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Nestled between the peaks of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru lies Arusha Town. Next door to Kilimanjaro International Airport, the little town of Arusha is the gateway to your safari and the perfect introduction to the gracious personality of Tanzania. Shopping, cultural interactions, hiking, and sightseeing opportunities abound here. Arusha is the launch pad and closure point for a safari in Tanzania, and thus the place where one’s safari adventures both begin and end.
When one plans of going to Tanzania, it is most likely that the city of Arusha will appear in at least one or two of the search pages. Why? Arusha is the main hub for top safari parks especially in the northern safari circuit of Tanzania. This includes Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, and Ngorongoro Crater. Additionally, Arusha holds domestic and international airports and public transportation hubs that connect to other major cities on the continent. In this article, we will cover the most renowned safaris from Arusha Tanzania and information on how to get here, what you need to get here, etc.
Why Visit Arusha?
- #1. Arusha National Park lies in Ngurdoto Crater
- #2. National Natural History Museum
- #3. Laetoli Footprints set in volcanic ash, dating back 3.5 million years
- #4. Scenic coffee plantations
National Parks in Arusha:
Arusha National Park:
The closest national park to Arusha town – the northern Tanzania safari capital – Arusha National Park is a multi-faceted jewel, often overlooked by safari -goers, despite offering the opportunity to explore a beguiling diversity of habitats within a few hours from Arusha.
This sombre mountain, known by the Maasai as Ol Doinyo Orok, meaning the “black mountain”, dominates Arusha town, the national park and surrounding countryside by towering over them. Its moods can change overnight and during the winter months the mountain is visible above the clouds.
Mount Meru is Africa’s fifth highest at 4 566 m above sea level. Its peaks and eastern foot slopes are protected within the national park. Meru offers unparalleled views of its famous neighbour, Kilimanjaro, but is also a rewarding hiking destination in its own right. Its last minor eruption occurred around 1877. Since then activity has been negligible, with small tremors occurring occasionally.
National Parks near Arusha:
Located between Tarangire National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara National Park is an easy addition to a Northern Circuit safari.
However, it’s well worth a visit in its own right, renowned for its unique ecosystems bursting with diverse wildlife. This pocket-sized version of the Serengeti is host to at least 11 different ecosystems, with groundwater forests, floodplains, hot springs and open savannahs.
The majority of the park is covered in Lake Manyara, a beautiful soda lake which attracts hippos, pink flamingos and more than 300 other migratory birds
Ngorongoro Conservation Area:
Named as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of the most extraordinary destinations on the continent. Located in the Crater Highlands of northern Tanzania, the conservation area is one of the country’s most famous safari hotspots, home to a remarkable abundance and diversity of wildlife.
It’s named after the mighty Ngorongoro Crater, an ancient volcanic crater spanning 260 square kilometres, surrounded by a 600 metre high crater wall. It’s the world’s largest intact and unfilled caldera, which alone is home to over 25,000 large game animals.
Tarangire National Park:
Get off the main safari circuit and head to the quieter Tarangire National Park, renowned for its incredibly concentrations of wildlife, and stunning natural scenery.
Located in the Manyara region of northern Tanzania, less than two hours from Arusha, Tarangire National Park is often a surprising favourite for travellers. Many people either skip Tarangire altogether, or only visit the park for a quick morning or afternoon game drive, however we recommend staying for at least two days to take full advantage of this fantastic destination.
Serengeti National Park:
The dry season (June to October) is the best and most popular time to visit the Serengeti, as vegetation thins out and wildlife gather around waterholes, making them easier to spot.
If you’d like to see the Great Migration, you can see the herds moving into the Western Corridor from May to July, however the main event of the Mara River crossing happens in July and August, and again in October or November, when the rainy season begins.
If you’d prefer to travel at a quieter time, visit the Serengeti from November to March, when the plains illuminate in lush, green vegetation and baby animals are born. This is also the best season for bird watching, however it is more difficult to spot big game in the dense foliage, and you’ll experience frequent afternoon downpours.
The heaviest rains fall in April and May, and some lodges and roads close due to flooding. Mosquitoes are also at their worst, so it’s best to avoid travel during these months.
Kilimanjaro National Park:
Kilimanjaro National Park is located in Tanzania along the northern border shared with Kenya. It covers an area of 652 square miles (1,688 sq km) which includes the montane forest that surrounds Mount Kilimanjaro. Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Kilimanjaro National Park is home to Mount Kilimanjaro which is the tallest mountain in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. It reaches a maximum height of 19,341 feet (5,895 m) at Uhuru Peak. Uhuru peak is part of the Kibo cone, which is one of three volcanic cones found on the mountain.
Mount Kilimanjaro and the surrounding national park area is unique compared to most national parks because almost all ecosystems are accounted for from the area between the base and summit. The summit provides for an arctic ecosystem with a trek up the mountain delivering visitors through cultivated land, rainforest, heath, moorland, and alpine desert.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the easiest climb of the Seven Summits; the “seven summits” include the tallest mountain from each of the seven continental regions. Accordingly, Mount Kilimanjaro is the most frequently climbed mountain as well.
There are seven different official routes up the mountain. The Marangu route, which includes shared sleeping huts, is considered the easiest and the most common. Failure to acclimate to the altitude is the most common reason that people do not reach the summit. The youngest person to climb the mountain was 7 years old and the oldest was 89 years old.
Wildlife is not abundant in this area; however, elephants, leopards, and buffalo may be seen in the montane forest. These sightings are not something to anticipate with a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro. One of the fun wildlife sightings is the western black and white colobus monkeys as they jump from tree to tree.
More about Arusha Travel Guide:
Planning your trip? Whether you’re looking for things to do in Arusha such as events and attractions, key traveller information to make your Arusha visit run smoothly or are planning where to stay in Arusha, you’ll find everything you need for your Arusha holiday on Our Website. Arusha Travel guide has the information about latest events not to miss while you visit Arusha – there’s always something going on, so don’t miss out on the latest exhibitions, shows and more on your trip Arusha
Discover the best day trips from Arusha or other Tanzania’s Cities. If you’re here as a family, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Dar-Es-Salaam with kids and find suitable accommodation such as Arusha holiday apartments. Whether you’re looking for the best weekend breaks in Tanzania or planning a longer holiday in, you can be sure you’ll find all the information you need.
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