Tourist attractions in Arusha and Hangout Places
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There are many Tourist attractions in Arusha considering that it is one of the largest cities in Tanzania with a population of over 400,000 people, Arusha is one of the largest cities in Tanzania. It is the capital of the wider Arusha region and is strategically located in the northern part of the country – an area with some of East Africa’s best national parks. The city receives enough rainfall and remains green throughout the year because of its location at the foot of Mount Meru. No wonder it is known as the green city of Tanzania.

Arusha is a multicultural city with a population of mixed backgrounds. There are indigenous tribes of the area, Tanzanians of mixed heritage (Arab, Swahili and Indian heritage) and a strong white community. The city is relatively small and residents lead a more laid back kind of life. The city has a strong diplomatic community and legacy of having had UN and African Union offices. Christianity, Islam and Hinduism are the main religious denominations.

Arusha is also known as the safari capital of Tanzania because it is the connecting point to those interested in visiting Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru, the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro crater, Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Park. Arusha is also very close to the Masai Mara Game reserve in Kenya Although the city itself is often overlooked by international tourists on their way for safaris in the nearby national parks, Arusha city is an attraction in its own right with countless things to do. If you happen to be in town before or after your safari, do not remain in your hotel room.  We will be discussing in great detail some of the best tourist attractions in Arusha. You can also read about the things to see in Dar es Salaam or activities in Zanzibar. If you also plan on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, then you might find our article about the tourist attractions in Moshi useful.

Tourist attractions in Arusha Tanzania

Volunteer: If you have that spirit of volunteerism, then you can contribute to community development in many ways while in Arusha. You can volunteer in tree planting, cleaning parts of city, teaching or supporting the local youth soccer teams. How can you support soccer? You support soccer though coaching and sharing your knowledge of the game. If you have knowledge about being a referee, evaluating player performance, identifying and improving soccer talent then register to volunteer with one of the local soccer teams. Many of the local teams take park in local and regional soccer tournaments but lack the necessary equipment and qualified coaching staff. Support these teams by donating soccer boots, uniforms and football nets if you can. Volunteering or helping sponsor the local youth teams will reward you immensely. You get to mingle with the local community, learn about the challenges they face. If aren’t sure of where to volunteer, we recommend that you ask your tour operator, your host family or the hotel you will be staying in.

Go shopping at the Arusha Central Market: There is no better way to learn about the culture of people in a new place than by visiting their central shopping center. The Arusha central Market (Kilombero Market) rewards tourists by bringing them closer to real people of the city. It is where everyone goes to do shopping for household essentials. The market is packed with people and most shops are built very close to each other. Expect to find shops dealing in local fabrics, spices, traditional medicines, wood carvings, handicrafts, art pieces, jewelry, vegetables, chicken, meat, fruits and all kinds of foodstuff. The Arusha central market also has a large section where goats, sheep and cows are traded. Prepare to bargain if you want to buy something from the market. You need to be careful not to go with your valuables while in the market. If you have to go with them, make sure they can be attached safely to your belt such that they cannot be snatched by pickpockets.

Eat out or take coffee: If you are wondering were to have breakfast, lunch or dinner while in Arusha, then you will be spoilt for choice. The city has several high quality restaurants, coffee shops, cafes and other eat outs serving continental and local dishes. If you want the best sandwiches, coffee, burgers, grilled meat, burgers, chips, tramazini, pastries, cakes and European delicacies, then Africafe is the place to go. The restaurant also serves a variety of soft drinks, beer and wines. Another ideal place for eating out and relaxing with friends is Rivertrees. Rivertrees in the middle of a coffee plantation. Expect to be served coffee that is grown in the area. Apart from coffee and tasty meals, a Guide can take you for a walk around the beautiful gardens and stream for bird watching.

