By Azure Lee
There are many places to visit in Arusha, one of the largest cities in Tanzania, with a population exceeding 400,000 people. This area is renowned for its exceptional national parks, making it a popular destination for visitors. Arusha enjoys a consistently lush environment due to its favorable location at the base of Mount Meru, resulting in ample rainfall throughout the year. Consequently, it is known as the "green city of Tanzania."
Whether you're en route to Serengeti or Tarangire National Park, Arusha acts as a crucial starting point for many safari adventures. Moreover, if you're inclined towards a vibrant nightlife and enjoy visiting bars and clubs, the city offers a thriving party scene.
However, Arusha is not solely known for its national parks and nightlife. It boasts an array of captivating attractions within the city itself. Here are our recommendations for the beautiful places to visit in Arusha.
Best Places To Visit In Arusha Not To Miss
Arusha is a bustling city with a significant expatriate community, providing you with an opportunity to meet and connect with people from various cultural backgrounds. The region boasts stunning scenery and landscapes, serving as an excellent starting point for further exploration of Tanzania and East Africa as a whole.
If you're planning your next vacation in 2023, Arusha offers a plethora of must-visit places that will leave you awe-inspired and create memories to cherish for a lifetime.
Climb Mount Meru
Mount Meru is located in Arusha National Park, which stands as the second-highest mountain in Tanzania and the fifth-highest in Africa, reaching an impressive elevation of 4,562 meters. The trek up Mount Meru serves as a beneficial "warm-up" expedition for travelers who are considering climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. It offers an excellent opportunity to acclimatize and prepare for the ascent of Africa's tallest mountain.
Mount Meru itself is an enjoyable hike that can be undertaken as a standalone adventure. It is suitable for those who have a few days available in their holiday schedule and are interested in mountain climbing. The hike up Mount Meru can be done as a day tour or as a more extensive 3 to 4-day expedition. The stunning vistas of Mount Kilimanjaro, national parks, lakes, and encounters with some of Africa's well-known creatures are the rewards for climbing Mount Meru.
Mount Meru stands as the second-highest mountain in Tanzania and the fifth-highest in Africa
Tanzanite Experience Museum
Without mentioning the Tanzanite Experience Museum, one of the best places to go in Arusha, this list would be lacking. This museum provides a valuable opportunity to delve deeper into the world of the precious and rare Tanzanite stone, which is exclusively found in Tanzania, particularly in Arusha.
At the museum, interactive tours and visual exhibitions await you. You can explore a replica of a Tanzanite mine shaft, where you'll gain insights into the creation, naming, mining, cutting, polishing, and grading processes of Tanzanite.
Located in the heart of Arusha, the Tanzanite Experience Museum features an attached store. Here, you'll find a selection of loose Tanzanite stones and exquisite Tanzanite jewelry available for purchase.
Game viewing in Arusha National Park
While not as well-known as the Serengeti, Arusha National Park is a fantastic place to visit, especially if you're looking for something unique. It is only a few kilometers from the center of Arusha, so there's no need to travel far in search of stuff to see.
Arusha National Park presents an excellent opportunity for a day trip. Within its boundaries, you'll find remarkable destinations such as Mt. Meru, the Momella Lakes, Ngurdoto Crater, and lush highland forests.
Game viewing in Arusha National Park may differ from the vast Serengeti, but it still offers a chance to encounter fascinating wildlife. A distinctive aspect of Arusha National Park is the opportunity to go horseback riding right where the animals graze and lounge. This experience offers a refreshing and distinct perspective compared to the traditional safari car adventure.
Visit the Ngorongoro Crater, which is a day excursion from Arusha National Park and has high cliffs surrounding a sizable marshy bottom, offering fantastic vistas of buffalo and warthog herds.
Arusha National Park is a fantastic place to visit, especially if you're looking for something unique
The Cultural Heritage Centre
Situated on the outskirts of Arusha, the Cultural Heritage Centre is a destination worth exploring. This center encompasses a commercial art gallery, curio shops, and a jewelry boutique.
Additionally, the center features a restaurant where you can enjoy a fresh meal. Whether you prefer a buffet or à la carte dining, the restaurant offers a wide selection of dishes, including authentic African cuisine, ensuring a delightful culinary experience.
