Arusha National Park is a secret jewel of Tanzania. It is not only the closest national park to Arusha town, but also one of the most undiscovered. This is a treasure, a rich tapestry of habitats, teeming with animal and birds. The park has three distinct zones that contribute to its variety and beauty: the lush swamps of Ngurdoto Crater; the tranquil beauty of the Momella lakes, each a different hue; and the chill rocky alpine heights of Mount Meru rising to 4,566 metres (14,990 feet). Zebra graze on red grasslands, wide-eyed dik dik dart into scrubby bush like overgrown hares on spindly legs. Leopards lurk shadowy forests that are draped with waterfalls. Reedbuck pick through marshy pools. There are even more than 400 species of birds. Fluffy-tailed black and white colobus monkeys riot in the damp forest mists. Giraffes glide across the grassy hills.
In the distance Mount Kilimanjaro watches over all. But it is her unassuming cousin, Mount Meru that dominates, offering unparalleled views of the famous neighbour. The regarding climb up Meru travels through forests aflame with red-hot pokers dripping Spanish moss (Usnea), carpeted with clover rising to open heath, spiked with giant lobelias. Everlasting flowers cling to the alpine desert, as delicately hooves klipspringers mark your progress. Astride the craggy summit, Kilimanjaro stands before you, breathtaking, blushing in the sunrise.
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