Just 32 kms away from Arusha town, is the Arusha National Park known as a gem amongst parks. It consists of three spectacular features, the Momella Lakes, Mount Meru and Ngurdoto Crater.
The entrance gate leads into shadowy montage forest inhabited by inquisitive blue monkeys and the only place on the northern safari circuit where the acrobatic black & white colobus monkey is easily seen. The park is also famous for its 400 species of birdlife. In the midst of the forest stands the spectacular Ngurdoto Crater, whose steep, rocky cliffs enclose a wide marshy floor dotted with herds of buffalo and warthog.
Further north, rolling grassy hills enclose the tranquil beauty of the Momella Lakes, each one a different hue of green or blue. Their shallows sometimes tinged pink with thousands of flamingos, the lakes support a rich selection of resident and migrant waterfowl, and shaggy waterbucks display their large lyre-shaped horns on the watery fringes. Giraffes glide across the grassy hills, between grazing zebra herds, while pairs of wide-eyed dik-dik dart into scrubby bush.
Although elephants are uncommon in Arusha National Park and lions absent altogether, leopards and spotted hyenas may beseen slinking around in the early morning and late afternoon. It is also at dusk and dawn that the veil of cloud on the eastern horizon is most likely to clear, revealing the majestic snow-capped peaks of Kilimanjaro, only 50km (30 miles) distant. But it is Mount Meru, the fifth highest in Africa at 4,566 meters that dominates the park’s horizon. Its peaks and eastern foot slopes protected within the national park, forming a rewarding hiking destination.