Lying between the peaks of Kilimanjaro and Meru, Arusha National Park is an outstandingly beautiful area. The Park has a wide range of habitats, from the string of crater lakes where many water birds can be watched, through the highland montane forest and on up to the imposing summit of Mt. Meru.
The forests contain a wealth of birds and other animals, like the beautiful bushbuck easily glimpsed in the grades between the ancient cedar trees, or the black and white colobus monkeys climbing along their branches. The interesting geology of the area is reflected in the impressive view of the ash cone and cliff face leading to the summit of Mt. Meru.
Everywhere throughout the Park there are chances to observe the natural world at its own pace, to see different animals in their various habitats and absorb something of the serenity of the surroundings. Those who ascend the summit of the mountain will be rewarded with unparalleled views of the majestic Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Rift Valley.
Three distinct areas are to be found within Arusha National Park: Ngurdoto Crater, the Momela Lakes and the rugged Mt. Meru. Altitudes range from 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) above sea level at Momela to over 4,500 (14,764 feet) meters at the summit of Meru. The vegetation which occurs in the Park is correlated to the altitude and geology of the area. Ngurdoto Crater is surrounded by forest whilst the crater floor is a swampy area. The Momela Lakes, like many in the Rift Valley, are alkaline, and Mt. Meru is a mixture of lush forests and bare rocks.
Associated with these different vegetation zones and places are different types of animals: migrating water birds settle on the lakes, waterbuck and reedbuck are found near water, while shy bushbuck and duikers keep to the forested areas. It is obviously impossible to say exactly where different species will be encountered but it is possible to build up a picture of the most likely species to be found in any area. Within this wide range of habitats almost 400 species of birds have been recorded in the Park. Some of these are migratory and present between October and April, others are permanently resident in the forests.