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Arusha National Park Highlights

Arusha National Park is 552 sq km in size and is situated in northern Tanzania, just north east of Arusha town. The reserve offers remarkable natural beauty and protects the slopes of Mount Meru. It is the closest national park to Arusha town and approximately one hour away.

Activities in the park include forest walks, beautiful picnic sites and 3-4 day trips to Mount Meru, the fifth highest peak in Africa, which offers good acclimatisation for Mt. Kilimanjaro. The best time to climb Mt Meru is from June to February however it may rain in November. The best views of Kilimanjaro are between December and February.

This park has the very unusual backdrop of the town of Arusha. Seeing game feeding and ambling with the Tanzania's bustling city in the background is quite extraordinary. There are no lions in the park, while leopards are seldom seen, making this park more of an on-foot activity location.


Sun Safaris Says

Arusha National Park is often overlooked by safari-goers, despite offering the opportunity to explore a wide diversity of habitats within a few hours. It is the only place on the northern safari circuit where the acrobatic colobus monkey is easily seen.

This is the nearest park to the city of Arusha, and it is in a position that observes the majestic snow-capped peaks of Kilimanjaro, only 50km away. This is an ideal stop for guests wanting a safari experience, but without the time to travel far from Arusha.

This park is an easy 40 minute drive from Arusha town and approximately 60km from Kilimanjaro International Airport. The lakes, forest and Ngurdoto Crater can all be visited in the course of a half-day outing at the beginning or end of an extended northern safari.

Activities include forest walks with numerous picnic sites and a three or four-day Mount Meru climb for the adventurous visitor.

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Safari Lodges within Arusha National Park

Machweo Retreat

Machweo Retreat is the sister to award winning Onsea House. Machweo is a wellness retreat & fine dining accommodation which perches on the green ridges of Mount Meru. The retreat is owned by two cousins, Dirk and Axel Janssens, who are originally from Belgium.

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Hatari Lodge

Hatari Lodge is situated on the border of Arusha National Park overlooking the legendary Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. It is a 90 mniute transfer from Kilimanjaro International Airport making it an alternative overnight destination on the night of arrival in Tanzania.

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Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge

Ngare Sero Lodge is located around 20km to the east of the town of Arusha in northern Tanzania. Set in a superb rural location on the forested lower slopes of Mount Meru, this historic farmhouse was once home to the Von Trappe family of The Sound of Music fame.

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Kilimanjaro International Airport Lodge

Kilimanjaro International Airport Lodge is situated in the heart of a beautiful savannah scenery. The lodge is located near Kilimanjaro International Airport and guests are able to view the highest free standing mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro.

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Arusha Safari Lodge

The lodge is a private residence consisting of 9 rooms and 7 guest cottages. All bedrooms have their own en-suite bathroom, a shower, hand basin, and toilet.

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Arusha National Park on display

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One of the highlights at Arusha Safari Lodge is that guests are able to view Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru from the lodge. Guests are served fresh meals at the lodge's restaurant, as it utilises fresh ingredients from the vegetable gardens on the property. Arusha Safari Lodge is home to beautiful tropical gardens, colourful birds and monkeys.

Machweo Retreat has a sauna, a steam bath, and a treatment room. Guests can cook alongside Axel Janssens, head chef of the restaurant, by learning how to cook Tanzanian meals. Guests may also accompany the chef on his morning fruit and vegetable run to the colourful Arusha market.

Hatari Lodge is ideal for the safari enthusiasts and the romantic at heart and offers one of the most unique locations in East Africa. Guests can enjoy a traditional safari experience with close encounters of wildlife on activities such as game drives or experience the rich and diverse flora and fauna on a guided walk as well as exciting canoe trips.

How to Get There

Safaris in Tanzania begin at Arusha, which is situated close to the northern safari locations.

Sun Safaris will fly guests to Kilimanjaro International Airport, which is the primary receiving airport in Tanzania. This airport is only a few kilometres away from Arusha airport, which is the safari node of the country and where most light air transfers take off from.

Once guests have landed at Kilimanjaro, they will connect with a road transfer that will take them to Arusha airport. Depending on timing of guests' itinerary, they might spend a night in Arusha before heading off on a scheduled flight to an airstrip or airport nearer their safari destination.

Arusha National Park is only a short drive from the airport and offers a great alternative to a city hotel for an overnight before or after setting off on safari.

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Arusha National Park Game Viewing and Activities

Arusha National Park offers beautiful landscapes and diverse animal, bird and plant life. This magnificent park is characterised by waterfalls and lakes, steep cliffs and gorges, swamps and waterholes, providing the ideal sanctuary for animals and plants. Guests can enjoy Africa at its best and experienced guides will accompany guests on walking safaris, canoeing trips on the lakes or exciting game drives.

Arusha is home to groups of forest elephant, many buffalo, water and bushbucks, duikers and dik diks. Spotted hyenas, leopards and civets are some of the predator inhabitants. A major attraction is the large number in primates; especially the black and white Colobus and the shining Sykes monkeys, which are very likely to be seen on a game drive or a walk in the park.

There are no lions in this park, and leopards are present, but not often spotted. These are elusive cats and do not often come out to hunt until dark. Arusha National Park offers more of a peaceful environment with less of the thrill of big game viewing.


Arusha National Park Seasons and Climate

The main rainy season, or the 'long rains', lasts during March, April and May. Afternoon downpours are the norm, which are heavier and more predictable beside the coast and on the islands. The humidity is high and daily temperatures reach the low-mid 30s (degrees Celsius).

The long dry season lasts from June to October, during which time the rainfall is unusual. Temperatures vary hugely with altitude and location, but it's usually a fine, clear sky and sunny weather.

During November and December there's another rainy season, which is known as the 'short rains'. These are much lighter than the long rains and less reliable. If it has rained during the short rains, then it normally dries up for a few months in January and February, which is Tanzania's 'short dry season', before starting to rain again in earnest in March.


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Our expertise in African travel comes from years of experience travelling the continent, canoeing the rivers, walking the bush trails, and seeing the stars. We've been on the game drives and watched the sunsets, spent nights wrapped up in remote areas, and eaten great food around the fire. Our recommendations come first-hand, and they are your assurance that a safari booked with us is one we know you'll love, because we did.

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Just like the spots on a leopard's back, each of our tailor-made itineraries is unique. Every journey has a personality, carefully designed to match the desires and expectations our clients bring to the table. Every element is taken into consideration to stitch together a personalised safari experience, grown from seed and cultivated to embody the perfect adventure. Our tailored itineraries are your safari dreams, defined.