Arusha city is also known as A-Town is located in the northern highlands of Tanzania, beneath the two peaks of Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro, Arusha is the safari capital of the country. Guests embarking on the popular northern safari circuit all stop in the ‘Geneva of Africa’ to prepare for their journeys into the African bush. From two-lane streets, the dramatic crater of Mt. Meru stands over the town like a majestic sentinel, its crater strewn with thick clouds, its slopes dark with verdant forest. Arusha’s ideal location near the major national parks and its highland setting make it a peaceful idyll of relaxation before the start of an exciting journey.
Built by the Germans as a center of colonial administration in the early 20th century, Arusha was a sleepy town with a garrison stationed at the old boma and a few shops around a grassy roundabout. From its backwater status amidst the farmlands and plantations of northern Tanzania, today Arusha is one of the country’s most prosperous towns.
Arusha is a major international diplomatic hub. The city hosts and is regarded as the de facto capital of the East African Community. Since 1994, the city has also hosted the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. It is a multicultural city with a majority Tanzanian population of mixed backgrounds: indigenous Bantu, Arab-Tanzanian, and Indian-Tanzanian population, plus small White European and white American minority population. Religions of the Arusha population are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu.
The current site of Arusha was first settled in the 1830s by the agro-pastoral Arusha Maasai from the Arusha Chini community, south of Mount Kilimanjaro. They traded grains, honey, beer, and tobacco with the pastoral Kisongo Maasai in exchange for livestock, milk, meat, and skins. Demand for Arusha’s foodstuffs increased substantially during the 1860s when the Pangani Valley trade route was extended through Old Moshi, Arusha, and ultimately to western Kenya. Although it was not yet a town, it was a regional center and had a number of urban features.
Despite its proximity to the equator, Arusha’s elevation of 1,400 meters (4,600 ft) on the southern slopes of Mount Meru keeps temperatures relatively low and alleviates humidity. Cool dry air is prevalent for much of the year. The temperature ranges between 13 and 30 degrees Celsius, with an average of around 25 degrees. It has distinct wet and dry seasons and experiences an eastern prevailing wind from the Indian Ocean, a couple of hundred miles east.
The reason why to visit Arusha
Unshakable culture. Arusha consists of over 100 nationalities, making it diverse in terms of culture. You can also participate in cultural tourism program where trips are organized to visit nearby villages.
Amazing architecture and historical monuments. Find out about Tanzania’s cultural, social, and political history by visiting the Arusha Declaration Museum. Visit the Natural History Museum off Boma Road to learn all about human evolution.
Breathtaking landscape. Mount Meru provides a beautiful backdrop to Arusha. Marvel at the waterfalls of Arusha National Park or enjoy a camel safari on the lower slopes.
An exciting food scene. Dine on Nyama Choma (roast meat), enjoy some biryani, pilau, or chapati. Look for delicious roadside snacks on the streets of Arusha or visit the Arusha Farmers Market for a wide selection of Tanzanian delicacies.
Quiet scenery. Take a stroll in the gardens and sample some organic food at the eco-restaurant. Stop for some cocktails as you watch the sunset, listen to the birds, and relax on the comfy day beds across many accommodations in Arusha.
Things to do in Arusha
These are the unique experience to be found in Arusha. Being the heart of Tanzania’s safari, Arusha remains an iconic city to visit while in Tanzania. The beauty of nature and lifestyle entertain every traveler who dares to visit. Many tourism activities are the core culture of this city, many cultural program centers have been developed to entertain and educate travelers visiting Tanzania.
