A wide and interesting variety of activities makes Arusha certainly a place worthy of your visit. There are numerous excursions and activities which can be pursued in the immediate vicinity of the lodge as well as day-long safaris further afield.
Mount Meru Game Lodge & Sanctuary offer you the unique possibility of visiting the area immediately surrounding our property. These walks include cultural and educational visits to local villages and farms as well as sightseeing tours to some of the natural forests and scenic spots in the area. Each walk is carefully planned according to your wishes. As an added bonus, there are different forms of wildlife and birds which populate the area to be seen such as Bushbuck, Duiker and even troops of Colobus Monkeys (see video). These walks are offered free of charge to guests of the Lodge and can be booked through reception.
Longer safaris and excursions are also of an educational as well as cultural nature and include:
This full-day excursion will take you to Lake Manyara National Park, teaming with large flocks of flamingos at its shores.Besides flamingos - and another 380 species of birds - the park is also known for its large variety of other African wildlife such as a boisterous hippo population, several elephant herds and populous groups of baboon. A phenomenon distinct to Manyara is the occasional spotting of lions on Acacia trees.
Lake Manyara National Park is a small and verdant oasis of life in the harsh confines of the Rift Valley and is worthy of a visit for the sheer number of monkeys and prolific Birdlife alone.
Lake Manyara, which nestles at the foot of the Great Rift Valley escarpment and which covers almost two-thirds of the Park is believed to have been formed between two and three million years ago when the Rift Valley itself came into existence and streams began to pour over the escarpment collecting in the natural depression where the lake is found today. There is a high soda content in the lake which attracts large flocks of Flamingos which in turn form a pink ‘mantle’ over the water when viewed from a distance.
Elsewhere in the park is a surprising diversity of habitats from open grasslands to hot water springs and swamps to rocky outcrops, each of which supports a fantastic array of wildlife. In addition to the Flamingos (and some 380 other species of birdlife), the Park is known for its large and boisterous Hippo population, populous groups of Baboons and several herds of Elephant. A phenomenon distinct to Manyara is the occasional spotting of Lions on Acacia trees. Although this happens far less than the reputation would suggest, reasons put forward for this behaviour include escaping the land heat by catching the air breeze, avoiding flies or, more likely, escaping the disturbances caused by herds of both Elephants as well as Buffalo.
Manyara is noted for its wealth of birdlife. At times the lake is visited by many thousands of Lesser Flamingos as well as a sprinkling of the larger species such as Herons, Skimmers, Spoonbills and Skimmers. Maccoa Ducks and White-backed Ducks are resident, and the beautiful little Pygmy Goose can sometimes be observed.
The large areas of ground-water forest with their giant Fig and Mahogany trees and Acacia woodland are also home to Hornbills, Bee-eaters, Barbets and Rollers. Lake Manyara National Park is a small and verdant oasis of life in the harsh confines of the Rift Valley and is worthy of a visit for the sheer number of monkeys and prolific Birdlife alone.
Another full-day excursion from the Lodge is one which takes you to Tarangire National Park. Tarangire is best known for its mini-migrations of wildebeest and zebra which join the vast herds of elephant at the water holes during the season. However, there is also a permanent and sizeable resident population of wildlife throughout the year, including all the predators (lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and hunting dog), elephant and some mammals rarely seen in the other parks of the Northern Circuit, such as the Kudu and Fringe-Eared Oryx.
This Park covers an area of approximately 1,600 square kilometres and is named after the Tarangire River which runs through the centre of the Park providing the only permanent water source for miles around.
Tarangire is thus a dry season habitat because of the perennial water in the Tarangire River which attracts wildlife from much of the Northern Circuit eco-systems from the month of August. By October, the Park is full, the numbers of animals swelled by mini-migrations of wildebeest and zebra which join the vast herds of elephant at the water holes.
However, there is also a permanent and sizeable resident population of wildlife throughout the year, including all the predators (Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Hyena and Hunting Dog), Elephant and some mammals rarely seen in the other parks of the Northern Circuit, such as the Kudu and Fringe-Eared Oryx.
Arusha National Park, which is less than half an hour’s drive from Mount Meru Game Lodge, has often been called the little ‘gem’ of Tanzania. The fact that it makes for a thoroughly enjoyable half-day (and even full-day) excursion is one which is often overlooked by visitors to Arusha.