Other coffee shops and centers worth considering are the Arusha Coffee Lodge, Sahaga Shangaa, Machweo Wellness Retreat, Fifi’s, Universal Classic Restaurant, Fig & Olive, Lively Lady Bar & Grill, Le Patio and Khan’s Barbecue. Arusha Coffee lodge is similar to Africafe because it is surrounded by beautiful gardens and a coffee estate. They serve three course meals, cold drinks and coffee. Sahanga Shangaa on the other hand organizes Bean to Cup coffee tours for guest interested in the process of making the beverage. Machweo Wellness Retreat is owned by a Belgian family and is considered one of the best places to eat out while in Arusha. They have managed to combine local flavors with a Belgian touch to come up with world class meals in a beautiful environment with amazing views of the Monduli Mountains. Fifi’s is located along Themi’s Road and is also an excellent choice for breakfast, lunch and coffee. For the best local foods, check out Universal Classic Restaurant along Swahili road. Le Patio is relatively new but is already popular for excellent cuisines and pizza. Where can you dine with the locals? You can visit Khan’s Barbecue for takeaway in the evening hours. This facility is a favorite of the local people because of their cheap food. It is a mechanic’s shop during the day and a roadside restaurant in the evenings.

Arusha National Park: Arusha national park may not be as famous as the Serengeti but is a great destination especially for those who want something different. It is the most accessible national park in Tanzania and stands out for its incredible scenery including volcanic craters and lakes. It takes less than two hours of driving to reach the park from the city center. The most noticeable feature in the park is Mount Meru but expect to spot baboons, buffalo, bushbucks, elephants, giraffe, hippos and leopards among other creatures. The park organizes mountain hiking, game driveshorse riding, biking, canoeing and nature walks. Canoeing is mostly done at the Momella lakes. These are a group of alkaline lakes found in the park. The largest two are the most popular because they attract many of the park animals. Canoeing in Arusha National Park stands out because it is the best way to experience the full beauty of the park, its animals and birds.

Climbing Ol Doinyo Lengai Mountain: This is an active volcano found in the middle of Maasai land. It is surrounded by the crater highlands to the south, Mount Kilimanjaro to the east, the Ngorongoro Conservation area to the north and the great East African rift valley to the west.  Ol Doinyo Lengai Mountain is 2962 meters high and is the only carbonated volcano in the world. Once every 7 years, the mountain erupts unleashing plumes of smoke that can be seen hundreds of miles away. Because of its turbulent nature, the locals consider it sacred.

Hiking to the top of the summit is possible but can be challenging because of the extreme heat, steep slopes and lose rocky outcrops. Reaching the summit requires two days of hiking. One needs to prepare mentally before taking up the challenge of climbing to the summit. The first section requires the ability to withstand heat while conditions at the top can be very cold especially at night. On reaching the summit, hikers are rewarded with great views of the crater at the summit, the great Serengeti plains, Ngorongoro crater, Lake Natron, Mount Kilimanjaro and the East African rift valley. After enjoying the beautiful views in the horizon, hikers can take a walk across the crater floor.

Lake Natron: Lake Natron is a soda/alkaline lake found at the foot of Mount Ol Donyo Lengai. The lake is found in an extremely remote and desolate area with distinct landscape. The lake is shallow and during the hot season, water temperatures can reach a staggering 42 degrees Celsius. Lake Natron does not drain out or connect to any major river or sea. It is fed by small rivers and hot springs. The nearest towns to the lake are Arusha and Magadi in Kenya.

The Lake’s isolation has made it the largest breeding site for over 2.5 million Lesser Flamingos hence a recognized Ramsar site. Lesser Flamingos find the lake ideal for breeding because it is isolated, is rich in algae, has salt marshes, tilapia and is free from most predators. The Lesser Flamingo is considered threatened because of their reliance on breeding in this one location. Global warming could drain the lake and easily wipe out the Lesser Flamingo. It is important to note that apart from flamingos, the lake is also home to pelicans, gees and over 350 other bird species. After visiting the lake, tourists can also visit the Masai tribe on their way back to Arusha.

Uhuru Torch monument: Also known as Mwenge wa Uhuru (Torch of Freedom in Swahili), the monument is one of the National symbols of the country. It was first lit by Alexandra Nyirenda in 1961 and symbolizes light and freedom. The monument is a sign of hope in times of despair, love where there is hatred and respect where there is enmity. Once in a year, Tanzanians and people from around the world gather to witness the Uhuru Torch being lit.

