A gate to the Tanzanian world of safari
Arusha is a vibrant city in North Tanzania from where most safari trips start.
With Mount Meru majestically towering over the city and exotic green entwining its streets, Arusha is setting the mood for the visitors coming for safari adventures. Conveniently located just a 60-min ride from Kilimanjaro International Airport, Arusha is a great place to start your discovery of Tanzania. Hotels suiting all tastes and budgets are open all year round for safari enthusiasts.
And yet, Arusha is not only a city to spend a night before and after the main journey to Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Serengeti and other national parks. It’s also a place where you can see how African tradition and modernity combine into one. In the bustling streets of Arusha it is easy to spot Maasai warriors in their famous red robes mingled with tourists in khaki safari outfits and locals dressed in their bright clothing.
Arusha is also an important historical and political hub. Thus, apart from boasting authentic colonial architecture and a couple of museums, it also hosts a number of international organizations, such as East Africa Court of Justice and East African Community.
Cultural Heritage Center in Arusha, Tanzania
One of the most popular attractions in Arusha is the Cultural Heritage Center where you can find lots of exciting examples of both classic and contemporary African art and one of the largest collections of paintings in Tanzania. It is also the best place to buy souvenirs from Africa. A special exhibition stand with giant statues of local animals made of metal scraps is commonly loved by visitors. On the whole, the center is pretty large, and one should allow for at least half a day to explore it in full.
Overall, this city is surely worth visiting to learn more about the life and culture of East Africa.
Hotels in Arusha, Tanzania
Being one of the largest tourism centers in East Africa, Arusha can offer a lot of hotels for all tastes and budgets. Here you’ll find both luxury “boutique” lodges for a sophisticated traveller and no-frills hostels for a backpacker. Some are placed in quiet neighborhoods for a more reclusive experience, while others are in the very city center offering to plunge into the bustling city life.
For our safari programs starting from Arusha we have chosen a few reliable hospitality providers with excellent record and good reviews. We have been working with them for many years, and our team regularly visits these hotels with inspection trips to make sure that their standards meet our guests’ expectations.
We are also the first to know about the opening of new hotels and sights in the city. Whenever there is something new to experience, you will always be able to do that with Altezza Travel at the best price.
Weather in Arusha
There are two “dry seasons” in Tanzania. The first one starts in the middle of June and lasts until early October. After a short period of rains, sunny weather returns in the middle of December and lasts until early March.
This is when the number of other tourists in Arusha is high and the city life is most active. For those traveling alone this time is ideal to find company of like-minded travelers to share the fun.
The rainy seasons in Tanzania are from the middle of March through early June and from the middle of October until early December. Though this time is not popular with the tourists, it does not mean that you need to wait for the sunny days - the streets of Arusha are much less busy and everything around is lush green.
It is an option recommended for those who prefer to avoid the hustle of crowds.
The map of Arusha, Tanzania
With almost half a million population, Arusha is one of the largest cities in North Tanzania. A vibrant tourist destination and a regional business hub, this city has a relatively decent modern infrastructure if compared to other places in Tanzania.
Most tourist places like markets, luxury hotels and restaurants are located in the eastern and central parts of the city. Southern and western areas are mostly residential and industrial, though budget-level hostels and guest houses are scattered all over the city.
Some places worth visiting in Arusha include Tanzanite Experience shop, where you can buy the iconic gemstones at an affordable price, and Cultural Heritage Centre, the largest shop of local craft and an exhibition venue. Those interested in learning more about history and culture should plan a visit to the National Natural History and Arusha Declaration Museums.
Those interested in the nightlife will find a place to chill. Several dozen clubs, restaurants and barbeque cafes, where the assorted local crowd mingles with tourists, are always open for the party goers.
You will also find a lot of coffee plantations in Arusha, but most of them are located on the outskirts of the city. Apart from seeing for yourself how coffee is grown and prepared you’ll be exposed to a variety of cultural experiences.
What to do in Arusha?
The Roof of Africa (5895 m/19341 f), Mt Kilimanjaro offers unmatched, immersive adventure experiences. Reaching its peak is the achievement of a lifetime, featuring amazing encounters with the wildlife and captivating scenic vistas.
Safari in National Parks
The unrivalled reputation of a Tanzania safaris is well-justified. Probably, the only place where the impact of civilization on the natural environment is not yet noticeable, a journey to this African country will be an ideal vacation.
What time is it now in Arusha?
Arusha is in East African time zone, which is seven hours ahead of New York, two hours ahead of London and five hours behind Shanghai. Dubai is one hour ahead of Moshi.
Arusha Airport (ARK) is a regional airport connecting Arusha to the main tourism and business destinations in Tanzania and other countries of Africa. From here you can fly to Zanzibar, the cities of Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Mwanza, Mombasa and Kigali, the islands of Pemba and Mafia.
Also, certain airlines operate flights to National Parks. In about an hour you can get straight to Serengeti, Tarangire and Manyara. A trip to Ruaha or Selous will take a bit longer though.
This air hub is rather small and does not offer some of the services normally found in large international airports. Online check-in is rarely available, so it is recommended to come here 1.5 hours in advance. Besides, traffic jams, for which the whole of East Africa is notorious, are also a good reason to start off from your hotel a bit earlier.