Arusha National Park Tanzania
Covering an area of about 552 km2, Arusha National Park is one of the iconic wild places in East Africa. This park encompasses Mount Meru a prominent volcanic cone with a spectacular crater at the top. Mt Meru and the Ngurdoto crater are the most striking features of the park, formed after volcanic eruptions between 1 and 3 million years ago. At 4,566 m, Meru is Tanzania’s second-highest mountain after Kilimanjaro. This spectacular volcanic cone offers one of the most scenic and rewarding mountain climbing safaris in Tanzania, involving a dramatic walk along the knife-edge of the crater rim. If you are in the mood for a good long Tanzania tour on a northern safari circuit, then Arusha National Park is a good place to visit.
The park offers a delightfully diverse range of landscapes in three distinct areas. In the west, the spectacular Meru Crater funnels the Jekukumia River and the peak of Mount Meru lies on its rim. Ngurdoto Crater in the south-east is grassland and in the north-east, lies the beautiful shallow alkaline Momella Lakes with varying algal colours.
Besides these interesting landscapes, travellers on Tanzania wildlife safaris will have an opportunity to see a wide variety of mammals and birds in Arusha. Large mammals to see in the park include elephants, buffalos, giraffes, zebras, hippos and leopards. Primates such as olive baboons, black-and-white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, and blue monkeys also reside in the park. With 400 plus bird species, Arusha Park is a great destination for birding safaris in Tanzania. This wealth of birdlife includes many forest species more easily seen here than elsewhere on the tourist route. Natrina trogon and bar-tailed trogon are both possible highlights for visiting birders. The shallow and alkaline Momella Lakes attract a wide variety of wading birds, including year-round flamingos.
Location of Arusha National Park
Located in north-eastern Tanzania, Arusha National Park is one of the legendary northern tourist game viewing areas, closely located near Arusha town just next to the Kenyan border. The park is easily accessible by road, a 35 km drive from Arusha town. It lies on a 300-kilometre axis of Africa’s most famous national parks, running from Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater in the west to Kilimanjaro National Park in the east. It is also 58 km from Moshi and 35 km from Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).
History of Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park is the second oldest park in Tanzania together with Lake Manyara. It was established in 1960. The history of the park goes back to 1876 when Count Teleki, a Hungarian, visited the Momella area. He commented on the vast number of hippopotamus and black rhinos he had seen. Sadly, the latter is now no longer found in the park. In 1907, the Trappe family moved to Momella to farm, using large areas of the present park as a cattle ranch. The elder Mrs Trappe, the first woman to become a professional hunter in East Africa, voluntarily set aside a large part of the Momella estate for a game sanctuary. When the park was established in 1960, the farm was incorporated into it. In 1960 the then Ngurdoto Crater National Park was established. In 1967, the Mt Meru area also became part of the park. The name of the park was then changed to Arusha National Park. The name Arusha was derived from the local Warusha people who used to live in the area. However, the Park also overlaps into areas where the Masai lived and most of the place names in the Park are of Masai origin.
Tourist Attractions in Arusha National Park Tanzania
1) Animals in Arusha National Park
Arusha Park is quietest amongst the six best destinations that can be visited while on a northern Tanzania wildlife tour. There are a number of animal species to see in this National park. The most frequently sighted species include buffalos, zebras, giraffes, hippos, warthogs, waterbucks, pairs of dik-dik and reedbucks. There are also elephants, red duikers, bush pigs, black-and-white colobuses which are most often sighted near the Ngurdoto Museum. Although you won’t hear the ferocious roar of a lion, other big cats can be sited. Keep an eye open for spotted hyenas, wild cats, and leopards on the slopes of Mt Meru. There are also plenty of monkeys in the park’s montane forest. The entrance gate that leads into a shadowy montane forest is inhabited by inquisitive blue monkeys as well as black-and-white colobus monkeys.
The Ujambo Wa Mbogo which means “buffalo’s glade” in Swahili and located a short distance west of the Momela gate on the northeastern part of the park is a great area to see a lot of animals in Arusha National Park. The marsh, bushes, and streams of this glade serve as a feeding ground for buffalos, giraffes, and warthogs as well as a destination for walking safaris in Tanzania.
The beautiful Momella lakes also attract different animal species. Although animals do not drink from waters of these lakes because of the alkalinity of them, on their banks you can spot zebras, giraffes, waterbucks, dik-diks and duikers.
The Ngurdoto Crater that is sometimes called “Little Ngorongoro” because, just like Ngorongoro, has become, over time, a sort of “reserve in the reserve”. This is shaped like a basin with very steep walls and covered with dense rainforest. It is 3 km wide and 300 meters deep. In its bottom covered with marshy grassland live buffalos, elephants, warthogs, some antelopes, monkeys, baboons, leopards, and spotted hyenas.
Next to Ngurdoto Crater to the East is a small Savannah Area, known affectionately as Little Serengeti or Serengeti Ndogo in Swahili. This is another place in the Arusha National Park where you can see Plains Zebra. Giraffes and buffalo are also often seen here.
Giraffes in Arusha National Park
Twiga, as the giraffe is known in Swahili, is the national animal symbol of Tanzania. They are also known as Olmaaut in the Maa language of the Maasai people. This tallest animal in the world, with a long neck, long legs, and a long sloping back are gregarious mammals that move in herds of up to 20. Giraffe, in particular, provides one of the most spectacular sights to travellers during their Tanzania vacation. These towering creatures can be seen in the Ngurdoto crater. The species occurring in the Arusha is the Maasai giraffe. Since giraffe does not compete for food with grazing animals, and barely overlap browsing zones with other browsers because of the height at which they feed, they are able to share their habitat with a wide range of animals.
Although normally elegant in stature and graceful in movement, Giraffe has difficulty in bringing their heads down to ground level, so when drinking they have to splay their forelegs out sideways in a rather awkward looking position. A mature male giraffe weighs about 1900 kgs and stands at a height of about 16 ft. For all its great length the giraffe’s neck has only seven vertebrae, as in man.
Ancient cultures in Africa revered the giraffe, as some modern cultures do today and commonly depicted it in prehistoric rock and cave paintings. Unknown outside of Africa, this animal so excited man’s curiosity that it was sometimes sent as a diplomatic gift to other countries; one of the earliest records tells of a giraffe going from “Melinda” (presumably Malindi) in Kenya to China in 1415. Giraffe tails were highly prized by the ancient Egyptians and still are in many African cultures. The desire for good-luck bracelets, fly whisks and thread for sewing or stringing beads have led people to kill the giraffe for its tail alone. Giraffes are easily killed and poaching (now more often for their meat and hide) continues today.