Clock Tower: This tower was once believed to be built at a point between Cape Town in South African and Cairo in Egypt to represent the middle point of the former British empire in the African continent. However, this has been refuted as the real midpoint between the two cities is now known to lie in Central Congo.

A safari in Serengeti National Park: The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is arguably the most popular tourist attraction close to the city of Arusha. The park is composed of vast savanna grassland which are dotted with acacia trees. The Serengeti extends all the way to Kenya’s Masai Mara Wildlife reserve.  The wildebeest and Zebra migration in the Serengeti provides tourists with one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in the world. Over 1.5 million wildebeest and 210,000 zebras migrate within the Serengeti and then to the Masai Mara in Kenya every year. This movement has occurred every year for hundreds of thousands of years. Once the animals begin to move, nothing can stop them. A 3 days safari in Serengeti national park offers you a chance to follow the wildebeest migration while also spotting lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, buffaloes, elephants, giraffe, ostriches and so much more. The park is vast and offers an amazing wildlife experience which is better or at most equal to that experienced at the Masai Maraa.

Tarangire National Park: Often overshadowed by Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti, Tarangire National Park is also a great attraction in the northern part of Tanzania. It is not only good for a normal safari but has become well known for its elephant migration which become more intense during certain months of the year. Tarangire is only 3 hours’ drive away from Arusha city. Most tourists visit the park for a short time and rarely cover all sectors. This leaves much of the park pristine and relatively undiscovered. In the months of July to October, the concentration of mammals is wonderful to behold. Expect to spot 4 of the famous big five mammals and over 500 species of birds. In a nutshell, the main activities in the park are game drives, walking safaris, nature walks, birdwatching and some of the best cultural tours in Tanzania.

Visit St. Jude Schools: The St. Jude schools were built to educate bright but disadvantages students in Arusha so that they can grow up to be the intellectual and moral leaders of the country. The schools allow tourists to visit and learn about their academic programs as they interact with the students. On a typical day, tourists are taken around the school and taken for lunch with the students. If time permits, they are also invited to take part in activities like musical presentations, drama, physical education, visiting the library or attending the morning assembly. St. Jude has grown to over three campuses with over 1,800 students and 250 staff. Most of this growth wouldn’t have been possible without the generous funding from individual donors across the world.

Visit the Hadzabe people: For a true cultural experience, you should visit one of Africa’s last true nomads, the Hadzabe tribe of Tanzania. The Hadzabe live close to the Serengeti plains and Lake Eyasi. Also known as the Hadzabe, the tribe has no close relation with any of the tribes in East Africa. They are believed to be related to the Khoisan people in Southern Africa because of the clicks in their language. They have remained isolated and less than 1,000 remain. What makes a visit to the Hadzabe tribe interesting is that their way of way of life has remained relatively unchanged and not been heavily influenced by modernization. They depend on subsistence farming and hunting to survive. On a typical visit, tourists can join the men in a traditional hunting expedition using bows and arrows or go out with the women to pick fruits/wild berries.

Sidai Designs: Sidai Designs is found in a quiet location close to the central city highly. It is a project initiated to help women become self-reliant by embracing the opportunities offered by art. The project teaches women how to design jewelry and other art pieces. The women are provided with rooms to display their products which are heavily influenced by Masai designs. Visit Sidai Designs if you want to buy local souvenirs while at the same time supporting a good cause.

Shanga Foundation: This foundation is similar to Sidai Designs. If you are wondering about another place where you can purchase high quality art pieces while also giving back to the community or helping the vulnerable, then this is the place to go. The Shanga foundation and workshop employs and supports people with disabilities by training them how to make home products, glassware, beautiful jewelry and Tinga Tinga Paintings. By empowering ambitious people with disabilities, the workshop has helped employ and increase their general level of income. The foundation also helps them market their products to buyers from across the globe. Spend time and hear stories of the beneficiaries as they work on their products. The foundation ensures that part of the profit is used to train and employ even more disabled people. Because of its role in helping the physically disabled, Shanga is a favorite stopover for tourists.

