13 Best Things To Do in Arusha Tanzania

Arusha is one of the largest cities in Tanzania. It is the wider Arusha region’s capital and is strategically located in the northern part of the country – an area with some of East Africa’s best national parks.

The city receives enough rainfall and remains green throughout the year because of its location at Mount Meru’s foot. No wonder it is known as the green city of Tanzania. Arusha is a multicultural city with a population of mixed backgrounds.

There are indigenous tribes of the area, Tanzanians of mixed heritage (Arab, Swahili, and Indian heritage), and a strong white community. The city is relatively small, and residents lead a more laid back kind of life. The city has a strong diplomatic community and a legacy of having had UN and African Union offices. Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism are the main religious denominations.

Arusha is also known as Tanzania’s safari capital because it is the connecting point to those interested in visiting Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru, the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro crater, Lake Manyara, and Tarangire National Park.

Arusha is also very close to the Masai Mara Game reserve in Kenya. Although international tourists often overlook the city itself on their way for safaris in the nearby national parks, Arusha city is an attraction in its own right with countless things to do.

If you happen to be in town before or after your safari, do not remain in your hotel room. We will be discussing in great detail some of the best tourist attractions in Arusha. You can also read about the things to see in Dar es Salaam or activities in Zanzibar. If you also plan on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, then you might find our article about the tourist attractions in Moshi useful.

How to Get to Arusha

International Flights

There are several ways to get to Arusha. The easiest is to get a direct flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), situated about 46km/29mi from Arusha. Alternatively, you can fly to Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR), near Dar es Salaam and get a connecting domestic flight to Arusha Airport (ARK) or Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).

Your tour operator will pick you up from the airport and take care of further transportation in most cases.

Domestic Flights

Tour operators usually book charter flights as part of the tour package. Domestic flights to Arusha or Kilimanjaro can be booked with various local carriers:

  • Air Tanzania
  • Precision Air
  • Regional Air
  • ZanAir
  • Safari Air Link
  • Coastal Aviation
  • Air Excel

Best Time to Visit Arusha

The best time to visit Arusha is from June to October, during the dry season. Arusha has two wet seasons and two dry seasons. The long rainy season is from March to May, and most of the annual rainfall occurs in these months. The short rainy season is in November and December.

The long dry season is from June through October, and August is typically the driest month of the year. The short, hot, dry season is in January and February with sporadic rains.

Waether in Arusha City

Weather in January

January, like December, in Arusha, Tanzania, is a moderately hot summer month, with temperature in the range of an average low of 10°C (50°F) and an average high of 29°C (84.2°F). The warmest months are January and February, with an average high-temperature of 29°C (84.2°F).

Weather in February

February, the last month of the summer in Arusha, is also a moderately hot month, with temperature in the range of an average high of 29°C (84.2°F) and an average low of 11°C (51.8°F). The warmest months are January and February, with an average high-temperature of 29°C (84.2°F). In Arusha, during February, the rain falls for 10 days and regularly aggregates up to 84mm (3.3″) of precipitation.

Weather in March

March, the first month of the autumn in Arusha, is also a moderately hot month, with an average temperature ranging between max 27°C (80.6°F) and min 12°C (53.6°F). In March, the average high-temperature is practically the same as in February – a still warm 27°C (80.6°F).

Weather in April

April, like March, in Arusha, Tanzania, is another warm autumn month, with average temperature fluctuating between 25°C (77°F) and 14°C (57.2°F). In April, the average high-temperature is essentially the same as in March – a still moderately hot 25°C (77°F).

Weather in May

May, the last month of the autumn, in Arusha, is another pleasant month, with temperature in the range of an average high of 22°C (71.6°F) and an average low of 11°C (51.8°F). In Arusha, the average high-temperature in May marginally drops, from a moderately hot 25°C (77°F) in April to a pleasant 22°C (71.6°F).

Weather in June

The first month of the winter, June, is still pleasant in Arusha, Tanzania, with average temperature varying between 9°C (48.2°F) and 21°C (69.8°F). With an average high-temperature of 21°C (69.8°F), June and July are the coldest months.

