Tanzania’s safari capital

The prosperous Arusha – the city of my roots – is the gateway to all the northern national parks of Tanzania and therefore often the starting point of many memorable safaris.

Arusha city is a nice place to relax after arriving at Kilimanjaro airport, and to acclimatize before your exciting safari starts.


  • Height 1.400 meter
  • Inhabitants 341.000
  • Spring rain season Around April
  • Fall rain seasonAround November

About Arusha city

Arusha city lies in a green, fertile environment against Mount Meru. It is a large and vast city with all its contradictions.
Just outside the city is the Arusha National Park, a gem for a day safari.

Culture and products in Arusha city

Location
Arusha city is located in the northern highlands of Tanzania, on the plateau – at an altitude of 1,400 meters – of the Great Rift Valley at the foot of Mount Meru. It lies between the Serengeti Plain, the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, the Olduvai Gorge and Mount Kilimanjaro.

Products
The service sector is the most important product of Arusha city; businesses, banks and tourism. Arusha city is also home to various breweries, agricultural and forest processing and a major pharmaceutical company. There’s an International Conference Center, the African Court of Human and People Rights and various non-governmental organizations.

Culture
Arusha city is a multicultural city with a predominantly Tanzanian population with a mixed background: indigenous Bantu, Arab-Tanzanian and Indian-Tanzanian population, plus a small white European and American minority group.

Religion
The religions of the Arushan people are Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu.

Climate and season in Arusha city

The climate in Arusha City is normally pleasant and mild. The dry season runs from June to September and there are two green seasons, with long rains from March to May and short rains from November to December.
The average annual temperatures are consistent: cool at night and rarely hot during the day.

June to October
The afternoon temperatures are around 19 degrees, with lots of sunny weather and clear skies. The night temperature is cool and is around 9 degrees. Occassionally, it freezes.

The temperatures in the green season are mild and comparable to the dry seasons. The temperatures are usually around 23 degrees during the day and around 11 degrees at night.

November and December
A 30-day period with the chance of short rains in the afternoon. The temperatures are around 22 degrees during the day and around 11 degrees in the early morning and evening.

January and February
This is a dry period between the rains.

March to May
The wettest months. It rains on most days, but rarely all day long. Clouds are common. The temperatures are around 21 degrees during the day and 12 degrees at night. Cold fronts occur in April and May.

Interesting facts

1. Arusha is considered the de facto capital of East Africa and is an important international diplomatic center of the country.

2. Arusha city is also called the Geneva of Africa, one of the most prosperous cities of Tanzania and a peaceful idyll of relaxation before the start of an exciting journey.

3. Since 1994, Arusha city has been hosting the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

4. Arusha city was first inhabited in the 1830s by the agro-pastoral Arusha Maasai from the Arusha Chini community, south of Kilimanjaro. They exchanged grains, honey, beer and tobacco with the pastoral Kisongo Maasai in exchange for livestock, milk, meat and skins.

5. Although Arusha city is close to the equator, its high location on the southern slopes of Mount Meru keeps temperatures and humidity relatively low.

6. “Arusha city is the city of my roots. I have lived here for 13 years,” said Marjolijn Pronk, founder and owner of Explore Tanzania.

Activities

Arusha city is more than a quick stop.
It’s a nice city for a few nights, where you can undertake everything: culture, nature, a city tour or a day of cycling.

City tour

During the walk in Arusha city you’ll visit various sights in the center and the villages around Arusha city.
You visit the large market where people come to sell herbs, spices and tropical fruits. For a true local experience, visit the “Kilombero Daladala Terminal”: the local bus station. A Daladala is a local bus that is used a lot.
Or visit the Arusha Museum and learn more about the different tribes in Tanzania and the resources that the country has.
Pay a visit to a local pub and have lunch in a local restaurant.
Lastly, you shouldn’t miss the big Maasai market. This is the place where the most beautiful souvenirs are made on the spot. Beadwork, wooden statues, slippers, fabrics, bags, bracelets etc.

Cycling

Arusha region is a wonderful area to explore local life and nature by bike. You cycle via narrow paths through villages, plantations and farmlands.
Choose a trip that lasts a few hours or the entire day!

2 hour mountain bike ride: through USA River and Tengeru, Arusha
This is a short and easy bike ride on mainly narrow paths along fields and villages on the outskirts of Arusha. It is a flat ride during which you encounter many local Tanzanian farmers, children and plantations along the way. The ride is partly in the shade.
Equipment: Merida and Titan mountain bikes and helmets
Level: easy
Time: 2 hours, morning or afternoon

Half day mountain bike ride: through USA River, Tengeru and Mount Meru
During this bike ride you cycle through the villages of USA River and Tengeru on the outskirts of the city of Arusha. You cycle through sandy paths through villages and plantations. Part of this mountain bike safari is on the low slopes of Mount Meru where large farmlands lie.
The majority of the trails are in moderate to good condition.
Equipment: Merida and Titan mountain bikes and helmets
Level: moderate to high
Time: 3 hours, morning or afternoon

Full day mountain bike ride: through USA River, Tengeru and Mount Meru
You cycle through the villages of USA River and Tengeru to the slopes of Mount Meru. The bike ride is strenuous because you cycle on narrow and steep forest paths. The paths are moderate to good.
Uitrusting: Merida and Titan mountain bikes and helmets
Level: high
Time: morning and afternoon

Horse riding

You can make beautiful trips on horseback in Arusha, with a view of the mountains Kilimanjaro and Meru. The tour is suitable for all beginners and experienced riders. If you have little experience, you can take a quiet horse-riding safari on good paths where wildebeests and antelopes regularly graze. You’re guided by experienced guides.

Animals in the area

There are no wild animals in Arusha city, just the usual pets and birds.

In the nearby Arusha National Park you can indulge again, with the giraffes, buffalo and zebras.

Would you like an authentic stay in Arusha city too?

Have a look at other example trips that can be fully adapted to your wishes or contact us directly!

example trips trip advice

Stays in Arusha city

All properties in Arusha city have been selected with care.
Small-scale, hospitality and quality are paramount.