Coffee Tour at the Aranga Coffee Group: Arusha receives good rains throughout the year and has fertile volcanic soils. This combination of good soils and climate is ideal for coffee growing. Several coffee plantations have sprung up all around the city employing many of the residents. The coffee tour takes you to one of the farms in the mountainous village of Nkoaranga. The farm is located 25 kilometers away from the town. A Guide can pick you up from your hotel in Arusha and drive up to the foot of Mount Meru from where you will be led by foot up to the plantation. As you walk towards the farm, you will go past a primary and secondary school as well as the local church in the area.

Once you reach the plantation, the farmers will show you around the plantation as you learn about the different stages of growing coffee – from the young trees until a time when they are picked. After this part of the tour, you will have lunch at the farm home. Lunch consists of fresh fruit, ugali, chapatti, goats’ meat or rice. After lunch, you will proceed for the second part of the tour to see how coffee is roasted/grinded and stored before dispatching to markets all over the country. Before leaving the place, you will taste the coffee itself. The coffee tour is rewarding because it offers visitors opportunities to interact with the local people and experience their everyday life. You will also learn about the different stages of coffee growth till it becomes a final product. Do not forget to go back with some fresh coffee beans.

A safari in the Ngorongoro conservation area: The Ngorongoro conservation area is one of the best places for a safari in Africa and is located 180 kilometers away from Arusha. The Ngorongoro conservation are also includes the Olduvai Gorge which is where the first remains of the earliest humans were discovered. A combination of archeological and wildlife importance convinced UNESCO to accord it the status of World heritage site. The entire Ngorongoro conservation area covers about 8,292 square kilometers but the main feature is the world’s largest inactive volcanic caldera. This caldera is 300 square kilometers wide, 20 kilometers long and 600 meters deep. The caldera has been named as one of the great wonders of the world. While on a safari at the Ngorongoro crater, expect to spot black rhinoceros, Zebras, Waterbucks, wildebeest, lions, leopards, hippos, cheetahs, jackals and Eland among many other mammals. Apart from one of the world’s largest concentration of wildlife, expect to have encounters with local tribesmen who call the area home.

Visit the town of Tengeru: Tengeru is a town found outside Arusha and below Mount Meru. The town sits on the eastern side of the great Rift Valley and is close to Lake Duluti. Like Arusha, the temperate climate ensures that the town remains green for most of the year.

The scenery is amazing and tourists can take part in several activities while in the town. The activities include visiting beautiful waterfalls, visiting the local community and of course climbing mount Meru which we shall discuss in more detail shortly.

Lake Manyara national park: This is one of the smallest national parks in Tanzania. It is also less visited compared to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater but remains a hidden gem for its breathtaking scenery and rare wildlife. A key feature is the Lake Manyara. This alkaline lake varies in size depending on the season. During the rainy season, it can cover one third of the park hosting over one million flamingos. Apart from flamingos, the park is also home to king fishers, herons and over 400 other bird species. Birders will be amazed with the variety of birds on offer. Lake Manyara National Park is also famous for hosting the rare tree climbing lions. The East African rift valley is a prominent feature and the vegetation can range from savanna grasslands, marshes and thick forests. During your visit, expect to spot buffaloes, Elephants, warthogs, waterbucks, giraffes, hippos, hyenas, Leopards, wildebeest and zebras.

The Arusha Kid sports: This is one of the best places to take your kids out for a weekend of fun. The Centre has a complex swimming pool and beautiful playing grounds where kids can have fun throughout the day. The also organize various other water sports to keep the kids and parents busy throughout the day. The facility is close to the Uhuru monument.

Play Golf: If you want to meet the cities businessmen, expatriates and government officials, then you should play gold in one the clubs. The Kilimanjaro Golf Club has an 18-hole Golf Course which is free for members but is open to visitors who can pay a certain amount. This particular golf course offers majestic views of Mount Kilimanjaro and mount Meru. To play or rent golf clubs/caddies, you need to register at the clubhouse. The second golf course within Arusha is run by the Gymkhana Golf Club. This Clubs is located 30 kilometers away from Kilimanjaro Golf Club and was founded in 1940. It had 9 holes and the green fee is about $100 per person. If these two are not of your taste, then you can try the one at the nearby Moshi district which was built in 1920.