The giraffe (as well as its short-necked relative the okapi from Central African forests) has a distinctive walking gait, moving both legs on one side forward at the same time. At a gallop, however, the gait changes, and the giraffe simultaneously swings the hind legs ahead of and outside the front legs, reaching speeds of 35 miles an hour. Its head moves forward with each powerful stride, then swings back to stay balanced.
They browse on a great variety of trees using their prehensile upper lip and their extremely long tongue to grasp the vegetation. They breed at any time but usually at the end of the rains having a gestation period of 15 months and only one offspring per birth.
Giraffes have a highly efficient blood circulation system. Their heartbeat is 150 times/min as compared to an elephant at 25 times. This prevents dizziness when they move their heads up and down on average through 18 feet when drinking water. Bulls fight one another by necking, testing their strength by pushing like human arm wrestlers.
2) Birds in Arusha National Park
Birdlife in Arusha Park is outstanding with more than 400 species recorded. Some of the bird species to look for in the Arusha include the Narina trogons, Bar-tailed trogons, Augur buzzards, Verreaux’s eagles, Flamingoes, Waterfowls, Grey-crowned cranes, Silver Cheeked Hornbills, White-necked Ravens, African Fish Eagles, Mangbettu Sawwings, Southern Carmine Bee-eaters, Egyptian Goose, Spur-winged Goose, Red-billed Teals, Cape Teals, Great Crested Grebes, Hartlaub’s Turacos, Bearded Vultures, Little Grebe, African Olive Pigeons, Peregrine Falcons, Red-fronted Parrots, Scaly Francolins, Southern Pochards, Golden Eagles, Lanner Falcons, Crowned Eagles, Levaillant’s Cuckoos, Jacobin Cuckoos, Yellow-billed Storks, Saddle-billed Storks, African Spoonbills, Black-headed Herons, Black-winged Stilt, African Jacanas, Pied Avocet, Red-billed Oxpeckers, Bronzy Sunbirds, Grey-headed Bushshrikes, White-crested Tilt, African Paradise Flycatchers, White-browed Coucals, Hamerkops and Pelicans
Many forest species more easily seen here than elsewhere on the tourist route. The Narina trogon, bar-tailed trogon, and turacos are the possible highlights of a Tanzania birding safari in Arusha National Park. Raptors including Mountain Buzzards and crowned eagles are common at higher altitudes. Like many in the Rift Valley, the seven spring-fed Momella Lakes are shallow and alkaline and attract a wide variety of wading birds, including year-round flamingos. Also commonly seen here is the majestic fish eagle which resembles a bald eagle, and whose lonely cry will often be heard echoing above the montane forest.
Birdlife varies quite distinctly from one lake to another, even when they’re only separated by a narrow strip of land. Watch for raptors such as the Augur Buzzard and Verreaux’s eagle soaring on the thermals above Ngurdoto. The park’s bird population increases dramatically when migratory birds arrive around November; they usually stay until April.
Flamingoes on Momella lakes
Among the stunning sights in Arusha National Park is a view of the great masses of pink-hued flamingos that often congregate together – feeding on the garden of blue-green algae that flourish in the different shallows. Posing in large numbers on their tall stilts of legs with their pink plumage reflecting in the still water, the first sight of these colourful birds is really quite remarkable.
The specialized diet of flamingos limits their distribution to alkaline or saline lakes where blue-green algae prosper. This unique habitat includes a series of lakes and water pans along the Great Rift Valley that were formed similarly to Momella lakes.
Flamingos communicate with a wide range of visual displays and are very vocal birds as well. When they congregate in great numbers, as they often do here in Momella Lakes, the air is heavy with their noises, which range from a brash nasal honking to a loud grunting even growling.
These statuesque birds have excellent hearing and sight, including well-developed colour perception; however, their sense of smell is quite poor. Since flamingos have long legs, they can wade into much deeper water than most birds and their webbed feet help support them on soft mud. Flamingos have an endearing habit of standing on one leg. The reason why they do this is that curling a leg under the body keeps the foot warm and conserves body heat; flamingos practice this habit in both cool and warm environments.
Before taking flight, a flamingo must run several steps before it lifts into the air, great wings outspread to catch the lifting undercurrents. They fly with their bodies completely extended – neck and head outstretched in front of their body with legs trailing horizontally behind. It is interesting to note that the flight speed of a flock of flamingos can reach up to 60 kph (37mph) and groups of these birds have been known to fly up to 600 km (373 mi) each night between stops for food.
3) Mount Meru in Arusha National Park
Situated east of the Great Rift Valley, Mt Meru is arguably the most striking landmark of Arusha National Park. Meru which locally translates as “that which does not make a noise”, is indeed a dormant stratovolcano formed after volcanic eruptions between 1 and 3 million years ago. This somber mountain, known by the Maasai as Ol Doinyo Orok, meaning the “black mountain”, dominates Arusha town, the national park and surrounding countryside by towering over them.
The legend goes that this mountain used to be the tallest in Africa, dwarfing the nearby Mount Kilimanjaro, however, a volcanic eruption broke the top off millennia ago reducing both its height and status. At a height of 4,566 meters, today mountain Meru is the fifth highest mountain in Africa and second in Tanzania after Mt Kilimanjaro.
Mt Meru starts its steep rise from a circular base some 20km across at 2000 m. At about 2500m some of the wall has broken away, so the top half of the mountain is shaped like a giant horseshoe. The cliffs of the inner wall below the summit are more than 1500m high, making them among the tallest in Africa. Inside the crater, more recent volcanic eruptions have created a subsidiary peak called the Ash Cone that adds to the scenic splendour.
Although Kilimanjaro is the most famous destination for mountain climbing safaris in Tanzania, Meru is a spectacular volcanic cone with one of East Africa’s most scenic and rewarding climbs, involving a dramatic walk along the knife-edge of the crater rim. Its fertile slopes rise above the surrounding savannah and support a forest that hosts diverse wildlife including birds, primates and leopards.
