Situated in a natural bowl at the base of Mount Meru, visiting Arusha is an exploration of contemporary multicultural Tanzania. Functional rather than immediately attractive, its Maasai population, proud in their traditional red checked shuka cloth, are the most obvious manifestation of this. But you’ll also find Tanzanians with Arab and Indian ancestry, alongside a small European expat community.
Arusha is home to northern Tanzania’s largest airport, Kilimanjaro International, pointing to its importance as a gateway to trekking Mount Kilimanjaro and the country’s famed northern safari circuit. As a result, safari goers in Tanzania are more than likely to spend at least one night in Arusha. Flights from Arusha link the city with Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, as well as regional hubs such as Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and Nairobi (Kenya). Flights from Arusha also include those to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines, from where onward connections link 270 destinations worldwide.
Things to do in Arusha include visiting the National Natural History Museum, located within a German boma (fortification) built in the early 1900s. Its collection includes fossilized evidence of early man from Olduvai Gorge UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other top attractions in Arusha include Arusha National Park. Comprising the summit of Mount Meru, it offers views towards Mount Kilimanjaro, alkaline lakes popular with flamingo, and grassland crater areas favored by giraffe, zebra, elephant, and even leopard.
The best accommodation in Arusha is located in the stunning countryside surrounding the city. Many offer the chance to experience East Africa much as it was a century ago, with coffee plantations providing high-end guest lodgings amid cool mountain air, attractive gardens, and a backdrop of nightly stars.
Top Tanzania Travel Destinations
Gombe Stream National Park / Lake Manyara National Park / Mahale Mountains National Park / Mount Kilimanjaro / Ngorongoro Conservation Area / Nyerere National Park / Serengeti National Park / Tarangire National Park / Zanzibar