Top 5 Must Do's in Arusha

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A city of nearly half a million people located in the Northeast portion of Tanzania in East Africa, Arusha is probably best known for being the gateway city to the famed Northern African Safari. The city is situated on the fifth highest mountain peek in the area, which makes for some beautiful and lush landscape. Although the area is often regarded as little more than a mandatory stopping place for travelers seeking a safari, if you dig just a bit deeper, you'll find that the area has much to see and do before heading off on safari. Here are the top five must do's when visiting Arusha.

1. Safari

Of course, your number one must do is the safari. Travelers should not be afraid of sticker shock, as there are several different companies with several different price point options. A general rule to remember is that the further out into the Serengeti you want to go, the higher the price will be. There are five main companies to choose from. You can usually see the "big five" of African safaris (lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo) on this type of safari.

2. Mountain Climbing

If you get the chance, and have the interest, the nearby Mount Meru offers spectacular views and a challenging climb up to the summit some 4,667 meters above. The trip generally takes between 2 and 4 days, depending on your skill and physical fitness, but there is much to see, and you could encounter some amazing waterfalls. You won't be required to take a guide with you, but an armed ranger is required. Make sure to pack for freezing temperatures, as that is often a possibility.

3. Visit Local Villages

Taking a short trip outside of Arusha can reveal nearby villages with local African flavor like none other. The best way to arrange these trips is to contact the Tanzania Tourist Board. In most cases, you'll be introduced to the Meru and/or Maasai tribes of people. They'll share the stories, customs, and history of the land. Some sites are within an hour's hike, and most are within an hour's drive.

4. Go to the movies

You'll find the "Century Cinema" in the modern complex located along Nijro Road. Movies play for about $3-$5 USD. You'll also find nice restaurants and shops in this area. Make sure to clear out by nightfall, however, as it is known as an unsafe area at night.

5. Go shopping

The marketplace is located in the center of town. Prices are meant to be haggled for a deal. From trinkets to food to traditional clothing, the marketplace has it all. This experience is not to be missed when in Arusha.

You could also encounter some beautiful waterfalls.
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