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Arusha National Park

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Lion in Arusha National ParkThe smallest yet one of the most beguiling of Tanzania's National Parks, the 137 sq km Arusha National Park offers an unrivalled diversity of safari experience due to the three distinct ecological zones of its composition.

Activities range from a trek up the forested slopes of a fifteen million years old extinct volcano called Ngurdoto Crater, the discovery of the seven alkaline and flamingo-forested Momela Lakes, which are the haunt of some 380 species of water birds, or an ascent to the misted heights of Mount Meru.

At 4,566m above sea level Mount Meru is the 5th highest mountain in Africa and offers one of the continent's most rewarding climbs. Once as high as Kilimanjaro, a cataclysmic explosion two hundred and fifty thousand years ago below out the entire eastern side of the Mountain, leaving only a vast crater and ash cone in its wake. Fauna in the park includes; black and white colobus monkey, leopard, zebra, giraffe, reedbuck, waterbuck, buffalo, hyena, warthog, baboon, elephant and hippo.

The Town

Baboons Gromming in Arusha National ParkOne of Tanzania's most developed and fastest growing towns, the bustling Safari Town of Arusha is a hive of arrival and departure activity as countless 4WD safari vehicles load up with provisions and set off with their passengers into the endless, game-teeming plains of the mighty Serengeti National Park.

Established in 1900 as a minor German military garrison, Arusha lies halfway between the Cape and Cairo and was once a major trading post for the local Wa arusha and Wameru tribes. Nowadays it is not only the country's most active tourism center but also an important regional business and administrative center and host to a colorful array of street markets, museums, craft shops, Makonde carving workshops, street cafes, restaurants and bars.

The Tanzanian Coffee Industry

Despite the fact that coffee was not planted in Tanzania until the turn of the 20th century, when it was imported by the Jesuit missionaries of Reunion Island, Tanzania is now world famous for the excellence of its coffee, most particularly the Coffee Arabica grown on the slopes of Mount Meru and around the Arusha region. This distinctively flavored coffee provides the foundation for some of the finest blends of coffee in the world and accounts for 75% of Tanzania's coffee exports. At Mountain Village guests may wander through the coffee plantations and enjoy a tasting session on the estate.

The population of Arusha

There are approximately 120 tribal groups in Tanzania, most of which are so small that one hundred tribes combined would only account for one-third of the total population. As a result, not tribe dominates either politically or culturally. About 95% of Tanzanians are of Bantu origin, the largest tribes being the Sukuma (approximately 13% of the population), the Nyamwezi, Makonde, Haya and Chagga. The Maasai and several smaller groups, including the Arusha and Samburu, are of Nilotic origin. There is also a small but economically significant Asian and Arabic population. According to the most recent census, Tanzania is one of the least-urbanised countries in sub-Saharan Africa, urban dwellers making up 11.5% of all mainland Tanzanians.

One of the most memorable tribes of the Arusha area is the fabled Maasai. Often strikingly tall and slender, swathed in brilliant red cloth ‘Shukas’, hung about with beads and metal jewellery, the young men (Moran) favor long, plaited, ochre-daubed hairstyles and have a formidable reputation for glamour, prowess and ferocity. Traditionally the Maasai live off the milk and blood of their beloved cattle and believe that all the world’s cattle are theirs by God-given right. Their nomadic and pastoral lifestyle, though historically based on the pursuit of migratory wildlife, is slowly changing as a result of a combination of education, favorable new laws, projects, jobs and income.

How to Get There

Arusha is connected by daily internal flights with Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Mwanza. There are several flights weekly to the Seronera airstrip in Serengeti National Park, Muaoma and Shinyanga. There are also frequent flights to Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks. Several international airlines have flights into Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), which is half between Arusha and Moshi whilst a number of internal flights use Arusha Airport (about 8km out of town).

Arusha National Park Accommodation

Impala Hotel | Moivaro Lodge | New Arusha Hotel | Arusha Coffee Lodge | Arusha Mountain Village | Kigongoni Lodge |

 

Feedback From Clients

Michelle Kimberley


Just got back last night - what a trip! Kenya versus Botswana.... It is a hard question to answer and something I have been thinking about a lot over the past 2 weeks. Botswana is very different - I like that there are less people and that you are on a private concession. But, on the other hand, it seems like you really need to visit at least 3 camps to really see everything. I think for someone like me, Botswana is really a great place to go - since I know I will go again and experience the other camps. But for people who are going only once in a lifetime, then I think I am inclined to suggest Kenya - you see it all at once and stay at one camp. I am so glad you convinced me to go to Botswana though - it really was a wonderful experience. I d...

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