Arusha National Park

Photo © Grete Howard

Travel Guide Africa Tanzania Arusha National Park

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Introduction

Arusha National Park covers Mount Meru, a prominent volcano with an elevation of 4566 metres, in the Arusha Region of north eastern Tanzania. The park is small but varied with spectacular landscapes in three distinct areas. In the west, the Meru Crater funnels the Jekukumia River; the peak of Mount Meru lies on its rim. Ngurdoto Crater in the south-east is grassland. The shallow alkaline Momella Lakes in the north-east have varying algal colours and are known for their wading birds.

Mount Meru is the second highest peak in Tanzania after Mount Kilimanjaro, which is just 60 km away and forms a backdrop to views from the park to the east. Arusha National Park lies on a 300-kilometre axis of Africa's most famous national parks, running from Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in the west to Kilimanjaro National Park in the east.

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Geography

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Sights and Activities

Arusha National Park has a rich variety of wildlife, but don't expect the same game-viewing experience you'd find in other national parks of Tanzania's northern circuit. Despite being a small park, common animals include giraffe, Cape buffalo, zebra, warthog, the black-and-white colobus monkey, the blue monkey, flamingo, elephant, and lion. Leopards are present, but rarely seen. Birdlife in the forest is prolific, with many forest species more easily seen here than elsewhere on the tourist route - Narina trogon and bar-tailed trogon are both highlights for visiting birders, whilst the range of starling species provide somewhat less gaudy interest.

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Opening Hours

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Cost

Park fees:

  • Entrance/Conservation fees: US$45 per person per day (foreigners).
  • Hut fees: US$30 per person per night (foreigners).
  • Guide fees: US$15-20 per person (possibly per day, foreigners).
  • Rescue fee: US$20 per person (foreigners).

Thus a three-day, two-night climb will cost a minimum of US$260 for foreigners. However, because of the new/more strictly enforced regulations, other fees may also be added depending on the tour operator you organize through and may include porter, cook, and meals. These additions will likely add at least another US$100, and probably more. As always, be prepared to negotiate and shop around.

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Getting There

The park is just a few kilometres north east of Arusha, though the main gate is 25 kilometres east of the city. It is also 58 kilometres from Moshi and 35 kilometres from Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).

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Eat

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Drink

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Sleep

There are options within and outside of the park. Camping inside the park starts at US$30 per person per night (foreigners).
There is also a hostel for US$10 per person per night (foreigners). Colobus Mountain Lodge: located about 300 m from the Arusha National Park entrance arch, it is a fairly pleasant -and probably cheaper- alternative to staying in the park. The property underwent a change in management and thus the facilities were still undergoing renovations in August 2015. Manager is friendly and things are generally functional nonetheless. Camping US$10 per person per night. Rooms also available.

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This is version 1. Last edited at 10:04 on Sep 15, 17 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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