The Park embraces an area of approximately 52 square kilometres only and is remarkable for its range of habitats; a miniature volcanic crater, highland rain forest, Acacia woodland and a string of crater lakes. It is also of interest because of its varied bird life, flora, small mammals and monkeys that can, in some areas, be encountered from the privileged perspective of a ‘foot safari.’
The Park is also reputed to have the highest density of giraffe on Earth with Elephant, Hippo, Leopard, Bushbuck, Zebra, Hyena, Warthog, Duiker and Buffalo also being represented there. Although until recently it was believed that the Park was devoid of Lions, recent evidence suggests that a pair may have wandered in from the uninhabited North.
The Park has three distinct zones which form the principal points of interest to visitors.
The Momela Lakes are a cluster of shallow alkaline lakes to the East of the park which attract seasonal flocks of flamingo and migrant birds. The algae and mineral content of the lakes causes them to change colour at certain times of the year.
Ngurdoto is a small crater measuring approximately 6 square kilometres and is home to a resident group of wildlife. The Crater is inaccessible by vehicle but several viewpoints dotted around the rim afford excellent views of the congregated wildlife within its confines as well as sweeping vistas to Mount Kilimanjaro.
The majority of visitors to the park however come to climb or simply conduct a ‘walking safari’ on Mount Meru. At 15,000 feet, Meru is the second highest peak in Tanzania overshadowed only by Mount Kilimanjaro, its more celebrated cousin across the Masaai Steppe. It is generally believed that Mount Meru once surpassed Mount Kilimanjaro in height until a lava explosion blew off its Eastern face.
It is a 3 to 4 day sustained climb to the peak of Mount Meru, but options exist to trek through the rainforest to Miriakamba, the first hut which is situated at an altitude of 9,000 feet. These foot safaris normally last two days and take the visitor into Meru crater with its 2,000 feet sheer walls and into the mountain forest which supports a fascinating array of birds and monkey life including the rare Black And White Colobus. You must be in reasonably good physical condition in order to complete this walk, but the walk is highly recommended to those who are interested.
This excursion will allow you a unique insight into the Wa-Arusha people who are related to the Masaai, but who have shifted from being a pastoral people to one who live on agriculture.
At Ngíresi, the villagers will provide you with a guided tour of some of their farms on the green, steep slopes of the mountain. You can also visit several development projects in the village (soil conservation, irrigation, cross breeding, biogas and a fish nursery) and even climb Kivesi Hill, a natural volcano with a natural forest at the top.
This excursion to Ng’iresi Village on the slopes of Mount Meru (in the immediate vicinity of the lodge) comes highly recommended.
The Masaai are a very interesting people and a visit to Longido will present you with a unique opportunity for insights into their culture as well as their daily life. It will also allow you to learn from them everything you always wanted to know about these proud and fearless people. You will also go on a ‘walking safari’ through the Masaai plains to the refuge of such rare animals as the Gerenuk, the Lesser Kudu and the Klipspringer and tracking Big Game and Birdlife whilst guided (and guarded) by Masaai Warriors.
For those more energetic visitors there is also an opportunity to climb the very impressive Longido Mountain.
Longido Masaai Village is situated at the base of Longido Mountain approximately 100 kilometres North of Arusha.
A visit to the town of Mto Wa Mbu is a very rewarding experience in that it will provide you with an insight into the cultures of the many different tribes living in the area.
There are visits to be made to development projects whose aim is to improve agriculture and to start income generating projects for the Farmers.
You can also climb Bala Hill from the top of which you will have a bird’s eye view of the whole town. Or you can take a trip to Miwaleni Lake and Waterfall where you can see first hand a natural and abundant Papyrus forest.
On the back of a Camel and guided by Masaai Warriors, you can ride for several hours around the Mkuru Plains and the chances are very good that you will see Game as well as a variety of Birdlife. With Mount Kilimanjaro and Longido Mountain on the horizon and Mount Meru rising up behind you, you are guaranteed some spectacular views during your ride.
Mkuru is situated on the North side of Mount Meru, not far from the Momela gate of Arusha National Park.
There are visits to be made to Coffee Farms which include demonstrations on how coffee is picked and processed and to Dairy farms where you can see how local cheese is made and distributed to local markets.
Please contact your Travel Agent or Tour Operator for more information about these and other excursions availalable from Arusha.