Places to visit in Arusha

When you travel to Arusha, you will love to visit popular tourist spots and enjoy the local culture. Amongst other Things to do in Arusha, you can surely explore some of the best things to do in Arusha to make your trip a fulfilling one. On a trip to Arusha things to do can include exploring Arusha attractions and visiting the places of interest.

One of the closest national parks that border the Arusha town in the northern part is the ArushaNational Park. Often referred to as the multi-faceted jewel, this place is often overlooked by most safari goers, despite providing the best opportunity to explore the enticing diversity of animal habitats within few hours.

When entering through the gate, you are led through a shadowy montane forest that is mostly populated by blue monkeys and colorful turacos and trogons. This is the only place in the entire northern safari circuit where you will find the acrobatic black and white colobus monkey. In the middle of the park, there is the exhilarating Ngurdoto crater whose lofty rocky cliffs enclose a floor that is populated mostly by herds of buffalo and warthogs.

When moving further towards the north, the rolling grassy hills encompass the tranquil beauty of the Momela lakes which has their own distinct hue of green or blue. If lucky, you might also see its shallow waters turn a shade of pink as thousands of flamingoes flock there. The lake is an ornithologist’s paradise as it supports a rich selection of resident and migrant waterfowls. You will also get to see the shaggy waterbucks displaying their large horns on the water edges. The list of fauna does not end here as you will also get to view giraffes gliding across the hills between the slow-grazing zebras. The animal story would quickly unfold as you would also see dik-dikwith wide eyes who skits through the place into a scrubby bush like Mr. Rabbit of Alice in Wonderland. You will be eager to see the hole, and expect much more of these wonders to unfold.

One of the common sightings in ArushaNational Parkis elephants. However, lions are completely absent in the region. The predators include leopards and spotted hyenas that lurk around especially early morning or late afternoon. But, in afternoon mostly does the veil of cloud in the eastern horizon would clear and you would be captivated at the splendid peaks full of snow of Kilimanjaro which is only 30 miles away.

However, Kilimanjaro is not the place where the charm lies but its unassuming cousin Mt.Meru. It is the fifth largest peak in Africa and dominates the park’s horizon as if god created its foot slopes to encompass the park and keep it protected from the prying eyes of danger.

After you have passed through the wooded savannah near the foot hills of Meru where you will be greeted by the laid back giraffes and buffaloes, you will be soon ascending into a forest that is aflame with red pokers and Spanish moss. After some time, you will be soon greeted in the open with the high open heath spiked giant lobelias.

The overall park is about 212 sq miles and getting here would mean a 40 minute drive from Arusha. The crater and park can all be visited within a course of half day outing. However, you should remember that for hiking at Mt.Meru, you will get the permitfor 12 hours only.

Here, at Arusha National Park, you can take forest walks, go for numerous picnics or even climb Mt. Meru for three or four days.

There are no monuments in Arusha, yet you can find a few sculptures and religious monuments in the neighboring regions.

This time, do something different and let your kids soak in the rich culture of the African tribes. There are many tours that would allow them to come up close and personal with the tribes. While they let you understand their simple way of life, you would in turn help them with your contribution towards the tour that goes in their development costs.

Children would get excited because there are tours where you are taken to tour some of the farms on the green slopes of Mt.Meru. There are also visits conducted to several of development projects in villages like soil conservation, cross breeding, fish nursery etc. These tours also allow a climb to the Kivesi hills, which is an old volcano and has a natural forest on top. You also get to be up close with the Wa-arusha culture including legends, old houses and traditions. Lastly, the tour would be complete by being served a delicious lunch and dinner prepared by the Juhudi women folk. All the profit earned from these tours is collected and are being used to develop primary schools in the area.

This museum is housed inside an old German boma which is a fortified living compound. Built and completed by 1900, it currently has three parts. Of them, the best is the wing that is dedicated completely to define the evolution of humans. Most of the information is derived from the fossils that were excavated in Tanzania. The other wings contain displays on insects, history of Arusha during the German colonial era and multiple wildlife photos and mounts.

This is a place where there is a mix of art for sale as well as for exhibition. The gallery also houses residences for three artists at the back. The place is well known because it is the home to the Rock Art Project where you can get information on the Konda Rock art sites. This is the only place where you can garner a correct idea about them.

Besides these, Arusha also has a declaration museum which houses all details about important government officials.

Here people go to see varieties of snakes and other types of reptiles. This park also houses a corny yet informative Massai cultural museum which has replica of their homes and their lifestyle. You will also get to visit Massai warrior. You can also take a 30 minute camel ride to the Maasai village which is around 25 kms west of Arusha.

This place is near to Mount Meru which is the fifth highest peak in Africa. Basically a dormant volcano, this place was worshipped as a rain god by Meru and Arusha people. Here if you are interested in mountaineering or hiking, the mountain has a challengeful terrain but with some of the breathtaking sceneries. This is also an affordable alternative to Kilimanjaro.

Arusha has tours that abound in cultural activities of the tribal people. The traditions and cultures of Maassai, the Meru and many others are provided through first hand experience. Also, the proceedings collected are actually contributed towards the well-being and development of these people.

Besides Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru forming the major landmarks, there is another place in Arusha that serves as a famous one. The UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda Court has very little drama and has a number of questions, but it remains an interesting place especially to observe the UN’s attempt to bring justice to the perpetrators of Rwandan genocide. Most of the time, visitors are welcomed to check the court proceedings. Currently, there are only a handful of trials and appeals that need to be completed. 

A cheaper alternative to hiking Kilimanjaro, you can climb Mount Meru within the span of 2 to 4 days. There is no need of guides or porters to Meru. However, you may need to be escorted by rangers. Temperatures often reach freezing points, and therefore, it is important to be ready in warm clothes and sleeping bags.

Cultural excursions: The Tanzania tourist board holds excursions to nearby villages. The trip is worthwhile especially because of the human cultural element that exists in them.

This place offers a wide variety of restaurants and fine dining options with a predominance of Indian cuisine.

There are a number of bars and pubs in Arusha where you can visit with your friends and family and spend a great evening with some drinks and music.

Check out the fabulous handicrafts, homewares or even purchase to contribute to the development of the Maasai women, Arusha is a shopping destination that offers various shopping areas for those who are interested. From Schwari, to Mt. Meru Curios and Crafts Market, Arusha also has a mall called Cultural Heritage. If small shops do not interest you, then you can visit the Central Market or SokuKuu and stroll about for an hour or two.

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