Arusha National Park(Momela lakes)

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  • Closest national park to Arusha city,the northern Tanzania's safari capital. A multi-faceted jewel, often overlooked by safarigoers, despite offering the opportunity to explore a beguiling diversity of habitats within a short time.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 easly 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. Further north, rolling grassy hills enclose the tranquil beauty of the Momela Lakes, each one a different hue of green or blue.
    Their shallows sometimes tinged pink with thousands of flamingos, the lakes support a rich selection of resident and migrant water fowl , other species of Birds and shaggy waterbucks display their large lyre shaped horns on the watery fringes.Giraffes glide across the grassy hills, between grazing zebra herds while pairs of wide eyed dik dik dart into scrubby bush like overgrown hares on spindly legs.
    Although elephants are uncommon in Arusha National Park and lion absent altogether, leopard and spotted hyenas may be seen slinking around in the early morning and late afternoon. It is also at dusk and dawn that the veil of cloud on the eastern hizon is most likely to clear, revealing the majestic snow capped peaks of Kilimanjaro only 50 km away.But it is kilimanjaro’s unassuming cousin, Mount Meru -the fifth highest in Africa at 4,566 MASL metres (14,990 feet) that dominates the park’s horizon.
    Its peaks and eastern footslopes protected within the national park. Meru offers unparalleled views of its famous neighbor, while also forming a rewarding hiking destination in its own right. Passing first through wooded savannah where buffalos and giraffes are frequently encountered, the ascent of Meru leads into forests a flame with red-hot pokers and dripping with Spanish moss, before reaching high open heath spiked with giant lobelias. Everlasting flowers climb to the alpine desert, as delicately-hoofed klipspringers mark the hike’s progress. Astride the craggy summit, Kilimanjaro stans unveiled, blushing in the sunrise. SIZE OF THE PARK 542 sq km (205.96 sq miles) Located in Northern Tanzania, northeast of Arusha city GETTING THERE An easy 40 minutes drive from Arusha. Approximately 60 km (35 miles) 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. THE ACTIVITIES TO DO THERE Game drive , Canoeing ,Walking safaris (through different types of vegetation, habitats and in the waterfalls (Tululusia waterfall) , Mt Meru climb (Good acclimatization for Kilimanjaro), numerous view points and some picnic sites. BEST TIME To climb Mount Meru , June – February although it may rain in November . Best views of Kilimanjaro December – February. ACCOMODATION SERVICES Rest Houses, Camp Sites (Public and special),Hatari and Momela lodges inside the park ,2 Mountain Accommodation Centres , Many beautiful and luxurious lodges just outside the park and several in Arusha city.