The history of mount Meru has been quite explosive. It has had four eruptions, the last of which occurred in 1910. Lava erupted from Meru varies from thin flows to thick intrusive domes. The first European to record a sighting of Meru was the German explorer, Karl von der Decken, who reached this area in 1862. The mountain was later seen and described by other explorers, including Gustav Fischer in 1882, and Joseph Thompson the following year. In 1887, the Austro-Hungarian Count Samuel Teleki and members of his team penetrated the dense forest on the lower slopes and reached a point where the trees thinned out enough for them to see Kilimanjaro, which they planned to climb later in their expedition. The first ascent to the summit of Meru is credited to either Carl Uhlig in 1901 or Fritz Jaeger in 1904.
4) Momela Lake in Arusha National Park
The Momela lakes or Momella lakes in the northeast of the park are among the major highlight of a Tanzania trip to Arusha National Park. These seven spectacular alkaline lakes are great sites for Tanzania birding tours with a variety of aquatic birds both residents, and migrants such as the greater pink flamingos, the lesser pink flamingos, pelicans, Egyptian geese, guinea fowls, African fish eagles, African jacanas, and many others.
Momela lakes were formed from the volcanic debris created when a huge explosion blew away the top of mount Meru about 250,000 years ago causing a massive landslide. The shallow waters of these lakes come from underground sources; on their bottom and they grow many algae that many water birds that live on their shores feed on. As the lakes are alkaline, animals do not drink from their waters,but you can spot zebras and birds on their banks.
The seven lakes are Big Momela, Small Momela, El Kekhotoito, Kusare, Rishateni, Lekandiro, and Tulusia. Each lake has a source of spring water separated from the others and also has a different colour ranging from green to turquoise. The reason for these different colours depends on different minerals contained in the individual lakes. In fact, even if they are not far one from the others, each of these lakes has a particular composition of minerals, that makes them all different from one another. There are also different algae that grow there, as well as responsible for the different colours. Each lake, precisely as a result of its specific composition of minerals and algae, attracts different birds from the others.
A picnic site that is situated atop a small hill, a short distance west of the Momella lakes is one of the few places inside Arusha national park where you could get spectacular views of the Momella lakes far below, as well as mount Meru and Ngurudoto crater.
5) The Ngurdoto Crater and the Small Serengeti
The Ngurdoto crater is one of five beautiful volcanic calderas located inside the northern Tanzania region of Arusha, along with Ngorongoro, Empakaai, Maasai and Olmoti where visitors will see a wide variety of mammals and bird species during a Tanzania wildlife safari. The crater is on an extinct volcano that is sometimes called “Little Ngorongoro” because, just like Ngorongoro, it has become, over time, a sort of “reserve in the reserve”. With an approximate depth of 300 meters and a diameter of 3.2 km, it is more like a miniature Ngorongoro; However, the floor of Ngurudoto is softer and otherwise unsuitable for driving on, leaving walking safaris as the only way of exploring it.
The crater is shaped like a basin with very steep walls and covered with dense rainforest. In its bottom covered with marshy grassland live buffalos, elephants, warthogs, some antelopes, monkeys, baboons, leopards, and spotted hyenas; there are also many species of birds such as the head hammer, the spur-winged goose and herons. With a little luck, you can even spot the timid and shy red duiker or travelator striatum or the kirk dik-diks. There are also many birds inhabiting this forest, such as the silver cheeks hornbill, bee-eaters and turacos.
You cannot descend into the crater because one wants to preserve and protect its ecosystem; but you can walk along a circular route on the crater rim, where you can meet different observation points. On the Northern edge, there is the lookout with the best views. From this elevated position you can see all over the park below and, on clear days, you can admire the Kilimanjaro.
The road that you must travel by 4×4 safari vehicles to reach the edge of the caldera is surrounded by dense rainforest. Here there is a higher possibility of the whole of Tanzania to spot, only on the trees, the rare white and black colobus who are often one of the reasons why some travellers decide to visit the Arusha National Park.
Next to Ngurdoto Crater to the East is a small Savannah Area, known affectionately as Serengeti Ndogo or Little Serengeti. This is another place in the Arusha National Park where you can see Plains Zebra. Giraffes and buffalo are also often seen here.
6) Uwanja Wa Mbogo in Arusha National Park
The Ujambo Wa Mbogo which means “buffalo’s glade” in Swahili is located a short distance west of the Momela gate in the northeastern part of the park. It is also on the foothills of Mount Meru and is one of the first attractions that hikers to its summit get to see – provided they began hiking at the gate. A large natural glade consisting of marsh, bushes, and streams and serves as a feeding ground for buffalos, giraffes, and warthogs as well as a destination for walking safaris. The walking safaris that go through this field include the treks up mount Meru and hikes to nearby Tululusia waterfalls.
One of the amazing things about the glades is how the buffalos and warthogs coexist, each depending on the other to ensure survival. The Warthogs use the buffalo biomass to ward off some of its natural enemies, in return they use their good eyesight to warn the buffalos of an impending enemy threat by running while holding their tails up in the air – a phenomenon that can be observed as one walks towards the glade.
Security is not the only reason that buffalos and warthogs coexist on this field, as the buffalos tend to feed on long grass – making it shorter and more accessible to warthogs who are adapted to feeding while resting on their knees. There is yet to be a scientific reason behind this posture. Hike to the place and take a picture with the animals in the background OR take a picture of the animals themselves – nothing says you’ve been to the wild more than this.
There also are several plant species in the same field that you could find including flowers such as jasmine, the fig tree, and the famous acacia that giraffes love to feed on.
7) Fig Tree Arch in Arusha National Park
This is a fig tree (Ficus thonningii) whose roots have grown to take the shape of an arch, large enough for a car (elephant size) to pass underneath. It was formed when seeds of the parasitic tree were dropped by foraging birds in the form of a host tree, allowing germination to take place and the tree’s roots to slowly reach the ground thereby strangling its host.
What to do there it’s a good photo point, with many opting to have one taken while standing under it or with their head popped out of the roof of a safari vehicle that is parked under it. The whole architecture of the whole thing is also truly amazing, especially if you have never seen a fig tree before – some of which can be seen on the hike to Tululusia waterfalls and at the waterfall itself.
Tanzania Safari Activities in Arusha National Park Tanzania
1) Game drives in Arusha National Park
For a classic Tanzania safari experience, the tracks through Serengeti Ndogo (Little Serengeti) a small patch of open grassland that almost, just north of the Ngongongare gate offer virtually guaranteed zebras, giraffes, and other plains animals sightings. Here the road divides Outer road, to the west, has great Meru views, but the eastern park road is the better route for wildlife. Both are good all-year roads passable in 2WD safari cars, as are most other tracks through the park. Park road leads past the road up Ngurdoto Crater and then to Momella Lakes, both beautiful attractions as well as good wildlife-spotting areas
Every visitor will pay 45 USD dollars for a game drive. Gamed drives normally last for 4 hours to explore the park using frequently used routes.
