Arusha National Park
A popular day trip from Arusha, before embarking on your main safari circuit, this small national park offers a calm and quiet space for enjoying the richness of Tanzanian wildlife. At a laid-back pace, you can take the time to look up into the canopy and spot the acrobatics of the rare black and white colobus monkeys, as well as playful blue monkeys, and the dazzling colors of turacos and trogons.
If the three-day trek up Mount Meru isn’t for you, you can enjoy a relaxing exploration of its lower slopes, along trails that wind around crystal clear mountain streams and cascading waterfalls. The tranquil greens and blues of the Momela Lakes often provide a backdrop for thousands of vibrant flamingos, as well as a rich diversity of migrant waterfowl, and both giraffes and zebras graze on the grassy hills. There may be no lions to see here, and elephants are uncommon, but you might be lucky enough to see some elegant leopards and spotted hyenas in the early morning and late afternoon.
The slopes, summit, and ash cone of Mount Meru dominate this small park, as well as lush highland forests of ancient fig trees. When the clouds clear on the eastern horizon, you might even get a glimpse of the snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro.
The striking façade of Mount Meru, Tanzania’s second highest mountain, is the result of a massive volcanic blast that destroyed the eastern flank, some 250,000 years ago. Your ascent to the summit will take you on a journey from dry forests to dense mountain rainforest, which then gives way to scrubland. Higher up, heath and moorland take over, until all that’s left is the barren alpine desert. The changing wildlife is equally diverse and impressive, offering regular encounters with large game, such as elephants and buffalo, and you may even spot some leopards as you climb. Of course, it’s essential to be guided by an experienced and armed park ranger.
Arusha National Park Gallery
ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK MAP
Wito's Top Picks - Accommodation in Arusha NP
Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge
This is one of our top picks because of its unique character and the range of facilities on offer. Situated in the grounds of a coffee plantation, we just love how the wooden chalets seem to nuzzle into the lush gardens. We prefer the standard plantation rooms to the luxury suites, as we find them more tasteful, just as comfortable, and less pricey. We particularly like to use Arusha Coffee Lodge when clients are flying out of Arusha Airport the next day, as the morning transfer is only ten minutes. This is also a great spot for buying some extra special gifts for friends and family before you head off, with a collection of boutiques selling arts and crafts, jewelry, clothes, coffee, cakes and traditional Swahili food.
Located in the heart of lush tropical gardens, the cottages of Legendary Lodge are fully equipped to a high standard and all have private verandahs, offering great views of Mt. Meru. We like to recommend Legendary Lodge for guests who prefer to enjoy their own space, privacy and flexibility. At Legendary, you can choose whether to take your meals in The Old Farmhouse, on the terrace, or in the comfort of your own cottage. There are two designated family cottages, which work great for families travelling with younger children. This is also a convenient location for our clients as the transfer to Arusha Airport is just a ten minute drive, and Kilimanjaro International Airport is an hour away.
Onsea House & Machweo Retreat
We love this luxury boutique hotel because it offers more privacy than a lodge, more comfort than a camp, and a level of personal service and attention that you wouldn’t get in a larger hotel. Since the opening of Machweo Wellness Retreat & Fine Dining next door, you can enjoy an even greater level of luxury and gourmet indulgence. There are nine rooms, each with five-star amenities and a private balcony, so you can drink in the views without distraction. This would make a perfect base for your safari, Kilimanjaro trek or beach holiday in Zanzibar, where you can enjoy the extravagance of classic French cuisine and a refreshing refuge at the end of a long day.
For even more of your home comforts, we would recommend staying in one of these six luxurious cottages. They share the same owners as Onsea House but we prefer the layout and ambience. Each of the cottages is furnished to a high standard, with satellite TV, WiFi, and even a minibar, and decorated with stunning African art. Our favorite thing about Machweo is that you get your own private terrace, looking out to Mt. Meru and the awe-inspiring African sunset.