| There are large mammals, though, including elephants and giraffes, and the park has
much natural beauty.
Arusha National Park has three main areas, each one offering its special kind of nature.
The Ngurdoto Crater is the remains of a now extinct volcano, and has crater sides covered
in dense forest. The Momela Lakes are a mix of soda
lakes and freshwater lakes, set in mainly open bushland. Finally, Mount Meru,
the sixth highest mountain (4,566 m/14,980 ft) in Africa, covers the western half of
the park, and offers a nature changing with altitude, from mountain forest to montane
desert. A number of observation points and picnic sites are found throughout the park.
The bird life is very good, and if you are a keen bird watcher going on safari, you
may consider adding a day in Arusha National Park to your itinerary. The best birding
can be expected between October and April, when many migrants are present or passing.
More than 400 bird species have been observed. Out of these, Hartlaub's turaco and narina
trogon are often mentioned in park descriptions. Spotting these takes some work, but
they can be seen. We have also seen fine species such as crowned eagle, lanner falcon
and Levaillant's cuckoo.
Other birds present are ostrich, crowned crane, yellow-billed stork, saddle-billed stork,
African spoonbill, greater and lesser flamingo, black-headed heron, cattle egret, sacred
ibis, Egyptian goose, spur-winged goose, black stilt, red-billed teal, Cape teal, African
jacana, pied avocet, African fish eagle, augur buzzard, red-billed oxpecker, black-and-white
cuckoo, bronze sunbird, grey-headed bush-shrike, white-fronted bee-eater, African paradise-flycatcher
and white-browed coucal.
The Ngurdoto Crater
The Ngurdoto Crater is a wide but fairly shallow crater, with a floor covered by
grass- and wetlands, where for example buffalos may be seen. You can't visit the floor,
but may watch the wildlife and the scenery from observation points set along the crater
rim. The northern rim has the best views. From there, you can see not only the crater
and large areas of the park, but also Kilimanjaro
if the weather is clear.
The road to the rim climbs the outer crater walls, which are covered in high forest.
This is a good place to look for the black and white colobus monkey. Arusha National
Park is known for it's fine population of these monkeys, and you may spot them in the
trees; they are close to never seen on the ground.
Also the blue monkeys are usually seen in the trees, although not as high, while baboons
often prefer the ground. These monkeys can also be seen in the forest. With some luck,
you may also catch a glimpse of the red duiker, a rare and shy forest antelope. It's
also a good environment for birds such as silvery-cheeked hornbills, bee-eaters and
The Momela Lakes
The Momela Lakes is a cluster of freshwater and soda lakes in the north-eastern part
of Arusha National Park. Many water birds can be seen here, for example flamingos, African
fish eagle, African jacana and Egyptian goose. There are also hippos, waterbucks and
dikdiks. The bushbucks of Arusha National Park seem to be less shy than those of other
parks, and are often seen in the open on the western side of the lakes. This may be
the only place in northern Tanzania where you can be quite sure to see bushbucks, and
to see them well enough for bringing some decent pictures home.
The land around the Momela Lakes is mainly open, offering views of Mount Meru and, in
clear weather, Kilimanjaro.
The western half (closest to Arusha Town) of Arusha National Park is dominated by Mount
Meru, a 4,566 m/14,980 ft high volcano that had its most recent eruption in 1910. You
can drive fairly high up on the mountainside, and from there do a one-hour walk to the
main crater, from where a 1,000 m/3,300 ft wall rises. Lammergeiers (a kind of vultures)
may be found here. To walk the park, you need to hire a ranger to escort you. This can
be arranged from the park headquarters at Momela Gate.
The mountain forest is home to elephants, African buffalos and bushbucks. The birds
you may spot include red-fronted parrot, Hartlaub's turaco, bar-tailed trogon and narina
Climbing the mountain
Like Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru may be climbed. A slow and safe climb may include two nights
on the mountain. Mount Meru has by far fewer climbers than Kilimanjaro, so you may not
see many other climbers around, if any at all. Even though the mountain is lower than
Kilimanjaro, it has a steeper peak.
