The transition between unappealing urban chaos and pristine mountain hiking trails is rarely so abrupt as it is in Arusha National Park. One of Tanzania’s most beautiful and topographically varied protected areas, the park is dominated by Mt Meru, an almost perfect volcanic cone with a spectacular crater. It also shelters Ngurdoto Crater (often dubbed Little Ngorongoro), with its swamp-filled floor and lost-world feel.
At 552 sq km, it's a small park and, while there is wildlife here, it's nothing compared to that of other northern-circuit parks. But these minor details can be quickly forgotten when you're walking amid the soul-stirring scenery and exploring the meaningful trekking possibilities.