Norhern Circuit


This small national park, which is located directly north of the town of Arusha, offers activities like hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and the strenuous three-night climb to the top of Mount Meru, as well as a small variety of wildlife.



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Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park is a 360 square kilometer conservation area that is close to the town of Arusha and is surprisingly interesting for its size.

The reserve is centered on Mount Meru, the smaller Mount Kilimanjaro’s twin volcano, which also provides some fantastic trekking opportunities.

With dramatic volcanic peaks and craters, extensive forests, high altitude grasslands, and a system of lakes, the park is both diverse and incredibly beautiful. The renowned view of Mount Kilimanjaro may be the main attraction.

Although there are healthy animal populations nearby, only large herbivores like giraffes, zebras, and buffaloes are typically seen on a regular basis because the terrain is unsuitable for traditional wildlife viewing.

There are some fantastic hiking trails in the park in addition to the challenging trekking on the mountain, as well as options for mountain biking and canoeing.

Additionally, the renowned John Wayne film “Hatari,” which was filmed here in the 1950s, has Hollywood ties.


Located about 60 kilometers to the west, Mount Kilimanjaro can be seen from Arusha National Park.

The park is dominated by Mount Meru, the fifth-highest mountain in Tanzania, which coexists with the enormous Mount Kilimanjaro, which towers over the nearby steppe.

A significant explosion that long ago destroyed a significant portion of the eastern slopes massively enlarged the crater of Mount Meru, a typically shaped volcano. The entire mountain, from about 2000 meters up to the summit at 4565 meters, is included in the reserve.

The park has a variety of captivating landscapes. The majority of it is covered in montane forest, with smaller patches of open grasslands at lower elevations, moorlands, and alpine deserts at higher elevations.

The Ngurdoto Crater, a 2 km-diameter replica of the Ngorongoro Crater, is by far the most impressive of the many volcanic features found within the reserve. The heavily forested outer slopes are a good place to see black-and-white colobus monkeys. The crater’s steep slopes descend for about 200 meters to a level floor covered in swamps, long grass, and forest.


Although there is a good variety and density of animals in Arusha National Park, it is difficult to see them due to the difficult terrain and dense montane forests.

The species that live in the patches of open grasslands and open acacia forests, such as giraffes, zebras, warthogs, waterbucks, and bushbucks, are the most frequently sighted ones.

Reedbucks, leopards, and spotted hyenas are less frequently sighted. Buffalo and elephant herds are typically found deep within the forests and should be avoided.

Crocodiles and hippos have populations on the Momella Lakes as well. Flamingos can breed year-round in the waters because they are quite alkaline.


Most frequently, lodges in the Arusha region are used as day trips to Arusha National Park. We do not advise going here as a substitute for traveling west to the proper safari areas because it is likely that wildlife viewing won’t be very good (a one day trip to Tarangire or Ngorongoro, although not ideal, would be more productive).

Most visitors travel there to take in the scenery and to partake in one or more of the activities mentioned here.

The spectacular and difficult three-night hike to the summit of Mount Meru is the standout activity in Arusha National Park. The summit approach entails a relatively exposed ridge walk that, when covered in snow and ice, can be very perilous. Occasionally, between April and July, hikers become stranded on the summit and perish from exposure. The rest of the year, it’s a beautiful and dramatic journey. Some of our more dedicated climbers use Mount Meru as a warm-up for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, with most of them hailing from Switzerland and Germany.

The reserve is also remarkably well-equipped for day hikes, including the excellent day hike up to the lower portion of the main Mount Meru crater, as well as numerous trails through forests and grasslands that lead to distant waterfalls. The hike that enters the enigmatic Ngurdoto Crater is arguably the most thrilling.

Another option is to go canoeing on the Momella Lakes, which can be a very relaxing afternoon activity. This is usually followed by sundowners in a spectacular location, ideally with amazing views of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Although we haven’t personally checked them out yet, we are also aware of some mountain bike trails that have reportedly been built in the area and descend from the park back down towards Arusha.

Arusha Tours

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