Lodges, camps and hotels
Arusha National Park is close to Arusha, so you may stay in lodges
around the park or in town. There are also camping sites and mountain huts
inside the park.
Hotel is just outside the city centre of Arusha. It has three restaurants (try the Indian restaurant,
which is very good), bar, swimming pool, exchange bureau, Internet café, gem shops (where
for example tanzanites
are sold) and gift shop.
More about Impala Hotel
Web site: www.impalahotel.com
Meru Hotel is a tourist class hotel just outside the city centre of
Arusha. There are 168 rooms, restaurant, bar, swimming pool and a fairly
large hotel garden. The hotel is the Arusha terminal for the shuttle buses
to and from Nairobi in Kenya.
More about Mount Meru Hotel
Meru Game Sanctuary is a few km/mi south of Arusha National Park, off
the main road between Arusha and Moshi. The lodge offers good standard,
and has a restaurant, a gift shop and a pretty garden. The lodge has a zoo
for orphaned animals.
More about Mount Meru Game Sanctuary
Web site: www.intimate-places.com
Mountain Lodge is a very good hotel in a quiet countryside area some
20 km/12 mi east of Arusha. The hotel has good rooms, restaurant, bar, swimming
pool and a 9-hole golf course with views of Kilimanjaro
Meru. It's a 30-minute drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport.
More about Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge
Web site: www.thengurdotomountainlodge.com
Coffee Lodge is a luxury lodge just west of Arusha, set in a coffee plantation along the main
road towards the main safari areas (including Lake Manyara, Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Serengeti)
and Arusha Airport. The lodge has rooms in 18 plantation houses, which have been renovated to very
good standard and style.
More about Arusha Coffee Lodge
Web site: www.elewana.com
Lodge is situated in Suye Hill just outside Arusha, in a quiet forested
area. The rooms are in bungalows on the hillside, and have mosquito nets,
private bathrooms and views of Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro.
More about Karama Lodge
Web site: www.karama-lodge.com
Lodge is a fairly new lodge next to Kilimanjaro International Airport,
a 45-minute drive from Arusha. The lodge offers good standard. There are
40 rooms, restaurant, bar and swimming pool overlooking Kilimanjaro and
Mount Meru. The lodge works fine for stays after arriving late to the airport
or before departing early. The airport isn't very busy, so the noise doesn't
really bother much.
More about KIA Lodge
Web site: www.moivaro.com
Mountain Village is a good lodge some 10 km/6 mi east of Arusha, off
the main road between Arusha and Moshi. It has some 40 rooms in bungalows,
and restaurant, lounge, library, business centre and reception in a main
building resembling a country manor house. The lodge has a pretty garden,
bordering a lake. An airstrip is nearby.
Web site: www.serenahotels.com
Safari Lodge is situated in volcanic hills some kilometres/miles outside of Arusha, offering
views of Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro. The lodge is a former private residence, and has seven guest
cottages with ensuite bathrooms. The lodge has dining room, swimming pool, gym, tennis court and
Web site: www.moivaro.com
Lodge is 7 km/4 mi east of Arusha and offers tourist class accommodation. It has 40 garden bungalows
with ensuite bathroom, private veranda, mini bar and television. The lodge has a swimming pool,
playground for children, conference and business facilities, and Internet.
Web site: www.moivaro.com
Olasiti Lodge has 16 rooms and is set some 7 km/4 mi from central Arusha. The rooms have
ensuite bathrooms and face the lodge garden. There is a restaurant, a swimming pool, Internet and
a gift shop.
Web site: www.tanganyikawildernesscamps.com
Lodge is a basic guesthouse in a quiet area just outside Arusha's city
centre. There is a restaurant, bar and swimming pool. Barclay's Bank, which
has an ATM/cash machine accepting Visa and MasterCard, is on the same street
as the lodge.
Web site: www.outposttanzania.com
Expeditions Lodge is a guesthouse/lodge in Arusha, in the same road
as Outpost Lodge, i.e. not very far from the city centre of Arusha. It offers
basic accommodation, meals, and has a bar, a garden swimming pool, Internet
and laundry service.