Weather in July

July, like June, is another pleasant winter month in Arusha, Tanzania, with temperature in the range of an average low of 9°C (48.2°F) and an average high of 21°C (69.8°F). The coldest months are June and July, with an average high-temperature of 21°C (69.8°F).

Weather in August

August, the last month of the winter, in Arusha, is another pleasant month, with an average temperature ranging between max 22°C (71.6°F) and min 9°C (48.2°F). In August, the average high-temperature is practically the same as in July – a still pleasant 22°C (71.6°F).

Weather in September

September, the first month of the spring in Arusha, is a moderately hot month, with an average temperature ranging between max 24°C (75.2°F) and min 8°C (46.4°F). In Arusha, the average high-temperature is practically the same as in August – a moderately hot 24°C (75.2°F).

Weather in October

October, like September, in Arusha, Tanzania, is another warm spring month, with temperature in the range of an average high of 27°C (80.6°F) and an average low of 11°C (51.8°F). In October, the average high-temperature slightly increases, from a warm 24°C (75.2°F) in September to a still moderately hot 27°C (80.6°F).

Weather in November

November, the last month of the spring in Arusha, is another warm month, with average temperature fluctuating between 27°C (80.6°F) and 11°C (51.8°F). In November, the average high-temperature remains equal in October – a still warm 27°C (80.6°F).

Weather in December

The first month of the summer, December is still a warm month in Arusha, Tanzania, with average temperature varying between 27°C (80.6°F) and 10°C (50°F). In December, the average high-temperature remains the same as in November – a still warm 27°C (80.6°F).

13 Best Things to do in Arusha Tanzania

1. Tarangire National Park Day Trip

13 Best Things To Do in Arusha Tanzania

Lake Manyara NP is a small park at the base of the Rift Valley escarpment. Its groundwater forest offers a nice change of scenery from the more savannah dominated parks. Although the park is known for tree-climbing lions, big cats aren’t that easily seen. Elephants are prolific and are the main attraction.

This park is known for its large elephant population. The big cats are present but not seen that easily. The forest patch is home to habituated troops of olive baboon and blue monkey. Buffalo, giraffe, and several antelope species are easily encountered on a drive.

Lake Manyara is a shallow, alkaline lake at the base of the Western Rift Valley escarpment. The park has a remarkable variety of habitats in a small area. The park entrance leads to a beautiful groundwater forest.

Other habitats include the grassy floodplain, rocky escarpment, and acacia woodland, all of which can be covered in a half-day visit. Deeper into the park, a visit to the hot springs (Maji Moto) is recommended.

2. Mount Meru Hiking

13 Best Things To Do in Arusha Tanzania

Tanzania’s second-highest mountain is much more than just a “warm-up” trek for Kilimanjaro. Mount Meru is an active (but dormant) volcano located north of Arusha in Tanzania. At 4562 meters, it is Tanzania’s second-highest mountain and the fourth highest mountain in Africa.

The mountain became well known mainly because it is only 70 km from Mount Kilimanjaro: Mt. Meru has become a popular “warm-up” trek for Kilimanjaro climbers.

Mt. Meru is indeed the perfect preparation for a Kilimanjaro climb. It offers you a taste of what you can expect on Kili:

You trek in a group with porters, cook, and guides, you climb through different vegetation zones over several days, you start your summit attempt around midnight and reach the peak around sunrise, and you then descend an awesome 2000 meters on the same day, very similar to your Kilimanjaro summit day.

Most importantly, at the height of 4562 meters (14967 feet), Mt. Meru requires your body to make changes to adapt to the altitude.

It’s called acclimatization, and as a result, you will be much better prepared for your Kilimanjaro climb. That altitude acclimatization is the main reason why people climb Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro together.

3. Visit Ol Doinyo Lengai (Mountain of God)

13 Best Things To Do in Arusha Tanzania

This stunning volcano is located in a remote region of Tanzania near the Gregory Rift, just south of Lake Natron. The Maasai people know it as “Mountain of God,” and its impressive lava fountains harden midair—a real geological oddity.

