A town in full flow, this is the hub for a northern safari
Once only a dusty town servicing the safari industry, Arusha has burgeoned into a thriving and energetic city and now holds the mantle of the second largest city in Tanzania, wrestled away from nearby Mwanza. What Arusha offers for many is as a stopping point to regroup either after a long international flight, in preparation or after a climb up Kilimanjaro, or as a “waiting room” before returning home…but this would be to miss out!
There is a truly wonderful atmosphere and energy to Arusha and we often recommend a stay of a couple of nights or so for those that are looking to see the day to day running of an African city and community, without being engulfed by the sheer size of cities such as Nairobi or Dar es Salaam. On top of this, it is a useful base for those looking to day trip out to the many working communities and projects that surround the city.
The city itself lies in the rain shadow of Mount Meru, the country’s fifth largest mountain, and at an elevation of around 1,500m. This altitude and temperate climate mean that, not only is the city an important hub for tourism, it has also become an important district for farming, which, as the world becomes more and more populated, could end up being one of Africa’s saving graces.
On the whole, many of the lodges that are on offer to tourists lie off the road that runs out of town, from Arusha to the nearby Moshi. This area was once a prolific producer of coffee and much of the accommodation is set in the leafy fields with views out to Mount Kilimanjaro on the horizon.
At a glance... Arusha
- Size 1.6 million inhabitants
- Location Northern Tanzania
- Recommended time 1 to 2 nights
- Time to visit Year round
- Activities Cultural visits, subsistence farming communities, Arusha National Park