Arusha National Park
The Arusha National Park is located near the city of Arusha, where President NYERERE announced the “Arusha Declaration” in 1967, which committed Tanzania to independent socialist development. It occupies the entire eastern slope of Meru and its foreland with a view of Kilimanjaro, including the summit of Meru (4575 m). With an area of only 137 km², it is almost the smallest Tanzanian national park. Only the Gombe National Park is smaller (50 km²). Arusha Park was established in 1960 as the Ngurdoto Crater National Park. In 1967 it was expanded to include the Meru area and received its current name.
There are three different landscape formations here: the Ngurdoto Crater, the Momella Lakes and the rugged Mount Meru.
There is a great abundance of game, especially Cape buffalo, elephants, giraffes, colobus monkeys and vervet monkeys.
Many water birds, especially flamingos, are native to the sea area. The biggest attractions are the strenuous ascent of the Meru summit and the relaxing stay in the Momella Wildlife Lodge in the foreland. The film “Hatari” was shot in this area in 1960/61 with JOHN WAYNE and HARDY KRÜGER. KRÜGER then acquired a farm and built the lodge, which is now available as an accommodation facility.
The Ngurdoto Crater is a round crater with a steep drop of approx. 400 m and a diameter of approx. 3 km. The highest point of the crater rim is at 1854 m. About 15 million years ago, the crater was created by a steam explosion and a subsequent gas explosion. The edges of the crater are completely forested (mahogany and African olive trees, date palms, etc.). There is natural seclusion here. It is forbidden to descend to the animals grazing peacefully in the depths of the crater.
The seven Momella lakes form a lake district, which is surrounded by grassy slopes (bush savannah) (Fig. 14). The lakes are very shallow and are fed by the Meru’s groundwater. The water is alkaline. Therefore it is not accepted as drinking water by the wild animals. Because of the different mineral content in the water, each lake forms its own ecosystem. In terms of origin, the lakes are depressions in the volcanic debris of the Meru, which was deposited here after a huge explosion.
The Meru (4575 m) is the fourth highest mountain in Africa; only the Kilimanjaro, Kenya and Ruwenzori mountains tower over it. The Meru was probably once the highest volcano in Africa (Fig. 15). About ½ million years ago there must have been a huge explosion that blasted off the eastern half of the volcanic cone and hurled all the rubble and mud into the eastern foreland. To where the Momella lakes are today in the hard-dried mud. What remained was an asymmetrical caldera with a sharp-pointed edge. During later volcanic eruptions, a young, small volcano, the Ash Cone, formed inside the crater, which consists of tuff and ash.
The most recent lava leak was in 1879. Volcanic aftereffects such as thermal baths, solfataras (hot springs, steam escapes) continue to this day. The diverse flora, the species-rich animal life and the alpine character of the Meru are a real challenge to climb. Four days should be allowed for this. It starts at Momela Gate (1500 m) and leads over the Miriakamba Hut (2521 m, overnight stay) and the Saddle Hut (3566 m, overnight stay) to the highest point of the crater rim, Socialist Peak. An armed ranger and porter, if necessary, must be taken from the gate. If wild animals attack, he has to drive them away with warning shots. From the lower hut you can take a detour into the crater and the Ash Cone as well as to study the crater walls. From the upper hut it is possible to climb the Kleiner Meru (3820 m). From here, the vast surrounding area up to Kilimanjaro can be seen. The summit has to be started at 2 a.m. in the dark and in frequent fog. The trekker only recognizes the dangers of the route on the way back. When day has come and the rim of the crater is reached, the destination is still not recognizable and the path doesn’t want to end either. But when it is done and the weather allows a look into the crater (Fig. 16) and Kilimanjaro, the joy of the summit sets in and makes you forget the agony. When it is daytime and the crater rim is reached, the destination still cannot be identified and the path does not want to end either. But when it is done and the weather allows a look into the crater (Fig. 16) and Kilimanjaro, the joy of the summit sets in and makes you forget the agony. When it is daytime and the crater rim is reached, the destination still cannot be identified and the path does not want to end either. But when it is done and the weather allows a look into the crater (Fig. 16) and Kilimanjaro, the joy of the summit sets in and makes you forget the agony.
Kilimanjaro National Park
The Kilimanjaro National Park covers the entire high altitude region of the massive Kilimanjaro mountain range from 1800 m. That gives an area of 756 km². The national park has existed since 1973. The Kilimanjaro massif combines three extinct volcanoes. From northwest to southeast, these are the largely eroded Shira (3962 m), the overpowering glacier-crowned Kibo (5895 m; since the measurement in 1999 only 5892 m) and the bizarre Mawenzi (5149 m; Fig. 17). The highest point on the rim of the Kibo crater has been called Uhuru (freedom) since 1964. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world, as well as one of its highest volcanoes.
Kilimanjaro rises 5000 m from the savannah surrounding it (Fig. 18). With the increase in altitude, natural spatial altitude levels have developed on it, which in a certain way reflect the vegetation zones on earth. Between the savannah and the mountain forest, at an altitude of 1000 m to 2000 m, the rich rainfall (up to 2500 mm annually) has created tropical cultivated land, where coffee, tea, bananas, pyrethrum (composites, plant insecticides to protect people, animals and their food), vegetables (obergines, zucchini, onions, carrots), potatoes, etc. a. be cultivated.
Above it follows the cloud forest with beard lichens, which merges into tree-high heather bushes (Fig. 19).
In the high alpine cold desert you can first admire the enchanting “primeval plants” Senecia (Fig. 20) and lobelia and then study the volcanic rock and its weathering products.
The summit area, the crater rim of the Kibo, is dominated by numerous glaciers that crawl down from the slopes on all sides. Ten of them bear the names of famous researchers such as REBMANN, DECKEN, RATZEL and PENCK. The retreat of the glaciers has progressed so strongly here that the glaciers have partially been separated from their nutrient areas and have actually become dead ice. Inside the crater there is a younger volcanic cone, the Reusch Pit. Unfortunately, it is only fully visible from the aircraft.
The main attraction in the national park is the ascent of the Kibo to the Uhuru. It usually takes place via the Marangu route. Tourism companies calculate the ascent with five days. During this time, many participants do not even make it to the rim of the crater (Gillman’s Point). There are at least 5000 m to climb and descend at an unusual height!