The park’s altitude varies from 1400m to more than 4500m, and there’s a variety of vegetation zones, but most of the park is forested (watch for blue monkeys) and the dense vegetation reduces visibility. Nevertheless, you can be fairly certain of sighting zebras, giraffes, waterbucks, bushbucks, klipspringers, dik-diks, buffaloes, and hippos. There are also elephants, red duikers, black-and-white colobuses (most often sighted near the Ngurdoto Museum) and rarely seen leopards. There are no lions or rhinos.
2) Mountain Meru climbing in Arusha National Park
At 4566m, Mt Meru is Tanzania’s second-highest mountain. This Tanzania adventure safari destination is always overshadowed by Kilimanjaro in eyes of trekkers. However, it is a spectacular volcanic cone with one of East Africa’s most scenic and rewarding climbs, involving a dramatic walk along the knife-edge of the crater rim. Mt Meru starts its steep rise from a circular base some 20km across at 2000m. At about 2500m some of the walls have broken away, so the top half of the mountain is shaped like a giant horseshoe. The cliffs of the inner wall below the summit are more than 1500m high, making them among the tallest in Africa. Inside the crater, more recent volcanic eruptions have created a subsidiary peak called the Ash Cone that adds to the scenic splendour.
Costs of climbing Mt Meru
Trekking companies in both Arusha and Moshi organize Tanzania mountain climbing tours on Mt Meru. Most charges from US$450 to US$800 for four days. That said, you can do things quite easily on your own for around US$400 for a four-day, three-night trek. You’ll also need to add in the costs of food (which you should get in Arusha, as there’s nowhere to stock up near the park), and of transport to and from the park.
The following are the minimum per-person costs:
- park entrance fee US$53.10
- hut fees per day US$35.40
- rescue fee per day US$23.60
- guide fees per trip US$17.70 per day
Tipping Park rangers receive a fixed monthly salary for their work and get no additional payment from the park for guiding, which means that tips are much appreciated. It happens rarely, but rangers and porters here occasionally expect the big tips demanded by their Kilimanjaro counterparts. If this happens and you’re already on the trail, work out an arrangement to keep going, and then report them to headquarters when you get down the mountain.
For Birdlife guide who has completed the full trek with you, plan on a tip of about US$50 per group. Cook and porter tips should be around US$30 and US$20 respectively. Tip more with top-end companies.
Guides and porters; a ranger-guided mountain hiking safaris in Tanzania’s Arusha National park is mandatory and can be arranged at the Momella gate. Unlike on Kilimanjaro, guides on Meru are regular park rangers whose purpose is to assist (and protect) you in case you meet some of the park’s buffaloes or elephants, rather than to show you the way, although they do know the route. Optional porters are also available at the Momella gate. The charge is US$10 per porter per day and this is paid directly to them at the end of the trek. They come from one of the nearby villages and are not park employees, so you’ll also need to pay their park-entrance (Tsh1500 per day) and hut (Tsh2000 per night) fees at Momella gate before starting to trek. Porters will carry rucksacks weighing up to 20kg (excluding their own food and clothing).
Accommodation There are two blocks of four-bed bunkhouses (‘huts’) spaced for a four-day trek. Especially during the July–August, and December–January high seasons, they’re often full, so book ahead. It’s also a good idea to carry a tent (though if you camp, you’ll still need to pay hut fees). Each bunkhouse has a cooking and eating area; bring your own stove and fuel.
The Momella route is the only route up Mt Meru. It starts at the Momella gate on the eastern side of the mountain and goes to the summit along the northern arm of the horseshoe crater. The route can be done comfortably in four days (three nights). Trekkers aren’t allowed to begin after 3 pm, which means that if you travel to the park by bus you’ll almost certainly have to camp and wait until the next day to start climbing.
While Meru is small compared to Kilimanjaro, don’t underestimate it: because of the steepness, many have found that Meru is almost as difficult a climb. And it’s still high enough for you to feel the effects of altitude, so don’t try to rush up if you’re not properly acclimatized.
Stage 1: Momella gate to Miriakamba Hut (10km, four to five hours, 1000m ascent) There are two routes, one long and one short, at the start of the climb. Most people prefer taking the mostly forested long route up and the short route down, so that’s how the trek is described here.
From Momella gate, the road winds uphill for an hour to Fig Tree Arch, a parasitic wild fig that originally grew around two other trees, eventually strangling them. Now only the fig tree remains, with its distinctive arch large enough to drive a car through. After another hour the track crosses a large stream, just above Maio Falls, and one hour further you’ll reach Kitoto Camp, with excellent views over the Momella Lakes and out to Kilimanjaro in the distance. It’s then one final hour to Miriakamba Hut (2514m). From Miriakamba you can walk to the Meru Crater floor (a two- to three-hour return trip) either in the afternoon of Stage 1 or during Stage 4 (there is time to do it on the morning of Stage 2, but this is a bad idea as it reduces your time for acclimatization), but you need to let your guide know you want to do this before starting the climb. The path across the floor leads to Njeku Viewpoint on a high cliff overlooking a waterfall, with excellent views of the Ash Cone and the entire extent of the crater.
Stage 2: Miriakamba Hut to Saddle Hut (4km, three to five hours, 1250m ascent) From Miriakamba the path climbs steeply up through pleasant glades to reach Topeka Mbogo (Buffalo Swamp) after 45 minutes and Mgongo Wa Tembo (Elephant Ridge) after another 30 minutes. From the top of Mgongo Wa Tembo, there are great views down into the crater and up to the main cliffs below the summit. Continue through some open grassy clearings and over several stream beds (usually dry) to Saddle Hut (3570m).
From Saddle Hut a side trip to the summit of Little Meru (3820m) takes about an hour and gives impressive views of Meru’s summit, the horseshoe crater, the top of the Ash Cone and the sheer cliffs of the crater’s inner wall. As the sun sets behind Meru, casting huge jagged shadows across the clouds, the snows on Kili turn orange and then pink as the light fades.
