Arusha National Park ? Tanzania
Arusha National Park is close to Arusha Town in Northern Tanzania. It is nestled against the impressive Mount Meru which dominates this park; Mount Meru can be climbed over a two or three day period. It is a steep climb on loose scree. The climber being rewarded with impressive views of the park and the plains beyond sweeping all the way across the African bush to the snow capped Mount Kilimanjaro. Half the crater of Mount Meru was blown away sometime in the distant past; this has exposed an impressive and rather huge ash cone. The remainder of the crater has resulted in exposing 1,500 meters of vertical cliff face, which makes for a rather unusual and dramatic final trek to the summit.
A highlight of Arusha National Park is driving up through the cool rainforest, to the top of Ngurdoto Crater. Ngurdoto is a caldera of an extinct volcano. You will stop often to watch the striking black and white colobus monkeys as they sit in the branches of ancient cedar trees and groom one another and occasionally stare back at you. Listening to these monkeys bark through the forest along with the call of the horn bill is a thrilling experience. These haunting calls are truly African.
Ngurdoto has a ring road that allows fabulous views down into the lush crater interior. The views on offer are stunning ? remember to bring your binoculars. The crater floor has swamps, clumps of trees and some grass land. It is so green and some time can be spent at the view points drinking in the view. The crater is home to elephant, buffalo, baboon, reedbuck, colobus monkeys, leopard and duikers.
To leave your vehicle and walk has not been possible until recently; but now you are allowed to walk around the rim. This crater is a small version of the huge Ngorongoro. This added attraction will make this small beautiful park even more interesting to visit.
Mosses, ferns, lichens and orchids thrive in the damp atmosphere of the Crater, giving way to huge mahogany, olive and date palm trees on the drier crater walls. The crater floor calls out to be explored on foot but unfortunately descent into the Crater itself is not allowed.
Once you leave the forests of Ngurdoto it is possible to get a clear view of Mount Kilimanjaro, weather permitting. It is now time to head for the lakes and to explore these areas each lake seeming to have a different colour and smell. There are picnic areas around the lakes as well as opportunities to get out the safari vehicle and have a canoeing safari. This is a great way to see the bird life and the park from a different perspective. Flamingoes can be seen in huge congregations on the Momella lakes.
This park does not lay claim to be unique in any way, it is not off the beaten track, nor is it renown for anything in particular. However, it is accessible to everyone visiting Northern Tanzania; it offers a verity of habitats in a small area and is a real jewel. Do not miss an opportunity to visit this park should you get a chance.
About the Author: For further information on Arusha National Park see http://www.betheladventure.co.uk using tourism to fund community initiatives focused on the education of the young and the medical care for the whole family. Ensure your safari is using profits to help the community.