Arusha is one of the fastest expanding cities in Tanzania. Situated halfway between Cairo and Cape Town, this former German military garrison is ideally located to grant visitors easy access to Tanzania’s most spectacular game reserve areas such as Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire Game reserve.
This proximity to prime sites including Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro, as well as Arusha’s part in political history, has earned the city two nicknames: The Geneva of Africa and Safari Town. The former as a hub for international diplomacy and peace efforts, as evidenced by the impeccable Arusha Conference Center, and the latter as evidenced by numerous safari vehicles with visitors who are just starting their northern safari circuit experience, making the city the magnet for tourism in Tanzania.
The city is also home to the International Criminal Tribunal.
If you start your tour by hiking the slopes of either of the two peaks, Meru and Kilimanjaro, you can have endless views of the expansive lands leading to game reserves that surround the mountains. The Serengeti in Tanzania and the Maasai Mara in faraway Kenya.
Blend of cultures
Arusha city also grants visitors an intriguing mix of cultures such as Indian, Swahili, European and American. You will also not miss the local people called Waarusha. This assortment of cultures will inevitably give you a chance to sample foods from around the world, including local cuisine. Grab a chance and visit the many restaurants and cafes and bars where you can savour both international and domestic cuisine, beers and wines.
Where to stay in Arusha
You can stay in Arusha for a day or two before embarking on your wildlife tour of northern Tanzania. Most Arusha accommodations are situated inside the city or within short distances. Two of the favourites are KIA LODGE and Arusha Coffee Lodge. These two offer top-notch guest services, great food and activities including spa treatments, cultural tours and coffee farm tours.
Other places that are favoured by visitors include:
Sightseeing in Arusha
Venturing out on excursions around Arusha gives you the opportunity to view an array of rich historical attractions and cultural heritage of the city. You can learn about the discovery of early man in Olduvai Gorge, the history of Arusha and interact with the local people and learn about Maasai authentic culture. While interacting with villagers, you can also learn about farming, family structures, and craftsmanship.
The Natural History Museum is also an excellent place to start and offers many photo exhibits of the digs, including print relics from Tanzania’s history.
Arusha national park
Located between Moshi and Arusha is the hidden treasure known as the Arusha National Park. This park, which covers 550 sq kms features a variety of ecosystems, such as swamps, crater lakes, grasslands, highland forests and much more.
This is the perfect destination for a picnic. While you relax after a sumptuous lunch, you may spot an eagle diving into one of the small lakes to catch a tilapia fish or view zebra, giraffe, warthog, bushbuck and other herbivores grazing at a distance. These are some of the prey animals that attract fewer predators, but if you’re looking for the Big Five, your guide will be able to steer you to a place they could be found. Remember, this is wild country, with wild animals roaming freely and not just standing around waiting to be spotted. The excitement of finding the animals is as much fun as seeing them.
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