Tanzanite Shopping: If you are looking for the most romantic gift for your partner, then you should not leave Arusha without buying a Tanzanite product. Tanzanite is a rare gem which is only found in Tanzania. A large piece can cost up to $25,000 dollars outside Tanzania. It’s blue/violet in color and most of it is bought by the Jewelry store Tiffany’s. You can purchase a loose stone or ask the designers to create for you a special piece. There are several jewelry shops and museums in Arusha dedicated to showcasing this rare stone. Even if your budget is tight, you can still visit one of the shops and see what the gem looks like. Ensure that you go to a genuine Tanzanite shop especially if you plan on buying one. For assured quality, visit some of the artisan shops we have mentioned in this article or go to the showroom in Mount Meru Hotel.

The Cultural Heritage Centre. If you are wondering where to get the best jewelry, precious stones like tanzanite, then you must visit Cultural Heritage Centre in the outskirts of the city. The Centre attempts to showcase the culture of the different tribes in Tanzania through artifacts and art. It has some of the best art galleries, ornaments antiques, sculptures, artifacts, paintings, jewelry, African fabrics and souvenir shops. Artists from Tanzania and all across Africa have found the city home because of the ready market from tourist visiting the national parks in the area. Expect to find a great collection of tanzanite, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, opals and sapphires. The overall collection here rivals anything you will find in Dar es Salaam and will leave you spoilt for choice given the affordable prices. Do not forget to check out the scary masks from the different tribes in Africa. Antique collectors will have a field day here. If you don’t find the kind of art piece or souvenir you were hoping for at The Cultural Heritage Centre, then Check out the Masai Market Curio and Crafts Shop. This artisan shop is found along Fire road and close to the Clock Tower.

The Jane Goodall Tribute Centre: The Jane Goodall Tribute Centre was opened by Jane herself and is located at the Cultural heritage Centre. The Centre provides information about Jane Goodall’s work with primates in Africa. You will learn a lot about current research in chimpanzees, conservation efforts and the contribution of the Jane Goodall projects in Africa.

Visit hot springs: The Arusha region is home to several hot springs. Maji Moto, Kikuletwa and Chemka Hot Springs are arguably the most beautiful of the lot.  Maji Moto (hot water in Swahili) is an underground spring or oasis found in the middle of a dry patch of Masai land and outside the city.  The oasis stands out in a seemingly desolate part of Arusha county and is surrounded by beautiful palm/fig trees. To reach Maji Moto, you would need to take a one and a half hours’ journey outside Arusha. On reaching the oasis, you can go swimming and playing in the crystal clear waters. Day trips to Maji Moto are organized starting early in the morning in Arusha. Your Guide or tour operator should be able to prepare packed lunch and drinks for the journey. If you happen to visit on a Friday, you can get an opportunity to visit the local Masai Market for souvenirs (necklaces, handicrafts and bracelets).

The Kikuletwa hot spring is also found in the middle of a dry landscape and surrounded by green fig/palm trees. You can swim and relax by the beautiful oasis as you watch small fish moving in the crystal clear waters. The Chemka hot spring is also located in an area with beautiful scenery and is excellent for those who wish to swim in the magical warm waters of a natural hot spring.

Maserani Snake Park: This facility is located 25 kilometers away from the city center. It is normally a stopping point for tourists who are heading to the national parks of the northern circuit. The park is home to a variety of reptiles and snakes. On a typical visit, a friendly resident Guide receives visitors, briefs them and then takes them around the facility. Expect to see some of Africa’s most venomous snakes including the Egyptian Cobra, Puff Adder, Black and Green Mambas. You can hold some of the snakes or touch a young crocodile if you are brave enough. There is a Masai cultural Museum at the front of the park which is managed by the Masai warriors themselves. The Maserani Snake park gives back to the community. A health clinic and education Centre has been constructed to serve the local Masai population. The Centre also has a fully stocked bar where visitor can go to take beer and BBQ as they relax on their way to the larger national parks.