These programs become the backbone for these communities. Through sustainable tourism life of these people have been transformed. Once you’re in Arusha don’t forget to give a visit to cultural centers. Support the economies of these communities by purchasing handmade products from beads, art, and unique design clothes offered by woman groups or youths. Being in Arusha expose you to different cultural centers, we hope you will enjoy reading and learn and if you wish to get more information, do not hesitate to talk with our team. We offer the following day tour programs
Arusha is the gateway to all three volcanic mountains, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru, and Mount Oldonyo Lengai. Apart from these great mountains, Arusha is surrounded by many hills which makes this region more attractive. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the world’s tallest free-standing mountain, Mount Meru is the second-tallest mountain in Tanzania but also the fifth-tallest mountain in Africa, The Oldoinyo Lengai is the best mountain to climb too, It is the only active volcanic mountain in Tanzania. Many people living in Arusha especially youth are mountaineers, it is easy to plan your climb while in Arusha, there are many tour operators that offer mountain climbing activities and if unfortunately, you didn’t bring your own gear, it is easy to get them for rental. You can choose one of our tours from 3 days Meru trek, 5 days Marangu route, 5 days Oldonyo Lengai hiking, 7 days Machame route, or 8 days Lemosho route climbing.
The weather in Arusha is absolutely good for hiking, one of the best short tours that you must never miss while in Arusha is waterfall hiking (a day trip tour). The waterfalls lie just inside the mount Meru forest reserve in the Northeast of Arusha town, just 3 hours walking, or 45 minutes drive from Arusha town. One must get an entry permit before descending to the waterfalls. There are no dangerous animals, but the forest is protected by the park rangers. We arrange biking and cycling tours from Arusha town to waterfalls where you will enjoy nature around the Masai villages and their culture
The weather of Arusha is convincing for bike riding, you can enjoy bicycle riding around the Masai villages on the rough’s roads which are less crowded. Biking is not only leisure but also great exercise to keep your body fit and fight against some diseases including heart attack, diabetes, respiratory systems, stress, anxiety and help so much in improving our immunity. Apart from health benefit, biking tours is one of the best practice for responsible tourism with no impact to the environment and the ecology.
Riding to the top of Africa is the dream of every biker visiting Tanzania. Through tour operators, you can arrange Mount Kilimanjaro bike trekking through the Kilema route or Londros gate, the trip takes up to five (5) days with proper acclimatization. Other professional bikers travel with their bikes, but others prefer renting options while in Tanzania. Is the unique experience endowed with a passion to conquer the Mighty Mountain of Africa! Mount Kilimanjaro.
Arusha is the gateway for premium safari destinations, Arusha is the starting point for most of the well-known safari destinations in Africa. You can visit either Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Lake Manyara or Arusha National park. There are many tour operators in Arusha who offer wildlife safaris, most of them offer good services, at different prices depending on your budget. The service quality varies depending on what you’re willing to pay. Remember that many of these multiple safari options are available in the same areas and parks and what differs only is accommodation facilities offered, not the wildlife and the scenery that you will see. Tanzania Safaris is unique, whether you book a budget camping safari, luxury camping, or lodging safari.
Tanzanite Mining Experience
Tanzanite is only mined in Arusha (Mirerani) in Tanzania and is not available in other parts of the world. When you visit Arusha, make sure you reach the Tanzanite gallery in Mirerani where you can see cutting and various gemstones on display. The tour will proceed to the mining area on the hills, where you will get to know how mining is done in the area. Here one will identify various other gemstones found near these blue rocks such as Green garnet, moonlight, and red light. Your walk inside the tunnels to the blue rock surface is a lifetime adventure where you will learn how Tanzanite is explored from such hard rocks and then collected ready to be sold at the local market or get processed for export. Getting out of the mining area to the local market of Tanzanite, one will be amazed by a beautiful view of Mount Meru and the roof of Africa ‘The Kilimanjaro’
Maasai Market and Shopping
While in Arusha, you can visit one of the famous Maasai markets know as Ngaramtoni. This is a special market on Thursday and Sunday where the Maasai people from different places in Arusha meet together for selling and buying cows, ships, and goats. Apart from the cattle’s auction, the Maasai people also sell different local medicines (herbs) Maasai clothes, shoes, and souvenirs. Nowadays, the market is growing bigger and popular, so different businesses are going on daily. This place is also among the popular places where you can get grilled meat, popular as the “nyama choma” The market is easily accessible, it is possible to use private or public transport. There are small busses running daily from town to the market.