Arusha is a city in northern Tanzania near the Kenyan border. Located at the base of Mount Meru, the geographical location of this city makes it one of the best tourist destinations in all of Tanzania since it’s considered a gateway for the many natural attractions, national parks, and conservatories surrounding it.
That is why Arusha is considered by many the “safari capital of the world.
” We’re not sure about the world, but it is the safari capital of Tanzania!
Arusha is a multicultural city, and the residents come from different ethnic backgrounds, not all of them indigenous African. Aside from the people with Asian heritage, like Arab and Indian, Arusha has a surprisingly large White population. People in Arusha are Christian, Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu, all freely attending their worship places.
The National Natural History Museum in Arusha is a great place to learn about the city’s history, the native tribes and their tradition, and the local plants and animals of the region.
Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park is the heart of the Serengeti Region. This internationally famous natural attraction is on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. The number of animals found here is just astonishing. Every animal of the African savanna you can think of can probably be found here.
The Acacia plains’ dynamic ecosystem is home to Hyenas, Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Hippos, Wildebeests, Zebra, Buffalos, Rhinos, Giraffes, Cheetahs, and numerous bird species. Many campsites and safaris are also available here, of course. If there is a list of the top ten national parks in Africa, Serengeti is somewhere on top. So don’t miss what many consider the best national park in Africa.
Arusha National Park
This national park, situated right outside the city and on the eastern hills of mount Meru, is one of the city’s main attractions. The park offers many activities like game viewing, bird watching, mountain trekking to the top of Mount Meru, camping, game drives, horse rides, and canoeing at the Momella Lakes.
The park does not include any lions, but you can expect to find abundant giraffes, zebras, baboons, elephants, buffalos, and monkeys. Located two hours from the city, this park is the most readily accessible on our list.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is situated west of Arusha and includes vast highland plains, forests, savanna, and woodlands. The area is inhabited by Maasai people, primarily active in traditional livestock grazing fields. Because of Ngorongoro’s biodiversity, variety of wildlife, and housing of endangered species, this conservation area has gained regional and national importance.
Unlike Arusha National Park, this one has lions! Actually, it is home to the Big Five game animals: lions, elephants, leopards, rhinoceroses, and the African Buffalos.
Lake Manyara National Park
The main attraction of this park is the tree-climbing lions. There are only two major groups of lions that exhibit such behavior. One is in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. The other one is here, in Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania. So, take your chances and visit this park if you stay in Tanzania; you won’t be disappointed.
Ol Doinyo Lengai, “Mountain of God”
Due to the extremity of its geology, steep hills, and being an active volcano, a hike to the top is possible but difficult. The hike to the summit alone can take between 5 to 8 hours, and the descent can be even more challenging.
It would be best if you were physically prepared to undertake this endeavor. The view from atop the peak is breathtaking, though. It may be worth the visit if mountain hikes are your thing.
Visitors to Arusha can enter the city via the Kilimanjaro International Airport and Arusha Airport. The first serves international travelers to Arusha, while Arusha Airport is mainly used for domestic flights. Travelers may take the bus (privately run) to get to Arusha from neighboring regions.
Tanzania’s public minibuses or vans are generally referred to as dala dala, similar to Kenyan matatus. They are widely available and don’t cost much. Taxis, Uber, and rental cars are also available.
The proximity to Mount Meru and the Great Rift Valley has made Arusha’s climate mild and temperate, with an almost consistent average temperature around the year. If we are to suggest a period preferable for tourist activities, that would probably fall somewhere between mid-July to mid-October, during the dry season. That being said, you can enjoy an Arusha tour throughout the year.