Tanzania is a case of success regarding Nature conservation and endangerous species protection. The country soon understood that they have been presented with some of the greatest natural wonders to be found on Earth. And quickly they learned how to conserve them and take good care of them.
In fact, many conservation works have been done here, specially those related with fighting Elephant Hunting and saving one of the most endangerous species in the world, the Black Rhino. Jane Goodall also become famous for her pioneer work with the Chimpanzees at Gombe Stream National Park.
Blessed by nature with 14 national parks (there are even more, but these ones are the most famous) one can found everything in Tanzania. Tanzania is what comes to your mind when you think of Africa. There are parks that are as large as many european countries like the Serengeti National park and Selous Game Reserve. There are parks, like Katavi National Park or Ruaha National Park that are so untouched by humans they reassemble the descriptions of Africa by white hunters and missionaires who came here centuries ago. Parks where you can have a million of acres just for yourself and see more lions than people. There are parks like Gombe Stream National Park or Mahale Mountains National Park where you will be able to see large groups of Chimpanzees and Gorillas. There are parks like Saadani National park where you can join pristine beaches and the wild bush. Other parks, such as Ngorongoro Conservation Area with its Ngorongoro Crater have a beauty that is so stunning, so breathtaking that it is impossible to put into words. And what about Kilimanjaro National Park? Where you can see giraffes with the world's tallest free standing mountain, the roof of Africa, in the background?
Well, there are really parks for every taste and interest and we haven't even spoke about Zanzibar, with world class beaches of white sand and turquoise warm water. Tanzania is definitely one of the top destinations of the world.
In the following map, you can see the 14 national parks. To learn more about each one and see what we recommend, move your mouse over the map and click in one park.
Arusha National Park
Even though it does not have the same game-viewing experience that can be found in other national parks in Tanzania, Arusha National park does have a rich variety of wildlife, including giraffe, buffalo, zebra, warthog, blue monkeys, black-and-white colobus monkey, many flamingos, etc. There are no lions in the park but there are elephants and leopards. However, these ones are very hard to see. If you like bird watching, you will love Arusha National Park. There are many forest species and they are easier to see here than in any other park.
One of the most interesting things about these park are the gorgeous landscapes. Though small, one can see three distinct landscapes at one given time. In the west, the second highest peak of Tanzania, Mount Meru, to the south-east, the grassland of Ngurdoto Crater, and to the north-east, the shallow Momella alkaline Lakes.
The park makes a convenient one day trip from Arusha as it is just 25km east of the city. It's also easily accessible from Moshi/Kilimanjaro.
Large Predators: Leopard and dotted Hyena.
Other Mammals: Hippo, Waterbuck, Giraffe, Zebra, Buffalo, Warthog, Dik Dik, Baboon, Vervet monkeys, black and white colobus, blue monkeys and various antelope. Elephants are quite rare.
The park has more than 400 different species of birds, including: Flamingo, Pelican, Little Grebe, Augur Buzzard, Black Eagle, Touraco, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater, hornbills, herons, ducks and waders.
When to go
Between October and February and between May and October. The park is open and accessible throughout the year.
What to do
Besides 4x4 game drives, it is also possible to do walking safaris accompanied by an armed ranger in some areas of the park. There is a Snake park in the entrance which is very popular among tourists.
Of course, in this park, you can also climb Mount Meru, the second highest peak of Tanzania (after Mount Kilimanjaro) which is much cheaper than climbing the Kilimanjaro, can be done in 2 to 3 days, and is also a very rewarding experience.
What we suggest
If you have time to visit the main parks, then starting with one day safari in Arusha National Park would be a great idea, specially if you allow yourself to climb Mount Meru.