Arusha National Park in Tanzania is not particularly large (137 km2), but it is certainly very varied. Within just a few hours you can visit a number of completely different habitats, ranging from mountain forests and lush grasslands to wonderfully coloured lakes and river forests.
The park's entrance leads you into a shaded mountain forest, where blue meerkats peer curiously at you and turacos and trogons nestle. You might also get to see the Black & White Colobus monkeys that live here; these creatures found nowhere else in northern Tanzania. The impressive Ngurdoto Crater is located right in the middle of this forest and a large enclosed swamp area in between the steep cliffs is home to buffalo and warthog. The widest point of the crater has a cross-section measuring 3.6 kilometres.
The alkaline Momela Lakes lie further to the north-east of Arusha National Park, among the grass-covered hills. Every lake has its own tint of blue or green, depending on the algae growing below the waters, variegated with the pink flamingos that visit the lake during their migration. These algae also attract different types of wading birds and this area is also home to waterbuck. You can watch giraffe strolling between the hills as well dik-diks lurking among the bushes. Early in the morning or late in the afternoon are also the best times to spot leopards and spotted hyenas.
The horizon in Aruska National park is dominated by the densely forested Mount Meru (4,566 metres). Those who are willing to climb this mountain will not only be able to enjoy views of a wide variety of plants and animals on the way up, but will also have their hard work rewarded by spectacular views of the snow-covered top of Mount Kilimanjaro, some 50 kilometres further.