Visit the Farmers Market: The farmers market (also known as Nane Nane day) is opened on August 8th of each year. This market day recognizes the importance of farming and the contribution of farmers to the economy of the county. The Farmers market attracts visitors, students and businessmen who are interested in learning about the food processing industry in Tanzania. You will find seasoned farmers who are eager to share with you their successes and challenges. The latest agricultural technologies are on full display. An entrance fee allows you to enter and visit all the stalls where you can buy some of the products or watch people sell their cattle, goats and local art pieces.

Visit the Bang’ata and Themi waterfall: If you find yourself with nothing to do over the weekend, then you should include visiting the Themi and Bang’ata waterfalls on your bucket list. The Themi waterfall is found on a stream flowing from Mount Meru. The waterfall is surrounded by beautiful scenery and gardens. After seeing the waterfall, you can also visit the Themi Falls Leisure Park for lunch and drinks. The park has got beautiful scenery and gardens with plants/flowers. The gardens are excellent for nature walks and relaxation. After exploring the waterfalls and park, you can end your day by visiting the bar or restaurant for drinks and local food. You could even choose to camp for the night if you find the tranquility of the Themi Falls irresistible.

The other waterfall to take into consideration is the Bang’ata waterfall. This waterfall is found in the remote village of Bang’ata and is also an excellent choice for hiking, relaxation and swimming. Finally, there is also the Materuni Water Falls in Materuni village. This waterfall is 80 meters high and can be accessed after driving for two hours from the city center.

Visit the Themi Living Gardens: These gardens are found in the city of Arusha itself. It is a women led community Centre that was founded as part of a project initiated by an Italian NGO known as Istituto Oikos. The project promotes sustainable gardening while employing people with disabilities and their care takers. The Centre grows natural food which is served fresh by the ladies. The Themi Living Gardens has the first Eco-restaurant in the country were you can visit for lunch while relaxing in a calm and serene environment.

Maasai Market: Masai markets are basically souvenir shops offering artisan and food products from the Masai tribe. The Masai Markets are very common in East Africa. They are open on specific days of the week and not permanent. The Masai move about with their products to different markets depending on the day of the week. There are Masai markets found in Nanya, Kisongo and Mto Wa Mbu Village. These markets are away from the city center and may require traveling with a car or dalla dalla to get there. Go to the markets and support the local Masai people by buying sandals, beads, key holders, necklaces, sculptures, bracelets and blankets. The Masai also trade in animals, fruits and vegetables. They normally give higher prices for international visitors and for this reason, you need to be prepared to bargain.

Eat Local food: Tanzania like all countries has her own special cuisines. If you love tasting the local food in the country, you visit then you won’t be disappointed while in Tanzania. Nyama choma (roasted goat’s meat) is a favorite dish in Swahili speaking countries and expect to get the best in Arusha. You can also try Samaki (fried fish), Chicken (Kuku), ugali and Chapatti. The best restaurants for local food are Tembo Club or Milestones bar. If you are staying in Arusha for a week or more, you should create time to learn how to prepare some of the traditional local cuisines. A local friend can escort you to do some shopping of local spices and ingredients which you can prepare from home.

Hiking Mount Meru: Mount Meru is found in Arusha National Park and is the second highest mountain in Tanzania (5th in Africa) with a height of 4562 meters. This dormant volcano is the perfect practice ground for those who are planning on hiking the more challenging and nearby Mount Kilimanjaro which is only 70 kilometers away. Mount Meru allows you to experience some of what you will encounter while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Just because hiking the mountain is recommended as a preparatory ground does not mean that it is an easy hike. Hiking to the top takes four days and for that reason alone, one needs to be fit and be ready to adapt to high altitude conditions. The mountain also has some difficult sections and sharp crater rims. The reward for hiking Mount Meru are the beautiful views of Mount Kilimanjaro, national parks, lakes and sightings of some of Africa’s famous mammals. The hiking trails are well established but you cannot go up all alone.  You need to be escorted by an armed ranger to protect you from wild animals. Hiking Mount Meru is cheaper than Mount Kilimanjaro and costs about $800. The park also charges $45 for every 12 hours.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or reaching the slopes: After climbing mount Meru, you might discover that you are up for the bigger challenge of Kilimanjaro. Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro is considered one of the most attractive activities in Tanzania after a safari in the Serengeti. Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano with three cones – Shira, Kiobo and Mawenz. It is the highest mountain in Africa with a height of 4,877 meters. To reach the summit, one must be in excellent shape and be mentally prepared to deal with altitude issues. The hike can start from either the Arusha or Moshi side of the mountain. The commonly used routes are Umbwe, Machame and Marangu.

