Arusha is a city in north eastern Tanzania and the capital of the Region, with a population of 416,442 plus 323,198 in the surrounding Arusha District (2012 census).
Located below Mount Meru on the eastern edge of the eastern branch of the Great Rift Valley, Arusha has a temperate climate. The city is close to the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara National Park, Olduvai Gorge, Tarangire National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, and Arusha National Park on Mount Meru.
This is a major international diplomatic hub. It hosts the East African Community. From 1994 to 2015, the city also hosted the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, but that entity has ceased operations.
It is a multicultural city with a majority Tanzanian population of mixed backgrounds: indigenous African, Arab-Tanzanian and Indian-Tanzanian population, plus a small European and an American minority population. Religions of the Arushan population include Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism.
Where to Travel in Arusha
The attractive little town of Arusha is situated beneath the towering peaks of Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro. Renowned as the safari capital of Tanzania, it offers a plethora of attractions and adventures.
The town has numerous first-class restaurants, bars and markets, and is the ideal place to spend a few relaxing days before embarking on a safari or attempting to scale Kilimanjaro.
Highlights include the Arusha National Park in Ngurdoto Crater, the National Natural History Museum and the ancient Laetoli Footprint, set in volcanic ash, as well as the beautiful coffee plantations that dot the landscape.
Tourism is also a major part of the economy of this city, and the largest dollar-earning economic sector in Tanzania. The city is located on the northern safari circuit near some of the greatest national parks and game reserves in Africa, including Serengeti National Park, Kilimanjaro National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Arusha National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, and Tarangire National Park.
Arusha City Map
How to get to Arusha
There are two airports near Arusha. Arusha Airport is a domestic airport with only a few daily flights. It is 15 minutes from the town centre, and it is often the starting point for safaris.
Kilimanjaro International Airport receives daily flights from domestic, African, and international airlines. This airport is around 45 minutes from the centre and a taxi to the airport will cost around $50. Some drivers may accept a cheaper fare, but you will need to haggle.
If you are travelling from Kilimanjaro Airport to the local Arusha airport, allow at least one hour for the journey.
Getting Around Arusha
It is possible to rent a car in Arusha but parking costs $0.50 per day throughout the city. It is far more common to hire a driver, and this is particularly useful for daytrips to Arusha National Park. If you are renting a vehicle, make sure that there is no charge for ‘extra kilometres’, as this can become expensive.
Dala dalas (small minibuses) are common throughout Tanzania and these only depart when they are full. They cost 400 TSH/person and they operate along the major roads throughout the day. You will find a large station on Stadium Street.
You can also take a bajaji (tuk-tuk) for a one-dollar ride to the city centre. None of these options are particularly comfortable or safe, but they do offer an authentic Tanzanian experience.
Taxis are available and they can usually be found parked in front of hotels. A ride across town should not cost more than $2.50.
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