How to get to Arusha National Park
Arusha NP is only a 45-minute drive away from the town of Arusha, the starting point of any safari in northern Tanzania.
There are several ways to get to Arusha. The easiest is to get a direct flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), which is situated about 46km/29mi from Arusha. Alternatively, you can fly to Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR), near Dar es Salaam and get a connecting domestic flight to Arusha Airport (ARK) or Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).
In most cases, your tour operator will pick you up from the airport and take care of further transportation.
Mount Meru in Arusha National Park
Tanzania’s second highest mountain is much more than just a “warm up” trek for Kilimanjaro.
Mount Meru is an active (but dormant) volcano located north of Arusha in Tanzania.
At 4562 metres it is Tanzania’s second highest mountain and the fourth highest mountain in Africa.
The mountain became well known mainly because it is only 70 km from Mount Kilimanjaro:
Mt. Meru has become a popular “warm up” trek for Kilimanjaro climbers.
2 ways to go to Arusha National Park
Difference between fly and go by a car is.
Arusha National Park FAQ's
- Driving from Arusha to Arusha National Park will take about 30 minutes.
- Driving from Ngorongoro to Arusha National Park takes about 3,5 hours.
- Driving from Lake Manyara to Arusha National Park takes about 3 hours.
- Driving from Tarangire to Arusha National Park takes about 2,5 hours.
- Driving from Moshi to Arusha NP takes between 1-1,5 hours depending on the current traffic situation.
Note that you’re only allowed to drive in the parks between 6am and 6pm.
Arusha National Park usually has a pleasant and mild climate with fresh mornings and evenings, but nice and warm temperatures during the day. Due to the national park being at the foot of Mt Meru, the climate is highly influenced by the mountain resulting in unpredictable weather and higher chances of rain near the slopes than at the surrounding areas.
The temperature differences can be quite drastic. It’s highly adviced to bring a thick sweather for early morning safaris as the average temperature is around 10 degrees at night time. Day-time termpatures are usually around 20 degrees, depending on the time of year and elevation level.
At just over 200 square miles, Arusha National Park has great wildlife densities, and it is home to the world’s largest population of giraffe. Cape buffalo, elephants, hippos, zebra are found here in abundance, and the occasional lion and leopard can also be sighted on a game drive.
Arusha National Park can generally be explored in a day and is a great stand-alone adventure due to its proximity to Arusha and Moshi, and thanks to its small size.
It also pairs well with longer itineraries on the northern safari circuit, including the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park.
If you’re looking to squeeze in a short safari after climbing the steep slopes of Mount Meru, Arusha National Park is also ideal as it lies at the foot of it.
Drift along the shallow waters of the Small Momella Lake in a canoe while enjoying scenic views of the surrounding bush and wildlife coming to the shores for a drink.
Canoe trips often last 2-3 hours and are a great alternative to the traditional safari experience.
The fibreglass canoes fit two people, and at the time of writing, cost $24 per adult and $12 per child (8-years old and above only).
Apart from Arusha National Park, only Lake Manyara (when the water level is sufficient) and Lake Duluti also in Arusha offer canoe experiences.
The Kili Villa is a luxurious retreat situated on a golf and wildlife estate close to the park and only 30 mins from Arusha International Airport.
On offer are three exclusive villas, as well as individual luxury rooms.
Each Villa is distinctively decorated to showcase the best local African design and craftsmanship combined with colonial-style furniture
This lodge offers horse riding, Canoeing and Game drives.
Alternatively, The River Trees Country Inn is a charming country estate that was once an old coffee farm. It still maintains the nostalgic air of a well-loved homestead.
Sprawling across ten acres on Mount Meru’s sloping foothills, beautifully rustic cottages are dotted along the river and nestled under tall trees. Lush lawns and birdsong add to the tranquil surroundings.
The restaurant concocts tasty meals of garden-fresh ingredients, old family recipes, and oven-fired pizzas. Delicious candle-lit dinners are served by the warmth of the fireplace or under the stars on the patio.
There are currently seven lakes in the park: Small Momella, Big Momella, Kusare, Lekandiro, El Kekhotoito, Tulusia, and Rishateni.
Very much so! Besides the high animal concentration here, the park also boasts wonderful birdlife, landscape, and ease of access.
Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park is located in the northern part of Tanzania not too far south from the border of Kenya and just outside the city of Arusha. The national park encompasses an area of 53 square miles (137 sq km) making it one of the smaller national parks of both Tanzania and the continent of Africa.Some people consider this a sister park to Kilimanjaro which is just east of Arusha National Park. It is common for visitors to visit both parks, particularly those who have an affinity for mountains.
Serengeti Trips Tanzania
Find all the transport options for your trip from Arusha to Ngorongoro Crater right here. We displays up to date schedules, route maps, journey times and estimated fares from relevant transport operators, ensuring you can make an informed decision about which option will suit you best.
Lodges and Tented Camps in Arusha National Park
Below are some of our favorite accommodations in/near Arusha National Park. Most people choose to stay outside of the national park as there are loads of options available in multiple price ranges, from budget to luxury. The cost of staying inside of the park is significantly more expensive, but if you can spare some money, there are a few amazing options available within the national park itself!
Of course there’s also the option of camping, which isn’t mentioned in the accommodations listed down below. We select our accommodations on a few criteria that guarantee the best possible experience. Some of these criteria are most scenic views, unique (efficient) and adventurous locations and of course the wildlife-experience!
Arusha National Park
Located just a short drive from Arusha Town, lies the national park with that bears the same name. Arusha National Park is the most accessible national park of the Northern Circuit in Tanzania and the perfect place for a day trip or as the first ór last stop on a longer itinerary. At just 552 square kilometres, Arusha NP is a small park with a lot to see.
Arusha National park is divided between three districts: Momella Lakes, Mount Meru & the Ngurdoto Crater. Depending on the time of year you can spot thousands of flamingo’s at Momella Lakes, who migrate between Lake Manyara and here.
Within these districts, Arusha NP boasts a broad variety of landscapes, ranging from open savannah through acacia scrubland to rainforest and, eventually, to alpine conditions on the higher reaches of Mt. Meru.
With diverse wildlife that includes herbivores such as elephants, hippos, buffalo, zebra, and even the occasional wildebeest, Arusha National Park is also a perfect place to get out and stretch your legs – with both walking safaris and canoe safaris available within the park.
The National Park is also home to the world’s largest population of giraffes, making it a great place to visit for fans of these long-necked, beautiful animals.
Arusha National Park is the closest park to the town with the similar name. It is a popular destination for day trip visitors who are about to embark from the town of Arusha on longer northern circuit safaris.
Arusha National Park is an interesting park to look at both for safari enthousiasts and climbers, as it lies at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro’s little brother, Mt Meru.
Since its so close to the city predators are rarely spotted. Lions have moved elsewhere and leopards can easily hide in the bushes. However, there’s loads of factors that make Arusha NP a worthy opponent for your ‘top 5 national parks bucket list’.
Due to the absence of predatory animals, such as lions, Arusha National Park lends itself perfectly for an exciting walking safari with a ranger.
Walking freely alongside the wildlife of Tanzania offers a truly unique experience. Here you´ll be walking at the foot of Mt. Meru, surrounded by green forests, lakes, waterfalls and a huge population of giraffes. A walking safari offers an amazing chance to be up-close with wildlife. The Colobus monkey is one of the highlights you can spot in Arusha NP and can often be found swinging from the trees.
Mount Meru is an active, but dorment volcano and forms the center of Arusha National Park. It is known for its huge cliffs and green surroundings at the foot.
Mt. Meru is the second highest mountain in Tanzania. It might not be as tall as its big brother, but it requires more technical skills of its climber, making it a real challenge. The mountain isn’t climbed as often and gives you a really unique, more private experience. It can be climbed in a 3 day route or a 4 day route.
The best time to visit Arusha National Park greatly depends on your personal preferences. The time of your visit can greatly affect your wildlife experience. The park is a known to be a great place to spot birds, which generally is the best time between November to December and March through May. This is when the migratory birds such as the flamingos arrive.
However, if you prefer to spot mammals, the best time to visit would be in the dry season, between June and October. This is the dryest period of the year, making them significantly easier to spot in the normally thick, lush forests. Since water is more scarce, there’s a great chance to spot wildlife near one of the fresh water sources.
The dry months, including January and February, is also the best period to take on Mt. Meru.
Arusha National Park offers more than ‘just’ wildlife spotting. There’s quite a few amazing activities you can underdate if you’re on your way to the park.
- Walking Safari
- Climbing Mt. Meru
- Maasai Visit (in the Area of Arusha)
- Visiting nearby areas & waterfalls
- Local Coffee Tours
For more info check out the activities on the right