Situated in the northeastern tip on Tanzania, at the foot of Mount Meru, Arusha is the biggest city in northern Tanzania and home to more than 1 million people. Often only regarded as a good starting point for safaris, the city has a lot to offer and it’s worth spending a few days there.
If you’ve got time to spare before starting your trek or safari, here are a few attractions worth exploring in and around Arusha:
1. Maji Moto Hot Spring
Maji Moto (Swahili for ‘hot water’) is an oasis in the dry Maasai land, just 2 hours from Arusha. Surrounded by palms and fig trees, Maji Moto is a natural outlet for an underground spring. The sapphire water is the perfect temperature for swimming and is crystal clear to the bottom. It is a little piece of hidden paradise!
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2. Kilimanjaro Day Trip
A day trip to Kilimanjaro is a good option for those not wanting to climb the mountain but still wanting to experience a taste of its magic. Mandara Hut is at 2700m and can be reached after a 3-4 hour hike through the lush rainforest. Hikers can then enjoy lunch at the huts with a great view of the Moshi district.
3. Canoe Trip through Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park is just outside of the city. While most people experience a safari in an open-roofed truck, a scenic canoe safari is a great way to experience the beauty of Tanzania. Momella Lake, in the heart of Arusha, offers the perfect opportunities for a canoe safari and to witness animals in their natural environment without disturbing them. It is an activity that should not be overlooked when in Arusha.
4. Grab a bite to eat in the Themi Living Gardens
The Themi Living Garden is hidden in the heart of Arusha and offers a wonderful setting for a lunch spot. The Themi Living Garden is a women-lead community centre and part of a project implemented by Italian NGO Istituto Oikos. The project promotes sustainable gardening in Arusha as a way to improve nutrition, employment and income for people with disabilities or care takers of disabled people. The food is fresh, organic, vegetarian and served with love by the ladies. It is the first eco-restaurant in Tanzania.
These are just a few of the many activities on offer in and around Arusha. Other notable attractions include the Olpopongi Maasai Cultural Village & Museum, The Natural History Museum and a walking coffee tour through Nkoaranga Village.
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