Go on a hike around Lake Duluti
Situated in proximity to the town of Tengeru, approximately 14 kilometers away from the center of Arusha, you'll find Lake Duluti. This picturesque lake is nestled within the boundaries of the Duluti Forestry Reserve. Known as a crater lake, Lake Duluti is sustained by a combination of groundwater and seasonal rainfall, ensuring its presence with water throughout the year.
Lake Duluti is an excellent destination for nature hikes and birders because it is home to numerous stunning birds, including egrets, grey herons, kingfishers, and fish eagles, as well as butterflies, primates, and reptiles.
Also, you can go on a guided canoe ride on the lake with views of Mount Kiimanjaro and Mount Meru in the distance.
For a better experience, you can read travel insurance for international visitors here.
Meserani Snake Park
If you're seeking a thrilling adventure, Meserani Snake Park is a must-visit among the tourist attractions in Arusha. Located 25 kilometers from the town, this park offers guided tours showcasing some of the world's most dangerous snakes. If you're feeling brave, you can even have a photo opportunity with a real-life snake.
You might witness snakes like the Black and Green Mamba, Egyptian Cobra, Puff Adders, and many others. Have a chance to hold a young crocodile while watching the 3+ meter crocodiles feed (if you are brave enough).
Beyond snakes, the park offers additional experiences, such as a tour of the Maasai Cultural Museum and an opportunity to embark on a safari to a local village on camelback.
After all the thrill, you can unwind and conclude your visit with a delicious barbecue meal at the fully equipped and well-stocked bar on-site.
Meserani Snake Park is a must-visit among the tourist attractions in Arusha
A safari in Serengeti National Park
Tanzania's Serengeti National Park is undoubtedly the most well-liked tourist destination near the city of Arusha. This expansive park is characterized by vast savanna grasslands adorned with acacia trees. Notably, the Serengeti extends all the way to Kenya's Masai Mara Wildlife Reserve.
The wildebeest and zebra migration in the Serengeti is a captivating natural phenomenon and is considered one of the world's greatest wildlife spectacles. Each year, more than 1.5 million wildebeest and 210,000 zebras undertake a journey from the Serengeti, eventually reaching the Masai Mara in Kenya. This incredible migration has been occurring for hundreds of thousands of years, and once the animals commence their movement, nothing can impede them.
Embarking on a 3-day safari in Serengeti National Park provides a unique opportunity to witness the wildebeest migration while also encountering an abundance of other fascinating wildlife species. From lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, and wild dogs to buffaloes, elephants, giraffes, ostriches, and more, the park offers an awe-inspiring wildlife experience. The vastness of the Serengeti ensures an unforgettable adventure, rivaling or even surpassing the wildlife encounters found in the Masai Mara.
Serengeti National Park is the most well-liked tourist destination near the city of Arusha
Best Time To Visit These Tourist Attractions In Arusha
The best time to visit Arusha, Tanzania depends on the type of experience you are seeking. Arusha experiences a temperate climate due to its elevation, but it is important to consider in weather patterns and wildlife movements when planning your visit. Here are the key reasons to help you determine the best time to visit Arusha:
Dry Season (June to October)
The dry season in Arusha is characterized by clear skies, minimal rainfall, and cooler temperatures. This period is considered the best time for wildlife viewing as the vegetation is thinner, making it easier to spot animals. Additionally, during this season, wildlife congregates around water sources, providing excellent opportunities for safari enthusiasts.
Wet Season (November to May)
The wet season in Arusha brings occasional rainfall and greener landscapes. While the rain can be intermittent, it is generally characterized by afternoon showers and does not hinder activities significantly. The wet season offers lush scenery, abundant birdlife, and the chance to witness newborn animals. It is also a great time for photographers, as the landscapes are vibrant and teeming with life.
Great Migration (December to July)
If witnessing the Great Migration is on your bucket list, plan your visit during the months of December to July. This period sees the wildebeests and zebras moving through the Serengeti and crossing into the Masai Mara in Kenya.
It's important to note that Arusha's proximity to the equator means that temperatures remain relatively mild throughout the year. However, it is advisable to pack layers and lightweight clothing suitable for both warm days and cooler evenings.
To ensure a smooth entry process, travelers planning to visit Arusha are encouraged to apply for a Tanzania eVisa through our website at Tanzania Immigration Services. By completing the easy application process online, you can obtain your eVisa in advance, saving time and hassle upon arrival. Applying for a Tanzania eVisa is a convenient way to ensure seamless entry into the country, allowing you to focus on immersing yourself in the best places to visit in Arusha, Tanzania.