Arusha city

Arusha city

Arusha city : Located in the North Eastern part of Tanzania below Mount Meru on the eastern edged of the Rift Valley, Arusha city is the main hub of Arusha region. The population in the city is estimated to be 400,000 with multiple cultures. Majority of the people are locals with mixed backgrounds of African, Arabs, Indians and a few Americans and Europeans.

The districts that make up Arusha include Sekei in the northwest which is mainly a residential area, Tengeru: a lively market in the east and Njiro: a rapidly growing middle class suburb in the south.

The city is close to Serengeti National Park, Olduvai George, Arusha National Park, Ngoro Ngoro Conservation Area, Mount Kilimanjaro Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara National Park. Mount Meru stands over the town and its crater strewn with thick clouds make the city an ideal location for one looking to relax near the major national parks.

Arusha city is headquarters to notable international organizations. For instance, the city holds the headquarters of the East African Community. Built by the Germans in the 20th century as an administrative center for colonialism, Arusha town was an old sleepy garrisoned station with a few shops. The introduction of colonial rule by the Germans and later ruled by the British attracted traders and workers from various continents like the Indians, Arabs, Americans, Europeans that led to its fast development. Today, it is one of the most prosperous towns in Tanzania.


Arusha, in the old days was first settled by the Maasai from the Arusha Chini community. They were agro-pastoralists who grew tobacco, grazed cattle which they used for trade with their neighbors. Arusha was an epic town after the demand for its foodstuffs increased especially during the Pengani Valley trade route which was extended through Old Moshi via Arusha and to Western Kenya. This made it a re-known urban center.

In the late 18th century, Arusha was conquered by the Germans who established a fort: Boma for political interests. The Germans displaced the locals around the town and forced many of them into slavery as a way of cheap labor for construction of the fort. The Germans later renamed the region as German East Africa under their rule.

However, during the 1st World War, the British defeated the Germans and took over their colony and named it Tanganyika. The British ruled and attracted settlers from India, Greece, Arabs which led to the fast development of the town. Arusha had a major breakthrough when the regional administration was moved from Moshi to Arusha. This led to a great improvement in trade and commerce. In July 2006, Arusha was declared a city by the Tanzanian government.


Arusha town us relatively cool despite its proximity to Mount Meru. The mountain helps alleviate the humidity and the cool dry air is prevalent throughout the year. The temperature ranges between 13 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius characterized by distinct wet and dry seasons. The city experiences cool winds from the Indian Ocean.

 How to get to Arusha city

One can get to Arusha by road or air. By air, Arusha is serve by two airports that is Kilimanjaro International Airport and Arusha Municipal Airport (ARK) which is located in the city outskirts and runs domestic flights mostly to Zanzibar and Dar es salaam. Kilimanjaro airport operates both local and international flights.

Using road transport, one can access Arusha using an express coach from Nairobi, Dar es salaam and Kampala. There are also different shuttles from Moshi and Arusha which are more comfortable than the coach.

Transport in Arusha city

The main mode of transport in the city are the public buses: dala dala which have various terminals around the city. They are considered cheap and reliable. Taxis are also used as means of transport around the city for those who prefer privacy. They are unmetered so it’s wise to agree on the fare before boarding them. Boda bodas are used in the city since they are considered to be fast especially during the rush hours.


Arusha’s main industry is the service sector. The city has a number of financial enterprises.

It also hosts a variety of small and big businesses ranging from retailers to wholesale.

The city of Arusha is home to a variety of manufacturing industries like the pharmaceuticals, agro-processing and breweries.

The tourism sector also plays a major role in the city of Arusha being the largest contributor of forex in Tanzania. The city is surrounded by a number of national parks and reserves which make it a hub or tourists.

What to see and do in Arusha

Cultural heritage center

The Tanzanian cultural heritage center is a place to view beautiful artifacts and exhibit the rich historical traditions and culture of Tanzania. Get a chance to purchase beautiful art and crafts as a way of contributing to the preservation of the country’s culture.

Old Boma Museum (Fort)

Fort Boma originally built by the Germans during colonial rule now houses the National history museum. Get to learn about the archeological history of Arusha from the time of being colonial subjects up to gaining independence as a city and country as a whole.

Meserani snake park

Run by Ma and BJ popularly known throughout Africa, Meserani Park is home to over 50 species of eastern and southern African snakes. It also hosts a Maasai cultural museum and curio market as well as other wildlife. The wildlife here is either orphaned or rescued from injuries.

The park also has a bar for those in need of refreshment and looking to relax and chill. T-shirts, bottle tops and bank notes left by travelers hang on the walls of this bar.

The Tanzanite experience

Tanzanite holds the exquisite blue-violet gem that was first discovered by Ali Juuyawatu, a Masaai to a prospector. The stones were named by Tiffany and Co.’s Henry Platt which made them soon become highly sought after.

At the Tanzanite experience, get to the learn the history of the beautiful yet rare gemstones and if you wish, you can purchase them.

Visit the restaurants and food hubs

Arusha city is blessed with a number of cafes and restaurants that have amazing delicacies, both local and international one can choose from. Some of the restaurants include Café Barista, Aricafe, the fig and olive for Mediterranean food, La Patio for those who wish to dance too and many others. You have a variety to choose from in this big city.

Maasai women fair trade center

Created by the Maasai Women Development Organization (MWEDO) with a goal of empowering women through access to education and health, the Maasai women fair trade center is a small shop that sells handmade crafts to support the local maasai women. Make sure to have a stop here and buy souvenirs and support the women too.

Hike Mount Meru

Depending on one’s physic, the hike to the mountain can be done between 2-4 days. One doesn’t need porters or guides while hiking but it is a must to be escorted by armed rangers. The temperature is really cold up the mountain so it is advisable to carry warm clothing with you.

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