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    5 must-do’s in Arusha

    10 minutes read
    What to do in Arusha

    Arusha, the core of Tanzania’s northern safari journey, is abundant with exciting experiences. Home to the Serengeti National Park, Arusha National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara National Park, and Tarangire National Park, Arusha promises a fun and thrilling adventure.

    At noon, Arusha bursts with life. A businessman chuckles on a motorcycle, a Maasai warrior in traditional attire wanders by, and a woman carrying bananas brightens the streets. Everywhere you step, locals greet you with warm smiles.

    The aroma of barbequed chicken lures you to a corner restaurant. A local artist steps up, showcasing a painting of a massive volcano. To your surprise, Mount Meru is visible behind the city skyline.

    Entranced, you purchase the artwork and soak in Arusha’s swirling energy—experience firsthand the enchanting aura of this bustling city.

    Welcome to Arusha, center of known safari universe!

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    In Arusha, every minute counts, and there’s a ton to experience. Start with the magnificent national parks near the city, each a haven for wildlife and landscapes. Then dive into Arusha town’s beat, with its lively markets and friendly faces.

    Take advantage of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro – even the base view will awaken you! Go to the Arusha Cultural Heritage Centre to explore Tanzania’s art and history. Finally, satiate your taste buds with local flavours, from street meals to fine dining.

    So, even if you’re time-pressed, these gems will give you a vibrant taste of Arusha’s charm and splendour. Trust us—this electrifying city is worth every second!

    The 5 Arusha must do’s:

    With just a day or half a day in Arusha, consider taking a delightful detour to Arusha Coffee Lodge for a relaxing stroll and a taste of Tanzanian coffee. Make the most of your time by exploring nearby national parks that showcase Tanzania’s stunning wildlife.

    Swing by the bustling Arusha town with its lively markets and friendly locals, enriching your cultural understanding at the Arusha Cultural Heritage Centre. Finally, indulge your adventure with local cuisine at an authentic eatery.

    In a gist, each of these experiences promises a taste of Arusha’s radiant culture and natural beauty. Want some more, specifically? Here are five Must-Do’s in Arusha:

    Browse the Markets

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    Arusha Tanzania is a shopper’s dream, perfect for anyone searching for gifts or fabrics. Start your exploring in the dynamic Northern Circuit area. It’s home to the famous Arusha Clock Tower, a landmark worth your time.

    The Arusha Central Market and the Maasai Market are ideal for those who love a good bargain. Both places are full of colourful local items, perfect for day trips.

    Ensure you also visit the lively local farmers’ markets. Here, you’ll find fresh produce and a vibrant atmosphere that truly captures the spirit of Arusha.

    Go to the National Natural History Museum


    The Natural History Center, undoubtedly the best museum in the Arusha region, is a must-visit if your travel is only complete with diving deep into the world of museums. This museum does an outstanding job of chronicling human evolution, a narrative particularly significant given that Tanzania sits at the geographical heart of the human story.

    In addition to its human history exhibits, you’ll also find strong connections to the local community. You might even discover local art galleries featuring works that reflect the region’s rich cultural tapestry. This certainly adds a robust layer to your Arusha adventure!

    Visit Shanga

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    In your visit to Arusha, take advantage of the chance to experience the warmth and spirit of Shanga, a nonprofit organization nestled in Northern Tanzania. Employing over 70 talented Tanzanian individuals with disabilities, Shanga provides opportunities to engage in glassblowing, weaving, and textiles.

    As you explore the local markets of Arusha, take the time to meet these inspiring workers and create lasting memories through their incredible stories and beautiful creations. It is the perfect embodiment of the fantastic Arushan community spirit.

    Buy Some Tanzanite Stones

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    While you visit Arusha in East Africa, dive into the legendary lore of Tanzanite, a breathtaking blue gemstone said to be a thousand times rarer than diamonds. The local Maasai recounts tales of its discovery; supposedly, a lightning bolt turned nearby stones an enchanting blue.

    Though tectonics and continental uplift provide a more scientific explanation, there’s no denying that Tanzanite is a unique treasure, native only to this part of the world. So, seize the opportunity to seek it out while in Tanzania.

    This rare yet affordable gemstone is available at various jewellers and stores in Arusha, with The Tanzanite Experience offering the most insightful tour in town. This gem, like the city of Arusha itself, is truly one of a kind.

    Day Trip to Lake Duluti

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    Just a short 10-mile drive from Arusha, discover a hidden gem in Lake Duluti, a serene escape offering breathtaking views of forests and volcanoes. This oasis is not only for nature lovers but also provides a sanctuary for birdwatchers and those seeking tranquil moments amidst the sounds of water.

