Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Arusha National Park, Tanzania, East Africa

Arusha National Park, Tanzania, East Africa
Size: 137 sq km (53 sq miles).
Location: Northern Tanzania, northeast of Arusha town.

Arusha National Park is a smallest park in Tanzania's 'Northern Safari Circuit', about 45 minutes drive from the safari gateway town of Arusha.

The entrance gate leads into shadowy montane forest inhabited by inquisitive blue monkeys and colourful turacos and trogons – the only place on the northern safari circuit where the acrobatic black-and-white colobus monkey is easily seen. In the midst of the forest stands the spectacular Ngurdoto Crater, whose steep, rocky cliffs enclose a wide marshy floor dotted with herds of buffalo and warthog.

The park is made up of three particular features; lush swamps of the Ngurdoto Crater, changing colours of Momela Lakes and rugged alpine peaks of Mt Meru. Habitat ranges from highland montane forest to lowland swamp.

Passing first through wooded savannah where buffalos and giraffes are frequently encountered, the ascent of Meru leads into forests aflame with red-hot pokers and dripping with Spanish moss, before reaching high open heath spiked with giant lobelias. Everlasting flowers cling to the alpine desert, as delicately-hoofed klipspringers mark the hike's progress. Astride the craggy summit, Kilimanjaro stands unveiled.

Forest walks, numerous picnic sites;
three- or four-day Mt Meru climb - good acclimatisation for Kilimanjaro.

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