ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK
The Momella Lakes
It has a Crater
Climb Mount Meru
ABOUT ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK
The name Manyara comes from the Maasai word emanyara, the name "is a Masai description not for the lake, but in general for a lake shore region. Of the 127 square miles (329 km2) of Lake Manyara National Park, the lake's alkaline waters (with a pH near 9.5) cover approximately 89 square miles (231 km2), though the area and pH fluctuate widely with the seasons, and dry spells expose large areas of mud flats. While most known for baboons, the lake and its environs is also home to herbivores such as hippos, impalas, elephants, wildebeests, buffalo, warthogs and giraffes. Giant fig trees and mahogany seen in the groundwater forest immediately around the park gates draw nourishment from the underground springs replenished continuously from crater highlands directly above the Manyara basin. Leading away from the forest to the fringes of Lake Manyara are the flood plains. To the south are visible the acacia woodlands. Leopards, although in abundance, are hard to get a glimpse of, just like the other elusive carnivores - lions - of this park.
With an entrance gate that doubles as an exit, the trail of Lake Manyara National Park is effectively a loop that can be traversed by jeep within a couple of hours that may be stretched to a few more at best, if driving slowly, to watch, observe and enjoy the diversity of flora and fauna. The Rift Valley escarpment forms a noteworthy landmark and provides a spectacular backdrop to Lake Manyara.
Game viewing in Arusha NP is more low-key than in the other parks in Northern Tanzania. Animals that are easily seen include buffalo, giraffe and several antelope species. More exciting are the black-and-white colobus monkeys that live in the forest, and the large number of bird species. Several lakes often host flocks of flamingos.
The park's appeal is mainly its scenery. The habitat diversity spans from montane rainforest to moist savannah to alpine moorland. The most prominent landmark is Mount Meru. Other highlights are a massive extinct volcano and several scenic lakes, with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background on a clear day.
Best things to see in Arusha National Park | do in Arusha National Park
This swampy crater is inhabited by a large variety of animals and is a popular stop for game drives. Visitors can expect to see the Cape Buffalo, elephants, monkeys, baboons, warthogs, and a number of different antelope species here. The crater is surrounded by the Ngurdoto Forest, a shady expanse that is home to playful black and white colobus monkeys.
Overlooking the Ngurdoto Forest with its population of black and white colobus monkeys, the Ngurdoto Museum houses an impressive collection of examples of the various animals, birds, and insects that can be found within the park.
A former lookout point during tribal wars from Tanzania’s post, Tululusia Hill is today a popular hiking and camping area that affords visitors an excellent view of the lower reaches of the Arusha National Park as well as Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru.
Due to the varied landscapes that exist within the park, there is an unusually high level of diversity when it comes to wildlife. Not only is the park home to Africa’s largest giraffe population, but visitors can also expect to see water bucks, cape buffalo, elephants, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, turacos, trogons, and even the occasional lion or leopard in the right conditions.
Africa’s fifth highest mountain cuts a striking figure at 4,566m (14,990 feet). While Kilimanjaro is often shy and hides behind clouds, Mt. Meru is generally visible throughout the year. An active volcano, Mt. Meru is also a popular climbing destination for visitors to Tanzania and a good introductory mountain for those wishing to climb Kilimanjaro.
The Momella Lakes
The Momella Lakes within Arusha National Park are a series of seven shallow lakes: Big Momella, Small Momella, Kusare, Lekandiro, Tulusia, Rishateni, and El Kekhotoito. Alkaline lakes with considerable algae growth, each of these lakes is a different shade of green or blue. It is on Small Momella Lake that canoeing safaris are possible.
The only freshwater lake in Arusha National Park, Lake Longil is a popular watering hole for buffaloes and water bucks.
Fig Tree Arch
A distinctive natural arch formed by a fig tree, this intriguing feature of the landscape has grown into an arch large enough for a car or an elephant to pass under.
WHERE TO STAY : Hotels | Lodges | Camps
Arusha National Park accommodation options are unlimited in terms of choice, Arusha, being the gateway to the northern safari circuit is littered with hotels and lodges. They are luxurious, comfortable, safe and offer a variety of fun activities for individuals, couples, families or groups travelling together. If you have any questions about accommodation in Arusha, simply contact us and let one of our safari experts help you find the ideal place to stay.
Arusha Coffee Lodge
Kibo Palace Hotel
Mount Meru Hotel
Arusha Outpost Lodge
Rivertrees Country Inn
African Tulip Hotel
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Arusha National Park's climate is normally pleasant and mild. The Dry season is from June to September and there are two Wet seasons: The 'long rains' (March to May) and the 'short rains' (October to November). The rainy season consists of afternoon thundershowers but it would be rare for it to rain all day. Arusha NP incorporates Mount Meru and the area at the base of the mountain and tends to get slightly more rain and clouds.
Average yearly temperatures are consistent: cool to cold at night and in the early morning, while rarely getting hot during the day. It is important to pack warm clothing for use in the evenings and game drives in the early morning.
Best time to go:
June to September (Animals are easier to spot)
Most of the year - July to March (The park never gets too crowded)
April and May
June to October (Little rainfall)
March and April (Peak of Wet season)