Arusha and environs

Arusha is known as the safari capital of East Africa, position in the heart of the fertile agricultural lands at the foot of the towering Mt. Meru. At an altitude of around 4,500 feet, the small city is in the perfect position for accessing some of the major wildlife parks in East Africa such as  Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Arusha is approximately 1 ½ hours from the Kilimanjaro International Airport, has a small airport nearby that services scheduled flights to Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and most National Parks.  Major roads go the all Northern Parks, to Nairobi and to Dar es Sallam.

Built by the Germans as a centre of colonial administration in the early 20th century, Arusha was a sleepy town with a garrison stationed at the old boma and a few shops around a grassy roundabout. From its backwater status amidst the farmlands and plantations of northern Tanzania, today Arusha is one of the country’s most prosperous towns  with a population of 1,288,088, including 281,608 for the Arusha District (2002 census). The site for the United Nations Criminal Tribunal on the Rwandan genocide and the headquarters for the Tripartite commission for East African Co-operation, Arusha is a major centre of Tanzanian diplomacy and international relations.

The climate in Arusha is will be hot and dry in the day and in the evenings it could cool down so you might need something to keep you warm such as a fleece. Bring a shady hat as well.

Arusha is a bustling busy town during the day and has a number of good restaurants and quality bars, a museum at the old fort and lots of culture. There are also several nightclubs, though they may not be everyone’s idea of a good night out!  Arusha is a cosmpoltitain small city with some great places to visit such as Shanga River House as well some authentic and welcoming cultural tourism programs .

Arusha being at the foot of Mt Meru provides a perfect opportunity to scale the mountain. The hike to the top and back takes about 3 days. It has some of the best views around (only beaten by Kilimanjaro, it’s neighbor) with the summit at 4565 metres (14977 ft). It is freezing cold at the top, so highly recommended to bring warm mountain gear if you would like to hike Meru.


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