Stage 3: Saddle Hut to Meru Summit and return (5km, four to five hours, 816m ascent, plus 5km, two to three hours, 816m descent) This stage, along a very narrow ridge between the outer slopes of the mountain and the sheer cliffs of the inner crater, promises some of the most dramatic and exhilarating trekking anywhere in East Africa. During the rainy season, ice and snow can occur on this section of the route, so take care. If there’s no mist, the views from the summit are spectacular.
If you’re looking forward to watching the sunrise behind Kilimanjaro, but you’re not keen on attempting this section in the dark, the views at dawn are just as impressive from Rhino Point (3814m), about an hour from Saddle Hut, as they are from the summit, perhaps even more so because you’ll also see the main cliffs of the crater’s inner wall being illuminated by the rising sun.
Stage 4: Saddle Hut to Momella gate (5km, three to five hours, 2250m descent) From Saddle Hut, retrace the Stage 2 route to Miriakamba. From Miriakamba, the short path descends gradually down the ridge directly to the Momella gate. It goes through the forest some of the ways, then open grassland, where giraffes and zebras are often seen.
Mount Meru is located in the heart of Arusha National Park which offers four-day hiking to the top of the mountain plus enjoying picnic sites and forest walks full of wildlife encounters such as elephants, leopards, buffaloes, baboons on the lower slopes of the mountain. This massive volcanic mountain is at a high altitude of 4,565 meters above sea level. Climbers must be reasonably fit to undertake the activity. Through the changing vegetation zones right from the rain forests, the moorlands to the alpine and desert-like top of the mountain give a soothing hiking experience on Tanzanian second tallest mountain range. On top tourists will be mesmerized by the stunning views of the horse-shoe shaped crater lake and the steep ridges offers a great photographic opportunity for hikers.
The best time to climb the mountain is between December – February, and June when the skies are much clear and you might see the far Kilimanjaro mountain. There are designated huts along the hiking trails where visitors stay for overnights during their massive climbing journey.
Not forgetting the packing hiking gears that will support you throughout the hike including solid hiking boots, warm clothing, walking sticks, binoculars, cameras, good sleeping bags, first aid kit which has things like insect repellents, bandages. Packed food and adequate drinking water is recommended to keep you hydrated.
4) Walking Safaris in Arusha National Park
There aren’t many places where it’s possible for visitors to explore the game-rich wilderness on foot. The Ujambo Wa Mbogo (buffalo glade) is one of the perfect areas where visitors will do walking safaris during their tours in Tanzania. This area of marsh, bushes, and streams serves as a feeding ground for buffalos, giraffes, and warthogs. Walking safaris (US$25 per person per half-day) are popular. Also, several trails pass below Mt Meru and another follows the Ngurdoto Crater rim trail (descending into the crater is not permitted). The walk to Njeku Viewpoint in the Meru Crater floor, which follows Stage 1of the climb up Mt Meru, is an excellent day hike.
5) Canoeing in Arusha National Park
While most people experience a safari in an open-roofed truck, a scenic canoe safari is a great way to experience the beauty of Tanzania. Momella Lake, in the heart of Arusha, offers the perfect opportunities for a canoe safari in Tanzania and to witness animals in their natural environment without disturbing them. It is an activity that should not be overlooked when in Arusha.
Wayo Africa offers 2½-hour Momella Lakes canoe safaris (US$60 per person plus a US$20 canoeing fee paid at the park gate) in the morning and afternoon.
During your canoe safaris, you will be able to see Buffalo, Bushbucks, Giraffes, and many hippos plus a variety of water birds and other species such as giant kingfishers, cattle egrets, and storks. Safaris on canoe usually commence early morning at 07:30 am or in the evening at 16:00 hours and it can last from 2 to 2 ½ hours at a cost of $ 65 per person.
6) Birding in Arusha National Park
Birders who make it to Arusha will be rewarded with a checklist of 400 species of birds. Like many in the Rift Valley, the seven spring-fed alkaline Momella Lakes provide excellent Tanzania bird-watching safaris in the park as they attract a variety of wading birds, including year-round flamingos. Due to their varying mineral content, each lake supports a different type of algal growth, which gives them different colors. Birdlife varies quite distinctly from one lake to another, even when they’re only separated by a narrow strip of land. Arusha National Park offers a good raptor viewing especially at the higher elevation. Also, watch for raptors such as the Augur Buzzard and Verreaux’s eagle soaring on the thermals above Ngurdoto. The park’s bird population increases dramatically when migratory birds arrive around November; they usually stay until April. In the forests, highlights include turacos and trogons.
7) Horseback Riding in Arusha National Park
A Horseback safari is a unique way of exploring the beauty of Arusha National Park during a Tanzania holiday. Travellers can explore the typical African bush just on a horseback rather than a safari vehicle. The ride may take 5-7 hours passing through hidden trails with large herds of big five mammals passing by the trails but on a relatively safe distance. The distance covers the savannahs between mount Meru and Kilimanjaro which is an unforgettable experience in Arusha national park. While on a horseback you will get a chance to follow the spectacular wildebeest migration.
Tanzania Safari Accommodation in Arusha National Park
1) Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge-Luxury
Nestled between Mt Meru and Mt Kilimanjaro, Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge is located within a lush coffee plantation, 140 acres, with natural streams flowing through the property, from Mt Meru. The lush vegetation and the magnificent views of the snowcapped Mt Kilimanjaro and the looming Mt Meru, right in front of the lodge, is an absolutely awesome sight. This lodge is ideally located between Arusha town and Kilimanjaro International Airport, 27 km either way.
On arrival, the guests will be inspired by the grandiose architecture blending in with the lush vegetation of the surrounding area, tastefully furnished reception areas, heartwarming welcome smiles to meet you and inimitable warm Tanzanian hospitality.
There are twin reception areas to accommodate simultaneous check-in for both individuals and groups. Water gushing under the floorboards, coming down from Mt Meru, gives them a very unique charm.
Accommodation at Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge;
The lodge has 139 rooms including 30 chalets with 60 rooms, 72 rooms in the main building, 7 presidential suites.
Accommodating up to 350 guests, all rooms have spacious en suite bathrooms, telephones and most of them have Jacuzzis. The luxury rooms comprise of spacious beds, with some rooms having a magnificent view of both Mt Meru and Mt Kilimanjaro. All the rooms have mini bars, satellite TVs, tea/coffee making facilities, safe deposit lockers. Some rooms can comfortably accommodate disabled guests and are close to the reception and public areas.