Web site: www.pamojaexpeditionslodge.com
House is another guesthouse in Arusha, but further away from the city
centre than Outpost Lodge and Pamoja Expeditions Lodge.
The Arusha Hotel (formerly New Arusha Hotel) is a good hotel close to the
city centre of Arusha. It has a long history, but was recently renovated. There
are 86 rooms, including a handful of suites, which have ensuite bathrooms, satellite
television, electronic safe, air conditioning, mini bar and wireless Internet.
There are restaurants and bars, conference facilities, heated garden swimming
pool, souvenir shop, business centre and a casino.
Web site: www.thearushahotel.com
Kibo Palace Hotel is a good town hotel in Arusha, a short drive or 15-minute
walk from the city centre. It has 65 rooms, including suites. All have bathrooms
with shower or Jacuzzi, satellite television, air conditioning, mini bar, safe
and wireless Internet. The hotel has restaurant and bar, swimming pool, conference
facilities, massage, steam room and gym. There is also a gemstone boutique.
Web site: www.kibopalacehotel.com
Arusha Crown Hotel is a modern tourist class town hotel in Arusha Town.
It has 38 rooms with bathroom, satellite television and phone. The hotel has restaurant
and a café, conference facilities and a business centre.
Web site: www.arushacrownhotel.com
Jacaranda Hotel is a basic hotel not too far from Arusha's city centre.
It has 20+ rooms, restaurant and a garden.
Web site: jacaranda.chez.com
Ilboru Safari Lodge is a hotel 2 km/1.5 mi north of Arusha's city centre,
offering standard in between basic and tourist class. It has 30 rooms in 2-room
bungalows. The hotel has a garden with a swimming pool.
Web site: www.ilborusafarilodge.com
Arusha Backpackers Hotel is a new budget hotel in Arusha Town, close to
the city centre. It has some 30 rooms and two four-bed dormitories, rooftop restaurant
and bar, and Internet.
Web site: www.arushabackpackers.co.tz
Catholic Hostel on Kanisa Rd offers inexpensive (approximately USD 10 for
B&B) and very basic accommodation not too far from Arusha's city centre. No
Dik Dik Hotel is a good lodge east of Arusha, off the main road between
Arusha and Moshi. It has some 20 rooms, restaurant, swimming pool and gift shop.
Web site: www.dikdik.ch
Momella Wildlife Lodge is just outside the northern border of Arusha National Park, offering views
of the park and of Kilimanjaro. There are 55 rooms in bungalows, swimming pool, restaurant and bar. The
movie Hatari, starring John Wayne, was produced here in the 1960's.
Kigongoni Lodge lies on a hill on a coffee farm east of Arusha Town, offering
views of Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro. The rooms are in 18 spacious cottages, all
with private bathroom with shower and bathtub, and a private veranda with a view.
There is a restaurant and a lounge, and a garden swimming pool. The lodge has
good tourist standard.
Web site: www.kigongoni.net
Onsea House is a farmhouse hotel just east of Arusha and offers rooms for
up to six people, including self-contained cottages. The hotel has restaurant
with ambitious kitchen, bar, a large garden with a swimming pool, and quiet surroundings.
Web site: www.onseahouse.com
Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge is an early colonial farmhouse on the lower slopes
of Mount Meru east of Arusha Town. It has ten rooms with influences from colonial
and coastal Swahili style, views of Kilimanjaro and a large garden where typical
forest animals of the area can be seen, including colobus monkeys and large hornbills.
The lodge has a private lake that offers boating and trout fishing. There is also
for example good birding, yoga and meditation classes, swimming pool and outings
in the area.
Web site: www.ngare-sero-lodge.com
Hatari Lodge is situated just outside northern Arusha National Park. It
has nine rooms decorated in a modern retro style, all with open fireplaces and
spacious bathrooms. There is a library, a lounge area and bar with veranda and
Web site: www.hatarilodge.com