If you are not a seasoned hiker but wish to experience what it is like to climb a famous mountain, then you can register to only reach the Mandara hut. Mandara hut is reached after climbing 2700 meters. Your chosen tour company should pick you up early enough to start the journey to the starting point through the Marangu Gate. Hiking to the Mandara hut takes between 3 to 4 hours. You will pass through thick rain forest with a rich collection of birds and primates. Lunch is served once you reach the hut as you marvel at the breathtaking views of national parks, Moshi and Arusha city. The descent takes a shorter time and you should expect to be back at your hotel before dark. Hiking to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro costs around $2000 per person and $300 for other expenses like tips.

Lake Duluti: Duluti is crater lake is found 20 minutes’ drive away from the city center and at the foot of Mount Meru. It is surrounded by rocky escarpment and thick forest which are home to birds, small primates, butterflies and reptiles. Day trips can be organized for an opportunity to take part in canoeing, birding and nature walks. Birding is particularly excellent around the lake with opportunities to see Kingfishers, egrets, grey herons, fish eagles and cormorants. Canoeing offers the best chance to see all that the lake has to offer in terms of biodiversity. It is important for you to use a local Guide so that you don’t miss the best spots and views of the Mount Kilimanjaro.

The Natural History Museum: Also known as the old Boma Museum, the facility was built on an old military outpost built by the Germans during their rule in East Africa. Visiting the museum is like going back in time to discover Tanzania’s past and present. The museum has a collection of exhibits and historical records from the Germany colonial administration. It also showcases wall photos of the different species of animals, plants and insects found in the country. These photos were taken by a famous photographer known as Dick Persson. The Natural History Museum also shows some of the oldest human fossils discovered from Laetoli site and the famous Olduvai Gorge. The Museum has a small botanical garden, a mini zoo and serpentarium.  By the end of you visit to the Museum, you would have known a lot about the history of Tanzania, Arusha, the German colonial rule and how the earliest humans lived.

Arusha Declaration Museum: This Museum is over 40 years old and was founded to commemorate the Arusha Declaration that was drafted in 1967. The executive committee of TANU met from the Museum while preparing the Arusha Declaration document which proposed a new government policy of self-reliance and socialism. While at the Museum, a Guide will share with you details about the events that shaped the current political system and governance structures of Tanzania. The International Museum Day is celebrated every month of May.

Olpopongi Maasai Cultural Village and Museum: If you are still curious about the cultural history and heritage of the Maasai people, then visit this museum. The village provides tourists a chance to see replicas of Masai buildings (huts and kraals). The intention is to provide a visitor with a full picture of how a typical Masai homestead is organized – including the role of the wife, husband and chief in the running of a mayatta. You can also watch the Masai perform cultural songs and dances. There is even a section for the local medicine man who helps treat common and complicated ailments.

Movies and the Nightlife in Arusha: If you love partying or are wondering where to go out for a night of fun in Arusha, then do not worry. Arusha may be relatively quiet and laid back but the city has a vibrant nightlife. Some of the most popular night clubs in Arusha are Via Via, Ma’s Bar, Club D, Cocoriko, Johnny’s Bar, lepatio, Empire Sports bar, Boogaloo Club, The Don Club and Triple A. Via Via is popular for their Thursday live music while taking Tanzania’s popular beer Kili. The best nightclub is probably Club D. This is the place to meet the locals as you dance to the latest Ragga, Hip Hop, Reggae, Bongo flavor and international hits.  Empire sports bar is for the soccer fanatics and cool guys around town. It is the best place to meet other fans and watch soccer matches from the different leagues around the world. A pool table, live music and beer is available to entertain patrons of the bar up to the wee hours of the morning.  Are you looking for where to get the best nyama choma (roasted goats meat) in the evening? Go to Boogaloo Club.