Facilities and services at Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge;
- Kilimanjaro Restaurant; situated on the ground floor this airy and spacious restaurant with large glass windows has an uninterrupted view of both Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru, and the blue azure waters of the swimming pool.
- Cane Restaurant; this restaurant located on the second floor has a magnificent view of both the mountains as well, and the lush vegetation as a backdrop giving it a picturesque effect.
- BBQ Ranch; this restaurant is outdoors and offers different grilled meats.
- Rafiki Corner; A little coffee shop where one can have a tantalizing freshly brewed coffee, or long cold drink and snacks
- The business center; is with the internet cafe and offers secretarial facilities.
- Health club and fully equipped gym
- 2 tennis courts and a Badminton court
- Swimming pool
- Toddlers pool
- Children’s play area,
- Indoor board games.
2)The Africa Tulip-Luxury
The Africa Tulip is an elegant and charming Luxury Boutique Hotel located along Serengeti Road right in the heart of Arusha. A warm and friendly welcome awaits guests who want to experience the best of Tanzanian hospitality. The hotel has been designed with safari travellers, business persons, families, honeymooners, elite and leisure travellers in mind. It has amenities of convenience whilst offering a high standard of luxury.
Accommodation at the Africa Tulip comprise;
29 outstanding rooms over 3 floors accessed by a beautiful staircase inlaid with coconut wood. The room designs reflect the warmth and expanse of the majestic natural wonders surrounding the safari capital of Arusha. It is therefore appropriate that these rooms are both extremely spacious but also inviting. A safari theme runs through every room although the design of each is unique. A common thread, however, is the use of colourful local fabrics, finely produced craftwork, and contemporary Tanzanian art. Comfort is assured with the best British-made mattresses, fine bedding, and luxurious bathrooms. You will also find all the modern amenities expected from an urban boutique hotel. These include wide-screen Philips televisions, laptop-sized safes, air-conditioning, the latest door entry systems, and high-speed Wi-Fi. Room service, a telephone, and hairdryer are standard in all rooms.
The hotel has 9 suites that are stunningly decorated with a Safari-theme and are generously sized. Bathrooms are finished to the highest specification and each room has a mini-bar. Many rooms have pleasant views of the locality and some have balconies with seating. The Family suite has two separate bedrooms with bathrooms and a large, communal lounge area.
The stylish and spacious honeymoon suite is beautifully decorated and is the perfect place to end a memorable day. The hotel honeymoon package includes a chilled bottle of sparkling wine, a delicious platter of tropical fruits plus a beautiful arrangement of fresh flowers. Please contact our team for further information.
The hotel has 20 deluxe rooms all decorated with a Safari-theme although the interior of each room is unique. There is a comfortable seating area and a desk in each room. The deluxe rooms are decorated to the highest standards and have all the features listed above.
Facilities and services at the Africa Tulip include;
Restaurant; offers a range of cuisine in a stunning setting. The restaurant’s colour scheme reflects the warm, red tone of the nation’s soil. A water feature creates a sense of relaxation and our attentive staff will ensure you receive friendly but also efficient service. The ‘Fusions of the East’ menu has a range of South Indian cuisine while our Continental menu contains a range of tempting dishes. Finally, for an authentic taste of Tanzania, try ‘The African Pot’ for a fabulous choice of local dishes. An All-day menu is also available at the poolside or in our garden. The lodge also offers a range of enticing vegetarian dishes for our guests.
Bar and Pool; Visit the pool to swim or just relax beside the water. Changing facilities are available. The Bar at the poolside has a wide-screen TV, serves a range of drinks and has snacks available during the day.
Lounge; The Lounge, with its intricately carved panels and traditional furniture, transports you to the exotic streets of Stone Town. The bar’s sophisticated but relaxing feel is designed to appeal to the safari tourist, Tanzanian locals, and ex-patriot residents. The Zanzibar Lounge Bar Menu includes a range of snacks and freshly-made cake for afternoon tea.
Conference Centre and Business Centre; the conference room can seat up to 35 people in a ‘theatre-style’ arrangement. It has all standard facilities, a breakout room, natural daylight, and air-conditioning. the experienced staff can provide tailored catering facilities and any other requirements to make your event a success. Our Business Centre is equipped with a range of office technology. This includes PCs with high-speed internet, printers, a photocopier, and other services upon request.
3) Arusha Serena Hotel, Resort & Spa-Luxury
Arusha Serena Hotel, Resort & Spa is unlike any other hotel in Tanzania with authentic, bespoke experiences that stir the traveller’s soul while showcasing the breathtaking tranquillity of our surroundings. Set among the woodland slopes of Mount Meru at the edge of Lake Duluti, there’s no better destination for soaking in the beauty and magnificence of the Tanzanian “Northern Safari Circuit.”
The ambience of our Arusha hotel is warmly reminiscent of our origins as a colonial-era coffee farm, beginning with the welcoming stone-built reception area and extending to cottage-style rooms neatly arranged among landscaped lawns and the colourful banks of Bougainvillea. Traces of our heritage present themselves in elegant, country-manor interiors featuring unique artefacts, leaded windows and French doors opening to extensive lake view gardens. Social areas within our Arusha hotel include a library, a lounge and a restaurant offering an enchanting wood fireplace and lake and garden views.
Share in tailor-made experiences thoughtfully designed to enrich your visit. Allow your hosts to arrange an English breakfast on the Lake Duluti shoreline. Hike to the summit of Mount Meru, Africa’s fifth highest mountain or explore the crater lakes of Arusha National Park. In the evening, relax in a safari chair and sip delicious sundowner cocktails by the lake as the sun sinks into the horizon.
Accommodation at Arusha Serena Hotel, Resort & Spa comprise;
42 guest rooms each meticulously crafted with an inspiration of the heritage and natural splendour, welcoming guests to experience the simplicity of a 1920s lakeside retreat. Designed in the manner of a stone cottage, all accommodations are clustered around a village square adorned with beautifully tended lawns and extensive gardens. In warm hues of red and crisp shades of white, rooms feature classic country house design touches like tile floors, leaded windows and French doors giving way to garden and lake views.
Modern amenities like complimentary Internet and flat-screen televisions with cable and satellite channels along with personalized touches like ceiling fans and comfortable robes enhance the guest experience.
