Arusha National Park Ride
The entrance gate leads in to shadowy montane forest inhabited by inquisitive blue monkeys and colourful turacos and trogons–the only place on the northern safari circuit where the acrobatic black-and-white colobus monkey is easily seen.
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 a Lakes, each one a different hue of green or blue.
Their shallows sometimes tinged pink with thousands of flamingos, the lakes support a rich selection of resident and migrant waterfowl, and shaggy waterbucks display their large lyre-shaped horns on the watery fringes.
Giraffes glide across the grassy hills, between grazing zebra herds, while pairs of wide-eyed dik-dik dart into scrubby bush like overgrown hares on spindly legs. Although elephants are shy 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) distant. But it is Kilimanjaro’s unassuming cousin, Mount Meru-the fifth highest in Africa at 4,566 metres (14,990 feet)–that dominates the park’s horizon.
Its peaks and eastern foot slopes protected within the national park, Meru offers unparalleled views of its famous neighbor, while also forming a rewarding hiking destination in its own right. Passing first through wooded savannah where buffalos and giraffes are frequently encountered, the ascent of Meru leads into forests aflame with red-hot pokers and dripping with Spanish moss, before reaching high open heath spiked with giant lobelias.
Everlasting flowers cling to the alpine desert, as delicately-hoofed klipspringers mark the hike’s progress. Astride the craggy summit, Kilimanjaro stands unveiled, blushing in the sunrise.
Late morning, you will head back to the Arusha National park gate where you dismount and say farewell to our four legged friends. From here there are a few options, some will continue onto other safaris or stay another night or two at the lodge and practice and play polo for a few days.
DAY 1: Arrive Kilimanjaro international Airport
Arrive to Kilimanjaro International Airport; here you will be picked up by our representative and driven for about thirty-five minutes to the lodge.
For those arriving Kilimanjaro international airport in the morning:-
Settle into the new surroundings and meet the other participants on the safari. Over lunch a briefing will take place and shortly thereafter an afternoon introduction ride takes place. This is good opportunity for everyone to get to know their mount before heading into the National Park the following day. The afternoon ride takes place on a wildlife estate, home to plenty of plains game like zebras, wildebeests, elands and if lucky there is a good chance of seeing one of the shyest and rarest antelopes in Africa, the Gerenuk (also known as giraffe antelope). Head back to the lodge in time for showers and sundowners before dinner is served.
For those arriving at night, upon arrival at the lodge, you enjoy late lite dinner before having a short rest ready the ride on the next day.
DAY 2: Head to Arusha National Park
Wake up calls with tea and coffee, breakfast is served anytime from early hours. After breakfast, you will check out and drive for about twenty minutes to Arusha National park gate where the horses will be waiting, ready to be mounted and shortly after you will ride into one of the most beautiful parks in East Africa.
In Arusha National Park the vegetation will change dramatically, from open grassland to rainforest. With good chances of seeing elephants, buffaloes, leopards and rare species such as Suni, Red Duiker, the magnificent Hartlaub’s turaco and so much more.
The feeling is magical as you enter into the big canopy forests. Lunch will be set on route, with time for a small siesta. After lunch the ride continues through leopard country and as you head towards your night stop, you will pass by Margarete Trappe’s old house. The legendary lady known and remembered as the Iron lady from the First World War. Arrive to camp, based on the foot of Mt Meru in time for showers and sundowners then dinner under the stars.
DAY 3: Full day in Arusha National Park,
This morning you will hopefully wake up to the very talkative Colobus monkeys. Breakfast is served and shortly thereafter we mount and directions are taken towards the area where the film Hatari was filmed, starring John Wayne. Thereafter half way into the morning ride we start the climb (on horseback), aiming to reach the “Fig Tree Arch”, a massive fig tree arch, big enough to fit five horses underneath the arch. The ride continues until we reach lunch, beautifully located next to a waterfall. We are now on about 2000 meters above sea level.
After lunch we start heading back towards camp and after returning to camp, there will be an option to jump into the vehicles and go visit the Momella lakes, hoping to see some hippos and beautiful water birds. Sundowners at the lakes before heading back to camp for showers and dinner.
DAY 4: Ride in Arusha National Park /Departure
Wake up to Colobus monkeys chatting in the early hours of the morning. Breakfast is served and everyone mounts and start heading back towards civilization. Enjoy the last morning with your mount in this magical place on earth, full of wildlife, stories and tales.