    With over 130 identified bird species, Lake Duluti is genuinely an ornithologist’s paradise. Keep your binoculars and camera handy, as you will find reptiles like monitor lizards lurking in the dense vegetation or soaking up the sun on the shorelines.

    For a more immersive and adventurous experience, renting a canoe is highly recommended. Canoes are available at a reasonable rate, letting you paddle through the calm waters and take in the lake’s astounding beauty up close. As you navigate the lake’s perimeter, listen to its tranquil silence and enjoy the lush greenery.

    Other Things You Can Do in Arusha

    Kilimanjaro National Park offers various accommodations for every traveler’s preferences and budget. From luxury lodges to cozy guesthouses, you’ll find a place to relax and rejuvenate after your adventures.

    1. Visit Meserani Snake Park

    Arusha, the gateway to Tanzania’s world-famous national parks, is not only about wildlife reserves. Situated just 15 miles west of Arusha, the Meserani Snake Park is an equally thrilling locale that offers an intriguing encounter with some of the world’s deadliest snakes.

    A safe, controlled environment allows you to observe a large variety of snakes, including venomous and non-venomous species, from a close range. Visitors also get the rare chance to attend an informative and engaging tour guided by knowledgeable handlers about different snake species, their behaviour, and much more.

    For those seeking a bit more adrenaline, the park provides an opportunity to hold a live snake under careful supervision. Its unique educational experience combined with a tinge of adventure makes Meserani Snake Park a must-visit for everyone seeking to add a thrilling chapter to their Arusha tale.

    2. Go to the Maasai Cultural Museum

    Are you a culture lover looking to soak in unique and rich traditions? Pack your curiosity and head to the Maasai Cultural Museum in Arusha. Located near the Meserani Snake Park, the museum is a treasure trove offering a unique window into the fascinating world of the Maasai people.

    From the moment you enter, you’ll be whisked away on a journey filled with captivating history, vibrant culture, and age-old traditions that have withstood the test of time. Online exhibits? Think again! Here, you can engage with many artefacts, traditional Maasai jewellery, clothing, and homestead replicas.

    The museum’s knowledgeable guides breathe life into these inanimate objects and weave enchanting tales about the Maasai people’s brave warriors, their nomadic lifestyle, and their deep-rooted beliefs in harmonious co-existence with nature.

    Don’t just be a tourist, be a cultural explorer! Immerse yourself in the Maasai way of life and leave with a deepened appreciation of their resilient spirit and sustainable lifestyle. The Maasai Cultural Museum is your passport to an authentic Maasai experience, bringing you closer to understanding the depth of Tanzanian history and culture.

    So what are you waiting for? Explore, ignite your imagination, and embark on a cultural escapade you will remember soon!

    3. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

    Are you dreaming of reaching the rooftop of Africa? Strap on your climbing boots and gear up for the adventure of a lifetime—climbing Kilimanjaro! Towering over the breathtaking Tanzanian landscape, Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most approachable high-altitude treks and is Africa’s highest peak.

    Bask in the glory of the snow-capped Uhuru Peak, the highest point of the mountain, standing proud at 5,895 meters. But it’s not all about the summit. Your journey to the top takes you across dramatic landscapes, from green rainforests filled with chattering wildlife to desert terrains and a winter wonderland.

    Brace yourself for refreshingly chilly morning treks, pleasant afternoon hikes, and star-studded night-time canvases while you camp in the shadow of this majestic mountain. This mountain is more than just a topographical wonder; it’s an achievement and an experience that will test your physical and mental limits.

    But don’t worry; you’ll be led by experienced and encouraging guides who will be with you every step, ensuring your climb is safe and exhilarating. Their local knowledge, supportive attitude, and captivating stories keep the journey lively, and the atmosphere on the trek is always filled with camaraderie and laughter amongst the challenges.

    4. Visit the Ngorongoro Crater

    Pack your safari hats and binoculars. We’re going on an epic excursion to the Ngorongoro Crater! Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and often called the “Garden of Eden”, Ngorongoro Crater is a colossal natural amphitheatre teeming with wildlife.

    Hop on a safari jeep and strap in for a ride across the crater floor, a surreal landscape that hosts Africa’s iconic Big Five – lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards, and rhinos. But hold on, the party doesn’t stop at the Big Five.

    The Crater is a riot of life with zebras cheering you on, plucky warthogs trotting by, and pink clouds of flamingos creating a spectacle against the blue waters of Lake Magadi. After an eventful day tracking wildlife:

    – Pack up your memories.

    – Throw in a few fantastic sunset photos for good measure.

    – Bid goodbye to Ngorongoro, enriched and pleasantly exhausted from the thrill of the day.

    5. See History Unfolding at the Old Boma Museum

    Think of clear turquoise waters surrounded by lush greenery; now, imagine dipping into it. Welcome to the Chemka Springs, a blissful natural jacuzzi nestled within a tranquil patch of woodland.

