ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK:
Arusha National Park is a multi-faceted jewel offering the opportunity to explore an incredibly diverse range of habitats within a few hours. 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. Although elephants are uncommon in Arusha National Park, and lions absent altogether, leopards 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 horizon is most likely to clear, revealing the majestic snow-capped peaks of Kilimanjaro, only 50km (30 miles) away.
But it is Mount Meru - the fifth highest mountain in Africa at 4,566 metres (14,980 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. The lakes, forest and crater can all be visited in a half-day outing at the beginning or end of an extended northern safari.