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 many Tanzanian safaris including Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire and Lake Manyara. However viewing Arusha simply as a launch pad for your safari centre is not doing it justice, it really is one of Tanzania’s beautiful regions and the town itself, one of the oldest towns in Tanzania, has a very welcoming feel. The history of Arusha is closely linked to that of precious stones. Tanzanite, named after Tanzania, was first discovered in Marerani only a short distance from Tanzania. There are many gem shops around Arusha selling Tanzanite in addition to other local stones such as Rubies. If the history of Tanzania’s own precious stones is of an interest to you a visit to the Tanzanite Museum may be in order.
Other highlights include the local craft and cultural arts. There are many Maasai markets where those looking for souvenirs can buy items such as handicrafts made of ebony and redwood or batiks, which are traditionally made by dying cloth which has had areas blocked using wax to resist the application of dye.
Arusha offers accommodation in the town centre, within easy commute to the airport and also on coffee plantations a short 30 minutes drive out of town.