The Standard Room welcomes in the beauty of the surroundings with glorious views of Lake Duluti or the hotel’s extensive gardens. Enjoy the warmth and elegance of these rooms well-appointed with exquisite details such as a marble bathroom, large and comfortable beds and French doors leading out to the lakeside gardens.
- One King or two double beds
- Complimentary wireless Internet
- Private balcony with lake or garden views
- Coffee/tea making station
- Bathrobe and slippers
- 24-hour room service
- Flat-screen TV with cable and satellite channels
- A work desk and chair
Facilities and services at Arusha Serena Hotel, Resort & Spa comprise;
Restaurant& Bar: Enjoy one of Arusha’s most enchanting dining experiences in the resort’s atmospheric restaurant. Situated in the traditionally stone-built central reception area, the elegant yet relaxed space enhances each meal with an enchanting fireplace and lake and garden views. Experience vibrant specialities that reflect Tanzanian culture and cooking styles, diverse international dishes to suit every palate and extensive beer, wine and cocktail lists encompassing the finest local and international selections.
Breakfast and lunch are presented buffet-style and feature a wide range of international choices. In typical safari style, we offer a full English breakfast as well as European options while our lunch menus will typically include meat, poultry, fish and vegetarian options.
The table d’hôte dinner menus offer a salad buffet, soup, entrée, pudding, cheese and biscuits, and tea or coffee. Vegetarian options are always available. The majority of our meat and dairy products, as well as our fruits and vegetables, are sourced from the communities that surround the reserve.
The Lakeside Breakfast: For an authentic safari experience, why not take breakfast on the shores of beautiful Lake Duluti, a tranquil crater lake surrounded by forests. Just a short stroll from the lodge, you will find your own safari chairs, table and a full team of chefs ready to prepare a full English breakfast just for you.
Sundowners by the Lake: An essential part of traditional safari life, gathering for drinks while watching the sun go down dates back to the time of the great safaris of the 1920s, all of which featured the serving of elegant ‘bush’ cocktails against the unforgettable backdrop of the African sunset. Timed to commence as the sun starts its descent, which on the Equator is usually around 6:00 p.m., the Arusha Serena Hotel, Resort & Spa sundowner begins with a gentle stroll to the tranquil shores of Lake Duluti, where chairs, lamps, a campfire and a bush bar with cocktail snacks will already have been set up. Musical entertainment can also be provided.
- Laundry and shoe-shine
- Elegant dining room, library and garden terraces
- Extensive flower gardens and lawns
- Guided walks, canoeing or mountain biking
- Tented conference room
- Wedding planning and honeymoon venue
- Gift shop, business centre, Wi-Fi
- An extensive selection of sports and activities
- Cultural dance and music
4) Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge-Midrange
Set in lush gardens amid forest and crystal clear waters on the slopes of Mount Meru, Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge is a wonderful place to relax and simmer in the immense beauty of East Africa. The Lodge has been adapted from an early colonial farmhouse built in the early 20th century and it is one of the oldest family lodges in Arusha.
Ngare Sero has been providing personal service for its residents since 1974. Here you can spend the days amid nature, watching the changing colours of the Kilimanjaro glaciers while sipping drinks on the verandah or hiking in the forest inhabited by colobus and Sykes monkeys as well as hundreds of small animal and bird species. The Lodge is located only 30 minutes (20 km) away from Kilimanjaro International Airport and Arusha town center and it is a perfect base while on safari in northern Tanzania.
Accommodation at Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge include;
10 Garden Rooms, 2 Main House Suites and a Farm Cottage with 3 bedrooms.
The Main house of the lodge was built in 1905, and it still retains many of the original features. Long colonial verandas stretch along the front of the house. On the long-armed chairs, you can watch the lake, monkeys, forest. When the clouds clear up you can sit and admire the grandeur of Mount Kilimanjaro.
We have a bar next to the reception as wells as a fireplace in the living room. Furnished with stone benches and leather cushions, it is decorated with antiques commemorating Tanzania’s German colonial past. All meals can be served in three locations. A dining room with an outside veranda, a tentacle dining area or a romantic lake pavilion.
Main House Rooms
The Main House rooms are located on the first floor of the manor of Ngare Sero. Each room is equipped with a king-size double bed, a separate lounge area with large ottoman sofas that can be turned into single beds, and a spacious bath – and dressing room with bathtub. The generous veranda invites to lounge and enjoys spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro.
A recent addition to Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge is the Summit Suite created within the roof space of the 1905 farmhouse. The heavy olive wood structure of the original thatched roof has been adapted to contain this double suite of 160 square meters with a spacious living room and two self-contained bedrooms all with fitted carpet.
Seating at the East dormer window has spectacular views onto Mount Kilimanjaro, the forest reserve and lake. The living and dining area is furnished with antiques and oriental carpet. Each suite has a king-size bed and an Ottoman bed and dressing alcove. The bathrooms have a bath-with-a-view and walk-in shower.
10 Garden rooms are nested in the tranquil gardens with the beautiful views of bougainvillea and jacaranda from private verandahs. 8 rooms offer king-size Zanzibar beds and 2 others are furnished with twin beds. Interiors are individually decorated with ethnic fabrics and handmade furniture like study tables and the ottoman sofas that on request can be used as a third single bed. Each room has an en-suite toilet, a bathtub, and a dressing room.
The Farm Cottage was built in the 50s, as a farm manager’s home and is now a private villa. Situated behind the garden rooms it is a three-minute walk away from the main house.
The main cottage is equipped with a state of the art kitchen, a living, and a dining room, as well as a beautiful porch and balcony with a view of both Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro. With its two bedrooms, it can sleep 5 people. The ensuite bathroom of the master bedroom provides a spacious shower, whereas the second bathroom has a bathtub.
In addition to the main cottage, there is a guest house that has a bedroom with two single beds, en-suite bathroom with a shower and a small living room. The lush tropical garden offers space and privacy which is perfect for a family with children.
Facilities and services at Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge include;
Restaurant & Bar: Delicious home-cooked meals of hearty soups freshly caught trout with homemade bread, pastry, local cheese and bundles of fresh herbs and salads. The ultimate comfort food. The vegetables and herbs are picked daily from the organic garden. Contact the lodge in advance to book a dinner or a sunset drink. Aside from a notable beverage collection our Bar offers a healthy juice list.