Adrenaline raising activities – Zip lining, Mountain Biking, Quad biking and Horseback safaris: Arusha has no shortage of adrenaline raising activities. The city has the only Zip line park in Tanzania at the Mto wa Mbu village. Quad biking, cycling and horseback riding are some of the activities one can choose to discover the outskirts of the city. Mountain biking can be arranged for longer hours going all the way to the town of Moshi. Horseback riding and Quad biking can last between 30 to 2 hours depending on your budget. Of all the activities mentioned above, biking is what we would recommend for you. Bikes can be rented through your hotel or a tour operator. You can ride on your own but we recommend that you hire a local Guide or go with a friend who knows all the routes and hidden parts of the city.

More facts and Information about visiting Arusha

To get to Arusha, one can use a car or the more convenient air transport. If you choose to use air transport, then you could first land at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam and then get a flight directly to Kilimanjaro International Airport. There are also direct flights to Kilimanjaro airport from other countries around the world including Kenya and the Masai Maraa. Kilimanjaro Airport is only 46 kilometers away from Arusha but the city has a second airport known as Arusha Municipal Airport. This airport specializes in domestic connections and to coastal islands like Zanzibar.  After arriving in any of the two airports, you can hire a taxi all the way to the town center or wait for your tour operator to pick you up. Those who wish to use road transport can get a bus from Nairobi (journey takes 6 hours), Dar es Salaam (journey takes 12 hours), Kampala (12 hours). Although the journeys by road are long, it will reward nature lovers and keen observers with amazing views of the African countryside.

How will I get around while in Arusha? The most popular means of transport within the city is using a minibus known as dala dala. They are a relatively cheap means of transport and can take you to any part of the city. They are always packed with the common people hence offering you an opportunity to mingle and experience the life of an ordinary Tanzanian. It is also possible to hire a taxi at a slightly higher cost. If you have the resources, you can hire the services of a tour operator with a professional Guide/Driver who will take you around the city and its key attractions.

High quality accommodation is not a problem in Arusha considering that it receives many international tourists every year. The type of accommodation depends entirely on one’s pockets. There is ultra-luxury, luxury, mid-range and budget facilities. If you are interested in accommodation facilities outside the city with views of the wilderness, you can choose to book lodges close to the national parks or the nearby Ngorongoro crater. Accommodation facilities within the city are cheaper than those found in or close to the national parks.

How safe is Arusha? Arusha is a relatively safe city when compared to many in East Africa. However international tourists who are not familiar with the city need to exercise caution. Do not walk alone at night or in places you are not familiar with. Always agree on the price of the car or taxi before starting the journey to avoid being overcharged. Avoid the motorcycles especially at night. Like all major cities in East Africa, there are petty thieves waiting to snatch your bag or phones. Do not carry your bag or phones openly while in town. Move with a small wallet wrapped around your waste that cannot be snatched. Always move with a local Guide when walking in areas outside the city center. Avoid notorious places like the bridge along the old Moshi road.

When is the best time to visit Arusha? Arusha lies on high altitude (1300 meters). Because of that, the city experiences temperate climate for most of the year. One can visit throughout the year and activities are always open. However, if you are planning to go on safari in the national parks, then you might find the dry season more ideal. The dry season normally starts from June to October. November all the way to February is also excellent for safaris. Visiting during the dry season is recommended for safaris because it is then that the park animals gather in once place to drink in boreholes and rivers. Vegetation is less hence allowing for better wildlife viewing. The wet or rain season is in March to May. However, it is important to note that the rainy season brings life to the national parks and the scenery can be breathtaking. It is also in the wet season when migratory birds arrive from Europe and other parts of the world. It is the breeding period for the birds and the parks have less crowds hence allowing for a more private tour. Unfortunately, the rain season causes park roads to get muddy and sometimes impassable in some areas.


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