When you travel to Arusha, you will love to visit popular tourist spots and enjoy the local culture. Amongst the places to visit in Arusha town, you can surely explore some of the best things to do, to make your trip a fulfilling one. On a trip to Arusha, things to do can include exploring Arusha attractions and visiting the places of interest. Here are the Best Places to Visit in Arusha Tanzania.
Arusha lies at the base of Mount Meru, which is a bit smaller than Kilimanjaro at 4,562m but is still a very challenging and rewarding hike.
The climb is usually done over 3 – 4 days, with a day on either side to acclimatize and recover! As the mountain is over 3000m, I would suggest climbing for over 4 days to help you acclimatize to the altitude.
On clear days, you’ll get incredible views of Mount Kilimanjaro, which sits around 50 miles away, near Moshi town. I haven’t climbed Mount Meru yet, but I have climbed Kili and my prep tips would be the same. Book your Mount Meru Hike
Arusha National Park
If you don’t have the time to go further afield, then you can always take a day trip to Arusha National Park. The park doesn’t have all of the ‘Big Five, but it does have plenty of zebras, buffalo, and giraffes and you may also see hippos, elephants, hyenas, and leopards although these last four sightings are rare, which is why it makes one of the amazing places to visit in Arusha town. Walking safaris are also possible here and may be included as part of your package! A complete guide to Arusha National Park
Lake Duluti is a volcanic crater lake in the foothills of Mount Meru, surrounded by a rocky escarpment and lush forests. The area attracts many beautiful birds, including egrets, grey herons, kingfishers, and fish eagles, as well as butterflies, primates, and reptiles, making it a great place for nature walks and birders. You can also take a guided canoe trip out on the lake with views of Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro in the background.
Meserani Snake Park
If you’ve ever been Overlanding through Tanzania, you’ve probably stayed at the famous Meserani Snake Park, located just outside of Arusha town. The camp, run by BJ and Ma, is more than just a campsite.
They also have an overland truck workshop, cultural museum, Maasai market, and as you might imagine, a reptile house with a large number of snakes.
There’s also a fun and often raucous bar, which is adorned with all kinds of traveler memorabilia, including t-shirts and banknotes. I had a very fun night there some years ago.
National Natural History Museum Arusha
Also known as the Old Boma Museum, amongst the best places to visit in Arusha town. This old fort, which was built by the Germans in the early part of the 20th Century, is now home to the National Natural History Museum.
Divided into three parts, the museum houses an exhibit on the evolution of humanity, as well as displays of fossils, stuffed animals, and plenty of historical photographs
In the center of town, you’ll find the Maasai Market. It’s pretty touristy, but it’s still one of my favorite things to do in Arusha and you’ll find a great array of souvenirs on offer, such as paintings, clothing, jewelry, and furniture – there’s a lot to spend your money on.
If you want to visit a ‘real’ Maasai market, you’re best heading to the Monday Maasai markets just outside of town, which you can get to by taxi or dala-dala (minibus). These are markets that the locals visit and you’ll find a mix of goods, not just souvenirs. You may be able to grab a bargain if your bartering skills are good.
The nearest ones are at Kisongo and Nanya, but there are also markets in Mto Wa Mbu Village (aka Mosquito River) near Lake Manyara and Rudugai near the hot springs. Read more on the Maasai People
The local markets can be overwhelming since they are crowded and everyone is trying to sell you something. I recommend going with a guide the first time. Or, take one of your new local friends. Pickpocketing is common, so make sure to watch your belongings.
These markets are a great way to practice your Swahili, learn about the culture, and get some great deals on local items. You can buy produce, meats, spices, and more. I also bought tons of clothes and second-hand hiking boots here. They have name brands you’ll be familiar with as many ex-pats leave behind their clothes, and the market sellers resell them.
The Cultural Heritage Centre
Cultural Heritage Centre is located on the outskirts of Arusha. The center has a commercial art gallery, curio shops, and a jewelry boutique
At the cultural heritage center, you can purchase ornaments, jewelry, antiques, and local crafts depending on your budget. The arts and crafts showcase the present and past stories of the tribes of Tanzania. You can also get a fresh meal at the center’s restaurant. Whether buffet or a la carte, the restaurant has a wide selection of meals including African dishes. Read About the Most Famous tribes in Tanzania
Inside Arusha National Park, you will also find Lake Momella, where you’ll find Arusha National Park’s flamingos hanging out! Lake Momella is among the amazing places to Visit in Arusha Tanzania and take a canoe safari and again, this is often included in your safari package. Check Arusha Day Trip Safari
Meru Forest Reserve
One of the best Places to Visit in Arusha Tanzania. Read all about the Meru forest reserve here
Read more on the things to do in Arusha National Park