Ol Doinyo Lengai’s erupting hornitos—the fragile rock formations surrounding active volcano vents—draw thrill-seeking climbers to its slopes each year. It’s also the only known volcano to spout carbonatite—low-temperature lava that is black as oil moves quickly like water and cools to a whitish powder.

Travelers have put this incredible volcano at the top of their bucket lists for several reasons—not the least of which is the truly unique way it erupts. Ol Doinyo Lengai is a scenic place for hiking and climbing, and because of its rare lava, the textured hillsides look otherworldly.

4. Visit Olduvai Gorge

13 Best Things To Do in Arusha Tanzania

In the North of Tanzania lies one of the most important historical places on Earth. It is here that the earliest evolutionary remains of humans walking on two feet and using tools were found. Below you will find some of the best bits you need to know about this historical place.

Located in the Great Rift Valley, Olduvai Gorge is nestled between the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. This is the place to visit for anyone going on safari that is interested in archaeology and paleontology!

Olduvai Gorge is arguably the most important fossil sites in the world. Over thirty miles long and about three-hundred feet deep, the gorge is part of a World Heritage Site called the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It is famous for the evolutionary discoveries of some of the earliest signs of human development.

5. Meserani Snake Park Day Trip

13 Best Things To Do in Arusha Tanzania

Whether you are on an overland truck or just stopping by on your way to or from the Serengeti or Ngorongoro Crater, Meserani’s campsite is an oasis in the heart of Maasai Land Tanzania.

You can relax with a fully equipped campsite: hot showers, clean washrooms. Unwind and listen to nature’s beautiful sounds as there are over 60 species of birds that inhabit the park.

The park is home to various snakes common in Eastern and Southern Africa, from the Black Mamba to the Black and Red spitting Cobras and the African Python. There are approximately 48 snakes you can view.

Other reptiles at the park include Monitor Lizards, Tortoises, Crocodiles, and a few species of birds that have been orphaned or injured and would not survive if they were returned to the wild. Meserani Snake Park is a great place to learn about some of Africa’s less notorious but most efficient predators.

6. Day Trip in Arusha National Park

13 Best Things To Do in Arusha Tanzania

Though very accessible, Arusha NP isn’t on many safari itineraries. This is mainly because it doesn’t offer a chance of seeing the Big Five.

The park is at the base of Mount Meru, which is good for climbing. It has a range of habitats, including forest – home to the black-and-white colobus monkey – and the park is excellent for birding.

Wildlife viewing in Arusha NP is more low-key than in the other parks in northern Tanzania. Animals that are easily seen include buffalo, giraffe, and several antelope species. More exciting is the black-and-white colobus monkey that lives in the forest and many bird species. Several lakes often host flocks of flamingo.

The park’s appeal is mainly its scenery. The habitat diversity spans from montane (mountain) rainforest to moist savannah to alpine moorland. The most prominent landmark is Mount Meru. Other highlights are a massive, extinct volcano and several scenic lakes, with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background on a clear day.

7. Visit Lake Manyara National Park

13 Best Things To Do in Arusha Tanzania

Lake Manyara NP is a small park at the base of the Rift Valley escarpment. Its groundwater forest offers a nice change of scenery from the more savannah dominated parks. Although the park is known for tree-climbing lions, big cats aren’t that easily seen. Elephants are prolific and are the main attraction.

This park is known for its large elephant population. The big cats are present but not seen that easily. The forest patch is home to habituated troops of olive baboon and blue monkey. Buffalo, giraffe, and several antelope species are easily encountered on a drive.

8. Ngorongoro Conservation Area

13 Best Things To Do in Arusha Tanzania

When people plan for their bucket-list adventure in Tanzania, Serengeti National Park always comes to mind first. Sure, the Great Migration and the Lion King is setting — both fantastic reasons that make ditching the Serengeti impossible. But Tanzania has so much more to offer, and it would be a total bummer to miss out on them. Particularly the renowned Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

The northern region of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area shares borders with the eastern area of Serengeti National Park. In fact, Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of the places where the must-see wildebeest calving season ensues.

