Arusha is located at the foot of Mount Meru and is the largest city in northern Tanzania. Often regarded as the starting point of the northern safari circuit, it is so commercially vibrant that a major airport, Kilimanjaro had to be constructed to cater for a large number of tourists looking to visit the expansive national parks and mountains. Aside from visitors, the city is also home to a number of international agencies and hosts a sizeable number of expatriate workers.
But if you’re not planning to visit the national parks, then we have a few tips for what you can do if you can opt to stay in the city for a few days.
Don't let the upbeat hustle and bustle of the city distract you. It may not look like there are places for relaxing but if you look closely, you will find small oases of relaxation and peace just off the chaotic streets. There is also a vibrant nightlife scene in Arusha. If your passion is venturing out for dancing or having a few drinks and Nyama Choma with friends, Arusha has you covered. Here are four fun things to do in Arusha:
If you’re just back from the gruelling safari circuit or just visiting the city, you can relax and have a cocktail at The Mulberry. You can sit in the garden, have lunch or dinner. The atmosphere at Mulberry is just perfect for revitalizing and refuelling your energy. You can also read a book, watch the street scene and see how Tanzanians spend their days.
A few meters from the Arusha clock tower is the Themi Living Gardens. This is the perfect place for a typical Tanzanian meal every day of the week. For just a few Tanzanian shillings you can dig into a feast fit for a king. And have more to spare afterward. The choices range from Pilau, Birhani, Samaki Ugali, Chapati Kuku, Nyama Choma. All washed down with copious amounts of Serengeti Beer. Later, you can stroll through the beautiful garden which is full information about the country and its people.
If you’re the adventurous type and have time to spare then don’t miss out on a visit to Maasai market. Situated around the clock tower, here you will find some of the most original artefacts and souvenirs that Tanzanian culture can produce. From Makonde masks to Maasai spears, brightly colored kitenge clothing and spices.
The Arusha Cultural Center is located on the outskirts of the city. The center is home to a modern museum which contains the biggest collection of art from all over Africa. You will find woodcrafts, utensils, weapons, furniture, and statues.
You can also view gems and jewelry inside the main building. The owner, nicknamed “King of Tanzanite” Mr. Saif will welcome you jovially. He has a wealth of knowledge about the minerals available locally and especially the brand Tanzanite, which is a blue-violet stone that is unique in this part of the world and can only be found in Tanzania.
There is also a chance to learn about the Tanzania struggle for independence from colonialism. It is open every day from 8 am to 6pm, and everyone is welcome after paying a small fee.
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