- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
Because of its geographical location between Kilimanjaro and the legendary national parks of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro, Arusha has become the hub of du tourism in Tanzania.
The streets of Arusha are entirely given over to tourism and are home to a plethora of travel agents. Though reputed to be an expensive city, I nevertheless managed to find restaurants and hotels there to suit all pockets. I do recommend a stroll around the city, but you need to be aware that it's impossible to avoid the touts, beggars and street peddlers. In all situations, the best thing to say is always "Hakuna Matata!".
Apart from its typical daily market and the United Nations International Tribunal, the city offers very little of interest for tourists. In short, it's a crossroads you can't avoid when going on your excursions, but I don't see any reason to spend much time there.
Arusha is close to Mount Meru, which, at the top of its 4,565 metres altitude, majestically dominates the town. If you like climbs, climbing Mount Meru is cheaper and more accessible than Mount Kilimanjaro.
Arusha is located in the Maasai region, and you will see a lot of it. Don't hesitate to eat in the Maasai restaurants, it's a fantastic opportunity to get away from the clichés that we give them. No, the Maasai people aren't just nomadic pastoralists, guardians of a lost tradition. All cultures interact with its environment, and you will probably see Maasai people taking advantage of electrical installations to recharge their smartphones.
Taking time at the market is always an activity that allows you to better understand the local way of life and to enjoy the atmosphere of a town. Particularly the market in Arusha, I would strongly recommend making a detour there! Moreover, the numerous Indian restaurants of the town are an opportunity to get away from the daily rice-beans.
The main drawback is that the town has numerous travel agencies, and you will probably be harassed by the touts. A technique: tell them that you're not doing business today!
We didn't like the city of Arusha on little bit. The city is booming, quite literally, it's very noisy and doesn't have much in the way of charm. Its main attraction is that it has all the information and services you need to organise a safari, as long as you can find your way around all the different offers. The city is entirely devoted to tourism and you will be constantly pestered by touts, making it hard to get around peaceably. It's best to go to the tourist information office or one of the recognised local Tanzanian travel agencies.
The city itself has no tourist attractions. Don't plan to spend long there, it's better to explore the surrounding area. In particular, you can stay with the locals in the surrounding villages. We preferred the peace of the neighbouring town of Moshi where we were able to plan the next part of our stay.