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The gateway city to Tanzania’s safaris and mountain treks

You’ll most likely fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport if you’re looking to scale Mount Kilimanjaro or witness the annual Great Migration of the region’s wildlife, including wildebeest and zebra, as they move across the Serengeti into Kenya’s Maasai Mara and vice versa.

The city of Arusha is the capital of the Arusha Region of Tanzania, located in the northeast of the country, close to the Kenyan border, and directly below Mount Meru. It’s the perfect base for trips to Serengeti National Park, Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tarangire National Park, Arusha National Park and of course, Mount Kilimanjaro, among other famous sites.

Arusha is a multi-cultural city and a major diplomatic hub; between 1994 and 2015, the city hosted the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and is currently the headquarters for the East African Community (EAC).

Today, the population includes Tanzanians, indigenous Africans, Arab-Tanzanians, Indian-Tanzanians, as well as a small European and American community.

If you have time before starting your Tanzania safari, Kilimanjaro trek or tour of this colourful country, you may wish to explore Arusha and get to know what life is like in a busy Tanzanian city.

The lush surroundings and temperate climate (Arusha sits around 1,300 metres above sea level) means that it’s a great starting point for your African adventure if you’re apprehensive about the heat.

One interesting thing to do in Arusha is to take a trip out to a local village to learn about rural life in the region. These cultural tourism programs usually include a short hike and activities in the village you visit, as well as options for camping and home stays.

Ask ahead if this is something you would be interested in, as there are many of these programs available and it can be difficult to know just how much the local community is benefiting from your visit. We are more than happy to organise this activity for you, through a reputable provider.

Another tip is to be mindful of the many touting street sellers in Arusha offering safaris, souvenirs and other deals – some of these may be genuine, but many are not.

Even if you’re just staying one night in Arusha, make sure you take advantage of the great food and drink options available in the city. Arusha is home to pretty garden cafes, a vibrant pub scene and lively nightlife, including a growing interest in live music.

Your stay in Arusha may be short and sweet, but this exciting city is a great introduction to Tanzania, offering a taste of what East Africa has to offer.

Call us on +44 117 313 3300 to start planning your holiday, we’re looking forward to hearing from you


Best times to visit Arusha

Tanzania can be visited year-round, with benefits to both the wet and the dry seasons. The dry season (July to October) is the best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and see the Great Migration across the Serengeti, as well as other wildlife sightings. The wet season (December to June) brings thousands of bird species to the country and spring’s post-calving season is the best time to see local wildlife with young offspring.

The city of Arusha has a temperate climate all year, mostly due to the high altitude. Festivals to look out for include Oktoberfest (a remnant of the German colonial era), religious holidays (the city is home to Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh communities) as well as regular local events typical of a modern city.

Tanzania monthly weather chart

Featured Holidays

Several of our Tanzania holidays include tours in Arusha, as this city is a major hub for excursions such as safaris and mountain treks. Our Mount Kilimanjaro trekking adventures include two nights in Arusha (both the Machame and Lemosho routes), as does our Tanzania Great Migration Safari tour. If you’d like to spend more time in Arusha, let us know and we’ll add this time to your tailor made travel itinerary.

Call us on +44 117 313 3300 to start planning your holiday, we’re looking forward to hearing from you


Lodges & Camps in Arusha

Our trips to Arusha include stays at a number of the lovely guesthouses and hotels in the city. Arusha Coffee Lodge is perched on the foothills of Mount Meru and home to its own coffee plantation (where you can also take a tour of the coffee estate) and Arusha Serena Lodge, which is part of the luxury Serena hotel family and located in a former coffee farm. The Serena property includes lakeside breakfasts with stunning views over the water and pampering treatments at a state-of-the-art spa.

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Find out more and tailor your perfect trip with the help of
our specialist team on +44 117 313 3300