It is a popular destination for day trip visitors who are about to embark from the town of Arusha on longer northern circuit safaris. The small national park includes the slopes, summit, and ash cone of Mt. Meru, the Momela Lakes, Ngurdoto Crater, and the lush highland forests that blanket its lower slopes. Game viewing around the Momela Lakes is at a laid-back and quiet pace, and while passing through the forest many visitors stop to search for troupes of rare colubus monkeys playing in the canopy.
Climbing Mt. Meru or enjoying the smaller trails that criss-cross its lower slopes is a popular activity for visitors to Arusha National Park. The three-day trek to reach the crater’s summit is a quieter, and some say more challenging alternative than the famous peak of nearby Mount Kilimanjaro. Along the lower slopes, the paths to rivers and waterfalls create a relaxing day hike for visitors who don’t want to attempt the rather arduous climb. Ancient fig tree forests, crystal clear waters cascading from mountain streams, and a chance to spot colobus monkeys are the attractions and pleasures of Arusha National Park.
Arusha National Park Trails
Climbing Mount Meru is one of the leading attractions and draws to the park. The Momella route starts at the gate located on the eastern side of the mountain. This is the route used to climb the mountain.
The best time to climb occurs between June and February with December through February offering the best chances to see Mount Kilimanjaro uncovered from the clouds. The Momella route routinely takes 4 days traveling a distance of 11.8 miles (19 km), however, there is a shorter more direct ascent that takes 3 days and travels a distance of 8.7 miles (14 km).
The longer route is more common allowing for better acclimatization and a little less strenuous. You will travel through montane forest, moorland, and then alpine desert before returning back down.