    The crystal-clear, warm waters from underground springs offer the perfect area to unwind after a hectic safari day. Swim around, soak in the soothing warmth of the springs, or lounge in the gentle shade of the surrounding trees.

    The lagoon-like setting of the Chemka Hot Springs provides an idyllic locale to relax, rejuvenate and engage in playful water games. So, remember to pack your swimwear because a dip in the Chemka Hot Springs is a must-do on your Arusha itinerary!

    6. Delight in a Coffee Plantation Tour

    Calling all coffee enthusiasts! Venture beyond the cafe scene and dive headfirst into the aromatic world of coffee with a plantation tour. Stroll through verdant plantations, where the air is filled with the tantalizing aroma of the coffee cherries.

    Discover the journey of a coffee bean, from being handpicked in the fields to being expertly roasted. The highlight? A hands-on coffee processing session where you get the chance to grind coffee the traditional way.

    Drink it with a freshly brewed sample straight from the fields, delivering robust flavours that ignite your senses. This authentic coffee plantation tour in Arusha is an immersive experience not to be missed!

    7. Soak in the Scenery on Hot Air Balloon Safaris

    Have you ever dreamed of gliding quietly over African plains, observing herds of wildlife as the day unfolds? Arusha grants this wish with its awe-inspiring hot air balloon safaris, elevating your safari experience to new heights.

    As you ascend, the vastness of the landscape unravels beneath you, presenting a completely different perspective from the ground. Watch the sun’s colour change to orange and pink, illuminating the wilderness below.

    From the calm of the open sky, observe the casual trudge of elephants, the swift gallop of gazelles, and the stealthy stalk of big cats. Get ready to have your breath taken away as a hot air balloon safari in Arusha offers scenic indulgence that will forever remain etched in your memory.

    Getting you there?

    Ready to plan a trip of a lifetime? Contact Easy Travel and start creating your dream Tanzania trip today. Interested in finding out more about Arusha National Park? Click here.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. What are the top attractions to visit in Arusha?

    Arusha, often called the “Safari Capital,” offers many attractions that authentically taste Tanzania. Safari tours to the Serengeti National Park or the Ngorongoro Crater are a must, offering chances to see the Big Five and a variety of other wildlife grazing in their natural habitat.

    The culturally rich Maasai Cultural Museum lets you delve into the Maasai people’s traditions and history. Head to Chemka Hot Springs for a refreshing dip for a relaxing day. Finally, seize the Old Boma Museum to glimpse Tanzania’s colonial past.

    2. Is a hot air balloon safari worth doing in Arusha?

    A Hot Air Balloon Safari offers a bird’s eye view of Arusha’s stunning landscapes and wildlife. It’s an exceptional experience to float serenely above the plains, watching the sunrise over the African wilderness.

    Observing the wild animals from the calm of the open sky offers an entirely different perspective than a ground safari does. This exhilarating experience, coupled with a traditional champagne breakfast upon landing, makes it a memory that will last a lifetime.

    3. What should I not miss when visiting Arusha?

    When visiting Arusha, there’s one thing you cannot afford to miss – a visit to Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s the highest peak in Africa and offers one of the world’s most approachable high-altitude treks.

    Whether you challenge yourself with the trek or admire the snow-capped mountain from a distance, Mount Kilimanjaro is a sight to behold. Additionally, try to experience a local coffee plantation tour to understand the journey of your morning cuppa.

    4. Can I experience local Maasai culture in Arusha?

    Yes, you can. The Maasai Cultural Museum in Arusha provides a window into the world of the Maasai people. Here, you’ll learn about their brave warriors, their nomadic lifestyle, and their respect for nature.

    You can explore traditional Maasai artefacts, clothing, and jewellery with knowledgeable guides to provide insight. This cultural immersion museum offers a rich and authentic experience of the Maasai way of life.

    5. What are some unique outdoor activities in Arusha?

    Arusha offers a range of unique outdoor adventures. A safari in the Ngorongoro Crater presents a giant outdoor amphitheatre filled with diverse wildlife. For the more adventurous, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro provides a remarkable mental and physical challenge.

    Relaxation seekers might prefer lounging at the Chemka Hot Springs, a peaceful natural oasis. Finally, nothing beats the surreal experience of a Hot Air Balloon Safari, offering spectacular views of Arusha’s landscape and wildlife from above.

    Musaddiq Gulamhussein - Owner - Easy Travel Tanzania

    About the author: Musaddiq

    Meet Musaddiq Gulamhussein, owner of Easy Travel Tanzania, a tour company creating life-changing safari experiences for over 35 years. Musaddiq has explored Tanzania, developing a deep understanding of the local cultures and traditions. Follow his journey and gain insights into the African Safari experience through Easy Travel's social media and blog.

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