ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK
Arusha National Park is the closest national park to Arusha town (36 miles to the park gate) situated at the foot of Mount Meru, east of Arusha town. Arusha National park comprises 85 square miles of pristine wilderness and has a diverse topography that can catch your eyes and heart. The park is divided into three distinct areas: Ngurdoto Crater, the Momella Lakes and the rugged Mt Meru and ranges in altitudes between 4,950 feet up to 14,850 at Mount Meru. Ngurdoto Crater is surrounded by forest whilst the crater floor is a swampy area. The Momella lakes, like many in the Rift Valley, are alkaline, while Mt Meru is a mixture of lush forest and bare rocks.
Wildlife in Arusha National Park
Associated with these different vegetation zones are different types of mammal species and outstanding birdlife we are less likely to find elsewhere. Both migratory and residents water birds settle on the lakes, waterbuck and reedbuck are found near water, while bushbuck and duikers easily glimpsed between ancient cedar trees. Some of the nicest surprises are the black and white Colobus monkey as well as the Blue or Sykes monkey climbing along the branches in the forested areas. Within this wide range of habitats over 411 species of birds have been recorded in the park, including some forest species such as the silvery-cheeked hornbill and Hartlaub’s Turaco as well as the Narina and Bar-Tailed Trogons.
Lake Longil is abundant with tilapia, attracting many fish eagles for feeding. Crowned eagle, Fischer’s Lovebirds and Chestnut-banded plovers and the more threatened Maccoa duck are often see in the park. More than 45 species alone can often be seen at the series of Momela Lakes. Other mammal species in evidence are elephants, giraffe (largest concentration of giraffes), hippos, buffalo, leopards, hyena, zebra and a wide range of antelopes. Predators are not easily seen and there are few in the park, but giraffe can be seen very close to the vehicles.