What to do and see in Arusha, Tanzania: The Best Places and Tips

January 26, 2018 Carley Gatson

Arusha is a city in northern Tanzania and the capital of the Arusha Region, with a population of 416,442 plus 323,198 in the surrounding Arusha District (2012 census). Located below Mount Meru on the eastern edge of the eastern branch of the Great Rift Valley, Arusha has a temperate climate. The city is close to the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara National Park, Olduvai Gorge, Tarangire National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, and Arusha National Park on Mount Meru.
Restaurants in Arusha

1. Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area

Ngorongoro Crater, About 1.5 hours drive from Arusha Town, Arusha, Tanzania +255 773 255 974
Excellent
86%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
2%
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5 based on 523 reviews

Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area

Reviewed By camilla s

Tanzania Horizon Safari is best Company, very professional, they were very helpful and made the 5 days tour around what we wanted and needed, serengeti,ngorangoro and taragire We were very lucky with the animals we saw in SERENGETI, including lions, cheetahs, leopards, giraffes, elephants, hippos, crocodiles, vervet monkeys, baboons, warthogs, hyenas, jackals, and flamingos, huge numbers of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles, and many others. Our guide was very good
The best experience for me was spending some nights in a tented camp. this was a great adventure holiday for the family (5 adults and 1 girl) which we will never forget and which will provide us with stories to tell. Words cannot describe the beauty there… I would definitely recommend discovering Tanzania with Tanzania Horizon Safaris.

2. Ngurdoto Crater

Arusha National Park | Mageso Chember, mzzanine floor, Arusha, Tanzania 254720650869
Excellent
77%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 378 reviews

Ngurdoto Crater

Located in Arusha National Park and off limits to humans, this verdant crater’s mossy, swampy habitat provides a natural sanctuary for elephants, buffalo and Colobus monkeys.

Reviewed By Traveler777_boston - Boston, MA

We visited the crater after the Serengeti park and the contrast was amazing. It was a breathtaking sight to see the crater from the mountain. The crater is also home to the largest collection of Rhino's in Tanzania and promptly after descending into the crater we saw one of them. We also saw a pair of jackals chasing a hyena and 8-10 lazing lions, heards of wildebeests and Zebras, giraffes and elephants.

3. Tanzanite Experience

India St | Blue Plaza, 3rd Floor, Arusha 255, Tanzania +255 754 600 991
Excellent
68%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 184 reviews

Tanzanite Experience

Visit The Tanzanite Experience and learn about the history, mystery and rarity of this precious gemstone, unique to Tanzania. Through a series of interactive tours and visual Exhibitions, including a replica of a Tanzanite mine shaft, visitors discover how tanzanite was created, named, mined, cut, polished and graded. There is also the opportunity to purchase tanzanite direct from the source with all gemstones purchase being accompanied by a certificate by The Tanzanite Laboratory™.T The museum is located in the centre of Arusha and has a store attached and in addition, there are also stores at Arusha Coffee Lodge, Manyara Airport and The Manor in Ngoronoro. The Tanzanite Experience is dedicated to create a greater awareness of the rare and precious tanzanite and offers visitors a complete ‘tanzanite experience’.

Reviewed By Lydia M - The Woodlands, Texas

I had researched shops in Arusha selling Tanzanite and found this shop coming up in almost all my internet searches. It is what we would call a "factory authorized" shop, as it is the official sales office in Arusha for the private mining company which is in partnership with the government of Tanzania. As others have pointed out, the film and marketing of Tanzanite were a bit "hokey" but the tour guide and the information about how Tanzanite is mined were excellent. I did buy a loose stone and my jeweler said that it was exactly what it was represented to be- no inclusions, very good color, and very good cut. I was pleased. Note: Tanzanite, while considered rare and in a league with diamonds, is a soft stone. Certain settings are not possible- like a bezel because when it is tightened the bezel can crack the stone. I did not like the settings so I bought a loose stone but be advised, you will need a Master Jeweler to set your stone once back in the USA. Others have pointed out there is no pressure to buy, and I certainly had this experience. We also used a credit card which was the only place we used it.

4. The School of St Jude

Nelson Mandela Road, Arusha, Tanzania +255 755 106 058
Excellent
93%
Good
6%
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5 based on 75 reviews

The School of St Jude

Come and visit one of the largest and most successful charity schools in Africa. The School of St Jude's provides a free, high quality education to more than 1,800 students who are selected based on their academic potential and genuine financial need. The school has three campuses, provides boarding for more than 1,100 students and employs more than 400 Tanzanians. Every year we welcome over 1,500 visitors to St Jude's in Arusha, Tanzania. Visitors see first hand the impact that people from all over the world have achieved together and how that has resulted in a school that is changing the lives of our students, staff and their families. Our dedicated Visitor Team will assist with your personal itinerary and ensure that you have an experience like no other. St Jude's offers organized cultural tours as well as individual itineraries for day visitors or overnight guests.