Garden Spa: After long hours spent in the car or plane enjoy any of the relaxing massages. The lodge uses natural body oils and provides you with with the luxury of a massage amid lush gardens of heliconia and bougainvillaea. Massage is given by appointment only and an advance reservation is required. Notify the reception to arrange any of the following:
A crafts boutique: supporting local artisans – carvers, jewellery-makers, and tailors, which aims to promote recycling and introduce new skills into the community. It also represents eco-friendly and responsible businesses all over Tanzania.
A fireplace in the living room.
5) Momella Wildlife Lodge-Midrange
Momella Wildlife Lodge is located in Arusha, 31 km from the Museum and Masái Cultural Town of Olpopongi. The ancient German Boma is 42 km from the Momella Wildlife Lodge.
Accommodation at Momella Wildlife Lodge include
30 rooms each with a shower and complimentary toiletries.
Deluxe Double Room with Bath; this double room has a cable TV and dining area.
- Shower or bathtub
- Private bathroom
- Cable channels
- Dining area
- Garden view
- Mountain view
- Outdoor furniture
- Clothes rack
Single Room with Bath;
- Bathtub or shower
- Clothes rack
Facilities and services at Momella Wildlife Lodge;
- Pool and Spa; Swimming Pool, Outdoor Pool (seasonal)
- BBQ facilities (additional charge), Terrace, Garden
- Internet; WiFi is available in public areas and costs USD 2 per 24 hours.
- Parking; Free private parking is available onsite (reservation is not needed)
- Cleaning Services; Suit press (additional charge), Ironing service (additional charge), Dry cleaning (additional charge), Laundry (additional charge)
- Business Facilities; Meeting/Banquet Facilities (additional charge)
- Shared lounge/TV area
6) Mount Meru Game Lodge-Midrange
Set in beautiful and tranquil surroundings, the Mount Meru Game Lodge is nestled between the Usa river and the wildlife sanctuary. The sanctuary is home to zebra, ostrich, a wide array of birds and monkeys, including the elusive Colobus monkey. Conveniently located 25 minutes from Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), our lodge is an ideal base for your travels.
The lodge & sanctuary was established by Dr. von Nagy in 1959 and remains in family hands till today. The lodge has grown in popularity over the years, and our visitors have included numerous presidents as well as members of European Royal families. We look forward to offering you a memorable experience during your stay in Arusha.
The Mount Meru Game Lodge is equidistant from the city of Arusha and Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) – each an easy 30-minute drive on good roads. KIA, the closest international airport, is serviced daily by KLM flights, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Air and a number of African airlines.
Arusha holds the door to numerous world-famous national parks and mountains, including the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Mount Kilimanjaro, and Mount Meru. The lodge provides an excellent staging point for those interested in visiting the parks or climbing the mountains.
Accommodation at Mount Meru Game Lodge;
The rooms have been built over the last 50 years. The oldest room was built in 1961, it is one of the oldest hotel rooms in Tanzania. We try to keep the rooms as original as possible while at the same time trying to keep up with the times.
The Lodge features a total of 17 guestrooms comprising of 13 double rooms, 2 single rooms, 1 inter-connected family room, and 1 large single unit family room or triple room. Our double beds are 7-foot-long by 6-foot-wide (what some call super king). Our single beds are 7-foot-long by 4-foot-wide giving one plenty of space to enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Facilities and services at Mount Meru Game Lodge;
Restaurant; In the grounds of the lodge can be found an outdoor dining area
Bar; the bar is well stocked with a wide selection of spirits, beers, and minerals which are complemented by a carefully selected collection of wines.
Lounge; the lounge, with its enormous picture windows and comfortable furniture, provides for a relaxing environment.
A swimming pool; where one can enjoy a few rays of sunlight.
The garden; with its campfire allows our guests to dine under the African star-lit sky whilst listening to the exotic night sounds.
7) Hatari Lodge-Midrange
Hatari Lodge is surrounded by Oscar-nominated scenery and Mount Meru, Tanzania’s second-highest mountain. This luxurious boutique hotel is the former residence of German actor Hardy Krueger and is less than a one-hour drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport when accessed through Arusha National Park.
Bordering the northern edge of the national park, Hatari Lodge can be found nestled in an acacia forest, flanked by two jutting peaks: Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, a 14,980ft dormant volcano. After a day’s exploring, retreat to Hatari to find a historic lodge with a Hollywood pedigree.
The rooms at Hatari Lodge have been lovingly decorated in a retro style, evoking the 60’s and 70’s – the time of “Hatari!” and the beginning of safaris in Tanzania. All the nine comfortably furnished rooms have a spacious ensuite bathroom and a stylish mix of local textiles, brightly patterned Kenyan carpets and hand-printed wallpaper. In the winter months, an open fire crackles invitingly in each bedroom.
Situated next to the luxury suites are Hatari’s main dining building offering a spacious veranda with unforgettable views of Mount Kilimanjaro, giraffes, buffalos and plenty of wildlife.
8) Itikoni Seasonal Camp-Budget
The Itikoni Seasonal Camp provides convenient and comfortable accommodation within the Arusha National Park. The camp is perfect for hikers or those going on a safari or simply visiting the National Park. A schedule is set according to the nature of the visit to the Itikoni camp.
Mobile sleeping tents are set amongst trees and each tent comes with chairs, sanitation facilities, solar-powered lighting, and a wooden framed bed. The mess tent forms the kitchen area where the resident chef prepares the meals. What’s more, is the lounge tent where coffee and tea are served, and books and games made available. The lounge tent also has a veranda that opens out to views of Kilimanjaro and Meru.
Getting to Arusha National Park Tanzania
The entrance to Arusha National Park is about 35km northeast of Arusha (Takes about a 40-minute drive) and an approximately 1-hour drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport. Direct international flights fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport can be the easiest since the airport is just 46km from the park or Arusha airport where your tour operators shall pick you up and drive to the park.
Take the main road between Arusha and Moshi to the signposted turn-off, from where it’s about 10km north to Ngongongare gate, where you pay your entry fees. Momella gate – the location of the park headquarters – is about 14km further on. From Momella gate, it’s possible to continue along a rough track to Lariboro, on the main Nairobi highway, passing Ngare Nanyuki village (6km north of Momella gate) en route.
There are several buses daily between Arusha and Ngare Nanyuki village, departing Arusha between 1.30 pm and 4 pm and Ngare Nanyuki between 7 am and 8 am. Buses stop at the Ngongongare gate (Tsh 6000, 1½ hours). A taxi from Arusha should cost from Tsh 50,000.