With an area of 137 sq. km, Arusha National Park is
one of the smaller and most beautiful National Parks in Tanzania.
Situated only 37 km from Arusha town, the park is very popular
for day trips. Altitudes range from 1500 above sea level at
Momella to 4572 at the summit of Mount Meru.
Mt Kilimanjaro, towering at 5895 m to the east, can be visible
on clear days from many locations in the park. The major attractions
in this tiny park are the Natural Momella Forests, the Momella
Lakes, the Ngurdoto Crater and the Meru Crater with its ash
cone at 1829 meters. Another of the special features of the
park are the many places where visitors can leave their cars
and walk in the fresh air. The most common animals found in
this park are the Abyssinian black and white colobus monkeys,
the Vervet monkeys, the red forest duikers, hippos, elephants,
giraffes, buffaloes, bush-bucks and sometimes the leopard.
More than 400 species of birds have been recorded in the park
including Eurasian migrants, which can be seen between October
and April. Mount Meru can be scaled within 2 nights and three
days, with overnight accommodation in alpine huts on your
way up and down.
Tarangire National Park lies 120 km. south of Arusha,
along The Great North Road highway. Tarangire offers a wide
variety of wildlife in its area of 2,600 sq. km. As in all
ecosystems, the vegetation and the types of animals you find
are closely correlated. The principal features of the park
are the flood plains and the grassland with thinly scattered
acacia and baobabs. The Tarangire River, after which the park
is named, provides the only permanent water for wildlife in
the area. When the Maasai Steppes dry up with the end of the
long rains in June, migratory animals return to the Tarangire
River, making Tarangire second only to Ngorongoro in the concentration
of wildlife. This period stretches between June and November
and it is the best season for game viewing in Tarangire. The
most common animals found in the park include zebras, wildebeest,
lions, leopards, waterbucks, giraffe, elephants, gazelles,
impala, gerenuk, lesser kudu and the beautiful fringe-eared
oryx. You may be lucky to spot the tree-climbing python for
which the park is famous, or the greater kudu and the roan
antelope which are rare species in Northern Tanzania. Over
300 species of birds have been recorded in the Park.
125 km west of Arusha town under the wall of the Great Rift
Valley, Lake Manyara National Park has one of the most spectacular
settings in Africa. The park has three distinct habitats.
The savanna grassland of the Maasai Steppe, which approaches
from the east but is interrupted by the Great Rift Valley,
the ground water natural forest, and the soda lake itself.
The park has a total area of 320 sq. km., about 70% of which
being the lake. Lake Manyara is an ornithologists paradise
containing over 400 bird species including most of the birds
found in East Africas savanna or river habitats. Common
water birds to be seen here are pelicans, spoonbills, Egyptian
geese, hammerkops and the migratory flamingoes which arrive
in hundreds of thousands creating one of Africas great
natural sights over the soda lake. The most famous spectacle
in the park is the tree-climbing lions, which are occasionally
seen along branches of acacia trees. Other animals found in
this area include buffalo, elephants, leopards, baboons, impala,
giraffes and hippos. The altitude of Lake Manyara is about
1,000 metres, and it can be quite hot during midday. Game
drives are therefore best in the morning and late afternoon.
The park is very popular and can be visited throughout the
year, although some roads may be closed during the rainy season
from March to May.
As wide as all the world, great, high and unbelievably
white in the sun was the square top of Mount Kilimanjaro,
wrote Ernest Hemingway of this majestic volcano, rising to
5,895 metres above sea level. Situated near the town of Moshi,
Mount Kilimanjaro rises from the dry plains through
a wide belt of forest and high alpine heath to an almost bare
desert and finally the snow capped peak. The highest point
in Africa, Uhuru Peak in Kiswahili language, means The
Peak of Freedom. The outstanding features of the
Kilimanjaro are the volcanic centres, like the Shira in the
west, Mawenzi in the east and finally the snow capped Kibo
in the west. The ascent of Kilimanjaro can be done from six
routes: Mweka, Umbwe, Shira, Rongai, Machame, and the Marangu
Route which is the easier and the most popular. Depending
on which route one wants to use, the climb of Kilimanjaro
can take between four nights to six nights on the mountain.
On the famous Marangu Route, accommodation is in alpine huts
while on Machame Route it is camping throughout. While expert
guides and porters will accompany you on your climb, unlike
Mount Everest, no technical equipment is required.