Reviewed By suzannek810 - Nth Ryde

The school welcomes visitors because they want you to see how important education is to the children of Tanzania. I have visited on a number of occasions and was there recently for their Grade 6 (end of high school) graduation. They treat visitors as part of their one big family: you can visit classrooms and go to their assemblies which are a lot of fun.

5. Ol Doinyo Lengai

Arusha, Tanzania
Excellent
69%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 117 reviews

Ol Doinyo Lengai

The only volcano in the world to emit "cool" (950 degrees Fahrenheit) fluid lava.

Reviewed By judineni - Etterbeek, Belgium

About 4 and a half hours from Arusha by local bus. Be prepared to pay different gate fees. I had to pay 20.000 TSH twice at different gates on the way and another 35 dollar gate fee at the gate of lake Natron. Different lodges like the Maasai Giraffe Ecolodge and safari companies offer tours to climb the Mountain of God during the night to see the sunrise from the top of the Volcano.

6. Cultural Heritage Centre

Arusha-Dodoma Road, Arusha, Tanzania +255 787 135 610
Excellent
45%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
14%
Poor
3%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 740 reviews

Cultural Heritage Centre

The Cultural Heritage Centre established in the year 1994. Is the first of its kind in Africa dedicated towards exploring the rich treasures derived from African Culture. This family business is the result of culmination of hard work, unwavering dedication and knowledge acquired from the forefathers. At the helm of the affairs is the versatile managing director, Mr. Saifuddin Khanbhai, who has a solid knowledge of African Culture and traditions. Culture Heritage Center has acquired iconic status due to the unique structure of the buildings within its compound and having the treasure chest of African art which is keeping African Art alive. The main building is designed to resemble the Uhuru Peak of Kilimanjaro. It also has an impressive array of arts and crafts including unique masks, Verdite carvings and paintings by famous African sculptures. Cultural Heritage now boasts an impressible Art Gallery was build on his vision which was to promote the work of the local artists. The exterior of the Gallery is imp rived by a drum, shield and spear, all major African symbols. The symbols resonate with the role of the Gallery that is to represent, communicate and celebrate Africa's Cultural Heritage. Among its many world famous pieces of Art is a 18 feet family tree which took 20 years to make. People from all over the world also visit Cultural Heritage, for its unrivaled reputation of having the finest Tanzanite stones which are also found in the Mererani hills of Tanzania, best in the world. The interior has three areas (i) History, (ii) Wildlife and (iii) soul. Ethnographic artifacts fill the History area, the wildlife area consists of contemporary paintings and sculptures of the curvatures roaming the African Savanna and the soul area captures Africa's energy allure and essence. The art gallery also has an Amphitheatre which often shows on the life of special Tanzanian tribes like the Maasai, Pygmies and Hadzabe. It is also used for conferences. Also offered at the centre are day rooms found on the top of the building. They serve as resting place in the calm environment after a long safari trp. The spa at the Gallery offers a verity of personal care and treatments. The proceeds from the Gallery go to the conservation of elephants in Africa and the main concept of this is anti poaching clearly defined by the sculpture of the large unique beaded elephant. However, other causes such as orphanages, schools and boreholes and well drilling benefit from the proceeds. The centre also has a restaurant, coffee chop, spice centre, beads centre, and flea shop, which offers a variety of artifacts at different prices. Apart from the art the centre vibrated with warm hospitality. Cultural Heritage is visited by tourists from all over the world. It has been honored by visits from distinguished guests and state leaders such as President Bill Clinton, The prince William of Holland and his wife, Former UN secretary Mr. Kofi Annan, and celebrities such as Cindy Crawford. However every visitor who visits Cultural Heritage is treated as a Celebrity.

Reviewed By yt1967 - Jerusalem, Israel

We are less interested in souvenirs for tourists and therefore the place less talked to us. If you are interested in souvenir the place offers a wide range at relatively high / affordable prices. The visit to the new gallery was fascinating, and in our opinion it is a must for people who are interested in design, art, galleries. We also enjoyed sitting in the restaurant calmly

7. Meserani Snake Park

Arusha, Tanzania +255 27 253 8282
Excellent
33%
Good
43%
Satisfactory
19%
Poor
4%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4 based on 230 reviews

Meserani Snake Park

Reviewed By EleanorBall

Excellent bar at the campsite and loved listening to Mamas stories (don't say anything stupid or it will end up in the book). Loved the idea of the snake bite clinic and well worth supporting. Great stop off for overlanders as there is a mechanics here too!

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