Arusha is located around one hour from Kilimanjaro International Airport, the main port of entry into northern Tanzania, and serves as a bustling gateway to the spectacular northern safari circuit and to Mount Kilimanjaro. Rather than being a “must see” destination, Arusha is generally used as a convenient one night stay pre or post safari.
Set at an altitude of 1,400m on the southern slopes of Mount Meru, the busy commercial centre is surrounded by lush green forests and coffee plantations, amongst which are dotted boutique lodges and small owner-managed hotels. While there are good opportunities for curio and craft shopping if you have a few hours to spare to explore the town, most visitors make the most of some downtime and savour the peaceful gardens of their accommodation, relaxing poolside, perhaps with a spa treatment.
Arusha National Park is scenically beautiful with diverse wildlife and well worth visiting if you have a little longer to spend in the area. For those with less time, however, it’s hard to justify prioritising this over the better known parks of Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti.
We highly recommend an overnight stay in Arusha following international flights – you’ll receive a warm welcome to Tanzania, a good night’s sleep and be ready to get the very most of your time on safari.