Arusha, Tanzania’s gateway to the northern safari circuit, is nestled at the foot of Mount Meru. The city boasts a blend of African and colonial architecture, vibrant markets, and cultural landmarks. Arusha is also a base for exploring nearby national parks, including Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.
Arusha is a vibrant town, the streets lined with the exuberant violet flowers of the jacaranda trees and jewel like hibiscus. The lively markets bustle with activity and safari operators zip back and forth from the bush to re-stock and ferry their guests from the busy little airport.
A stones throw from this thriving hub you will find the far more peaceful Arusha National Park, and within the park Mount Menu, Africa’s fifth highest peak. The park also includes the Ngurdoto Crater which lies in the forest, geologically it is similar (but smaller), to the Ngorongoro Crater, the crater floor is home to herds of buffalo and zebra. Elephant are rarely seen and there are no lion in the park, but the forests are home to the elusive leopard and troops of playful black and white colobus monkey.
There are many walking trails to explore, from a couple of hours to several days, explore scenic ancient forests crisscrossed with streams and waterfalls, or the more game rich shores of Lake Momela. The more adventurous can climb to the crater summit. If you are lucky and the skies clear you will get a clear view of Kilimanjaro from the park as well.