Surrounded by some of the most fascinating and varied national parks in Africa, Arusha sits snugly in a wide expanse of fertile volcanic land in the foothills of Kilimanjaro's little brother, Mount Meru. Arusha is the starting point for Tanzania's Northern Circuit safaris; many safaris start from here every day. But viewing Arusha simply as a safari centre is not doing it justice; it really is one of Tanzania's beautiful regions and the town itself has a very welcoming feel.
Arusha is at the heart of Tanzania's safari industry – virtually everyone visiting Tanzania’s Northern parks will travel through this town. The streets are lined with tour operators selling safaris, and 4x4’s seem to be setting off at every turn. However, Arusha is definitely more than just a safari town; it has superb views of Kilimanjaro and with a number of coffee plantations situated around the edge of town, it is a great place to stay for a day or two before heading out on safari.
Arusha National Park is also a great distraction for a full or half day game drive. Although the park lacks predators, it is unquestionably beautiful. It is very quiet and has a wide variety of animals and superb birdlife. You can also spend an afternoon canoeing on the lake - a great thing to do if you have a late flight home! The main feature of the park is Mount Meru, which is much more of a technical climb than Kilimanjaro, and a great challenge for more experienced climbers.
There are hotels both inside the town centre and a number of coffee plantations set roughly 30 minutes drive outside. The Impala Hotel or Roy Safaris' African Tulip provides good budget accommodation. We prefer a more personal, atmospheric experience, and wholly recommend the four bedroom Onsea House - an instant hit at such a good price - followed closely by Rivertrees and Elewana’s luxurious, although pricey, Arusha Coffee Lodge
While we try and make our website as comprehensive as possible, if you would like some more background information on Arusha, or Tanzania in general, have a read through the Cadogan Guide to Tanzania and Zanzibar,
written by our director Annabel. The most recent edition was published in 2005 so some of it might be slightly dated but generally it’s as comprehensive as they come.