rewarding. The park is also notably home to several primates, including the black-and-white colobus monkey.

    3. Can I do a safari in Arusha National Park?

    Safari tours are one of the main reasons to visit Arusha National Park. These can vary in length from a half-day tour to a full-day excursion and usually include a driver and guide who can provide valuable insights into the park’s wildlife and habitats.

    Game drives in open safari vehicles offer the opportunity to see many different animal species in their natural habitat. Many tour operators also offer walking safaris, an intimate and thrilling way to experience the African wilderness.

    4. Are there any hiking options within Arusha National Park?

    Arusha National Park offers some excellent hiking opportunities. One of the most prominent is the trek to Mount Meru, Tanzania’s second-highest peak. This multi-day hike provides magnificent views of the park and, on clear days, even Mount Kilimanjaro.

    Guided nature walks are another fantastic way to explore the park on foot. These walks often start from the Momella gate and lead you through forests and past the Momella lakes, providing plenty of birdwatching opportunities.

    5. Can I explore Arusha National Park on my own ?

    Exploring Arusha Park independently can be challenging as the park’s rules require visitors to be accompanied by an armed ranger for most activities, like walking safaris or hiking Mount Meru. This is due to the potential presence of dangerous wildlife.

    However, if you’re driving through the park in a safe and closed vehicle, it’s possible to do this independently. You must pay the park fees and abide by the rules, including not getting out of your car outside designated spots.

    6. What are the photography opportunities like in Arusha National Park?

    Arusha Park offers endless opportunities for photography. With its majestic landscapes, diverse wildlife, and fascinating plant life, photographers of all levels will find plenty to capture.

    Its multifaceted landscapes, including forests, vast grasslands, and picturesque lakes, can make for stunning backdrops. Wildlife photography is particularly rewarding here due to the park’s abundant animal and bird species.

    7. Is bird watching popular in Arusha National Park?

    Arusha National Park is a paradise for bird watchers. The park consists of more than 400 species of birds, including flamingos, hammerkops, plovers, and herons.

    The best time for bird watching in the park is during the wet season, from November to April, when migrant birds are present. However, bird spotting can be rewarding year-round, making it a must-do activity for visitors.

    8. Can I do horseback riding in Arusha National Park?

    Horseback safaris are not permitted within Arusha National Park. This is mainly due to safety considerations regarding potential encounters with dangerous wildlife.

    However, several operators offer horseback safaris in other areas around Arusha. These can provide a unique perspective from which to experience and appreciate the landscapes and wildlife of Tanzania.

    9. Can I go on a night safari in Arusha National Park?

    Night safaris are not offered in Arusha National Park. Park regulations require all visitors to leave by sundown as a measure for the protection of wildlife.

    However, other parks and reserves in Tanzania offer night safaris, providing the unique opportunity to observe the nocturnal habits of wildlife.

    10. Are there any picnic spots in Arusha National Park?

    There are several picturesque picnic spots spread throughout Arusha National Park. These spots are perfect locations to rest, enjoy a packed lunch, and offer stunning views of the park’s landscapes.

    One such popular picnic site is near the park’s main viewpoint, “Mikindu,” from where visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the park, including spectacular views of Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro.

    11. Can I visit the Ngurdoto Crater in Arusha National Park?

    Often referred to as “Little Ngorongoro,” the Ngurdoto Crater is one of the critical attractions of Arusha National Park. This extinct volcanic crater is surrounded by forest, while the crater floor, being a marshy area, is inhabited by various wild animals.

    However, do note that access to the crater floor is not permitted, but visitors can savour the breathtaking view from several viewpoints around the crater’s rim.

    12. How can I get around within Arusha National Park?

    Getting around in Arusha National Park can be done in a few ways. Most visitors get around by vehicle, either self-driving or as part of a guided safari tour.

    For those seeking a more active exploration mode, guided walking safaris or hikes are available. Walking safaris provide a different perspective and a more personal contact with nature.

    13. Is canoeing offered on the lakes in Arusha National Park?

    Canoeing is an activity that’s possible on the Small Momella Lake in Arusha National Park. It offers a unique and relaxing perspective to enjoy the park’s scenic landscape and wildlife.

    Floating quietly on the water’s surface can get you remarkably close to the bird and animal life around the lake. Remember, though, that all water-based activities must be guided.

    14. Are there any cultural tours offered in Arusha National Park?

    Cultural tours are not typically offered within the premises of Arusha National Park. The park’s focus is primarily on wildlife conservation and nature-focused activities.

    However, cultural tours can be arranged in the adjacent communities or the nearby city of Arusha, where visitors can visit local markets and historical sites and engage with local communities.

    15. Are there any good spots for sunset or sunrise viewing in Arusha National Park?

    Arusha Park offers several spots known for their splendid sunrise or sunset views. For instance, the viewpoints around the Ngurdoto Crater and the Momella Lakes offer gorgeous vistas during these times.

    Another exceptional spot for sunrise viewing is from the summit of Mount Meru, though this requires a challenging hike. Regardless of the site, witnessing the African sun paint the sky will surely be a memorable experience.

    16. What can I expect from guided walking safaris in Arusha National Park?

    Guided walking safaris in Arusha National Park offer an intimate encounter with the park’s natural beauty. Under the guidance of experienced park rangers, these safaris allow visitors to appreciate more minor details that can be missed on the typical game drives, such as animal tracks, insects, plants, and birdlife.

    Walking safaris also provide a unique perspective on larger wildlife, providing thrilling encounters you wouldn’t get in a vehicle. Safety is prioritized on these walks, with armed rangers leading the way to protect against potential wildlife threats.

    17. Are there any restaurants or eateries within Arusha National Park?

    Generally, inside Arusha Park, there are no restaurants or eateries. Visitors are advised to bring packed meals and snacks for game drives, hikes, or picnic moments in the park.

    Most lodges and camps outside the park offer meal facilities for their guests. Some also provide packed lunches for tourists planning a day out in the park. Always discuss options with your tour operator or accommodation provider.

    18. Can I climb Mount Meru in Arusha National Park?

    Climbing Mount Meru is a popular activity in Arusha National Park. At 4,566 meters, it’s the second-highest peak in Tanzania and offers breathtaking views of the park and, on clear days, Mount Kilimanjaro.

    The hike is typically a 3-4 day trek and can be challenging due to its sharp ascent and altitude. But with proper preparation, the climb is achievable and provides a memorable and rewarding experience.

    19. Is camping allowed in Arusha National Park?

    There are designated camping sites within Arusha National Park. These sites have basic facilities such as toilets and showers but be prepared for a rustic camping experience in the wilderness.

    Camping in the park does require reservations and fees, which your tour operator can usually arrange. Ensure you abide by all the rules, particularly waste disposal and noise levels, to maintain the natural environment.

    20. Can I bring my children to Arusha National Park?

    Arusha NP is an excellent destination for families with children. The wide variety of wildlife and the magnificent natural beauty can make this an exciting and educational experience for kids.

    However, some activities, like particular hiking treks, might have age limits due to their challenging nature. Always ensure appropriate safety measures, supervise kids, and follow park rules to guarantee a superb family safari experience.

    Musaddiq Gulamhussein - Owner - Easy Travel Tanzania

    About the author: Musaddiq

    Meet Musaddiq Gulamhussein, owner of Easy Travel Tanzania, a tour company creating life-changing safari experiences for over 35 years. Musaddiq has explored Tanzania, developing a deep understanding of the local cultures and traditions. Follow his journey and gain insights into the African Safari experience through Easy Travel's social media and blog.

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