Most tourists in Tanzania targets to visit the Serengeti. As a matter of fact, most of them aim to stay around the area. If you want a cheaper accommodation option, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area could be your most ideal solution. Aside from being incredibly close to the Serengeti, Ngorongoro promises a Tanzanian view that’s just as majestic as the Serengeti.

9. Maasai Village

13 Best Things To Do in Arusha Tanzania

The Maasai tribe is the original inhabitants of this area. In fact, they named the place “Ngorongoro,” which means “gift of life.” They are probably the most famous indigenous tribe of the east, and a visit to their village is definitely an experience worthy of taking.

During the visit, you will be able to meet Maasai men and women, enjoy dancing and listening to their native melodies, be entertained with a dramatic enactment, and maybe even try on their red cloaks! What makes this experience enriching is that you get to see Africa’s authentic social side and a glimpse of the rich Maasai culture.

10. Kilimanjaro National park

13 Best Things To Do in Arusha Tanzania

Many people travel to Tanzania to summit the mountain and get a once-in-a-lifetime view that they’ll forget. Of course- this is the crowning glory of the national park (actually, it is a strong contender to be the crowning glory of all Tanzania).

Solo trekkers are not allowed on to the mountains- so you would definitely need a guide. There are various routes, with different views, durations, and difficulty levels, out of which Marangu Route and Machame Route are the most popular.

Do you want to climb to the top of the world? Kibo Peak should definitely be on your list. It’s one of the three volcanoes of Mount Kilimanjaro and is the highest mountain and Africa! Wonderful views all year round guaranteed. The only peak which retains its snow throughout the year

The trek up to the peak can be rather strenuous and is recommended for professional climbers. Don’t worry, though. There are many base camps at the lower levels where you can camp and soak in the views!

11. Chemka hot springs

13 Best Things To Do in Arusha Tanzania

A short but bumpy drive from Moshi is the clear, turquoise waters of the Chemka Hot Springs, an oasis of geothermal warmth that bubbles up from underground.

Surrounded by lush forest alive with birdsong and the call of monkeys, the Chemka Hot Springs is an ideal place to ease those tired legs after a strenuous ascent up Kilimanjaro. They’re a little bit of heaven that’s perfect for a day trip, and those warm blue waters invite you to linger, swim or explore. Return refreshed, revitalized, and relaxed.

12. Cultural tourism & City Walking

Cultural tours are the most popular activities in Tanzania that most visitors dow to enrich the main safari tour. Starting with selected villages around Arusha in northern Tanzania and spreading out into other areas.

These traditionally existing villages have been made accessible to visitors who may have a glimpse of the authentic lifestyle of the more than 120 tribes in rural Tanzania.

Some of the popular cultural centers which may be tailored into visitor itineraries include:

  • Mto wa Mbu, a multicultural village-cum-town near Lake Manyara National Park
  • Maasai Boma and villages in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
  • Lake Eyasi: land of the Hadzabe and Datoga
  • Arusha – Ng’ireshi village of Waarusha tribe, relatives of the Maasai, 7km from Arusha town
  • Arusha – Mulala village of Waarusha and Wameru tribes, 30kms from Arusha town

13. Canoeing on Momela Lake

13 Best Things To Do in Arusha Tanzania

A canoe safari in the silent and peaceful environment of the small Momela Lake is one of the fascinating activities that one can undertake in Arusha National Park.

The algae-rich shallow and alkaline waters are ideal habitats for flamingos, pelicans, ducks and gooses, and many migratory waterfowls. Up to now, over 650 species of birds have been registered. Canoeing will also allow you to approach the lake shores without frightening animals; hence, you might closely see buffaloes and other herbivores such as kudus, giraffes, and waterbucks.

On a clear day, the horizon opens up to the snowy peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, while the massive Mount Meru dominates the opposite side.

The activity will last for about 2,5 hours from 9.00 to 11.30 or from 14.00 to 16.30. You will paddle yourself while a guide will accompany you in his own canoe.

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