Arusha is a typical small, dusty Sub-Saharan African town and that is part of its charm. Set at the foot of Mount Meru, it has bustling markets next to old, rather delapidated colonial buildings interspersed with more modern shops, all set on pot-holed roads filled with hooting taxis and crazy drivers. It’s hard not to feel the beat of Africa here. First settled in the 1830’s by the Maasai people, the town was conquered by the Germans in the early 1900’s, who built the fort (Boma) which still stands. The British took the town during WW1 and it remained in their hands until independence was granted to the then Tanganyika in 1961. In July 2006, Arusha was declared a city by Tanzania. This chequered past adds to the mixture of architecture and culture still found here.
Gettin’ Cultural & Goin’ Shoppin’
Arusha has a number of museums and galleries that chronicle the history of the town and its people and showcase its art. Many of these incorporate fabulous places to buy things to take home to remind you of your safari experience.
Cultural Heritage Centre
This centre, a little out of town, combines a museum, restaurant, coffee shop, spice centre and shops in which to buy art, curios, African antiques, tanzanite and more. You can easily get all the gifts you need to take home for the family here. Wander around the grounds marvelling at the sculptures before heading in to the spice centre, which doubles as a book shop, filled with enticing aromas. Don’t miss out on the Makonde Museum – a showcase of their masterful carved masks.
Old Boma Museum
The original fort, built by the Germans in the early 1900’s, now houses the Natural History Museum. Learn about the colonial history of Arusha and marvel at the huge collection of stuffed animals.
Read up on the archeological history of the area and see beautiful pictures of the diverse array of fauna and flora, before enjoying a cup of tea in the cafe.
Why Travel to Tanzania? by Luke Hardiman
Tanzania, ‘Land of Legends’ and home to the Serengeti National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Ngorogoro Crater and the annual Wildebeest Migration, not to mention spectacular Zanzibar Island. These are just the best-known destinations. There are many other fantastic well-run National Parks and sights to see.
Cliff Africa Adventures offers a variety of Tanzania Safaris to suite all tastes, from game viewing adventures in Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Selous and other top Tanzania Game Parks to Island Getaways to Zanzibar, and Kilimanjaro Treks.
Types of Tanzania Tours include:
- Budget Camping Tours – visiting Arusha, the Great Rift Valley, Ngorongoro Crater, the Northern Safari Circuit, and Southern Tanzania Game Parks, including Mikumi Park, Ruaha National Park, Udzungwa Mountains and Selous Game Reserve. Affordable tours that get you close to nature, staying in or near game parks and places of interest.
- Budget Lodge Safaris – exploring Tarangire National Park, Serengeti and Ngorongoro (Northern Safari Circuit), as well as the Southern Tanzania Game Parks of Mikumi Park, Ruaha National Park, and Selous Game Reserve. A step up from camping, you stay in well-selected safari lodges and similar accommodation, exploring nature in a bit of style and comfort.
- Overland Camping Tours and Accommodated Overland Safaris – going on longer African trips to top Tanzanian parks and Zanzibar Islands, as well as Kenya’s game parks and a host of other famous safari destinations. These trips travel by safari truck in social groups of adventurous spirits, requiring some participation along the way.
- Exclusive Budget Tours – to Arusha and the Northern Safari Circuit (Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, Serengeti and Tarangire National Park) along with Kenyan game parks, including the Masai Mara. These are small group safaris that generally combine comfortable camping and lodge or tented camp accommodation, offering a good balance between camping and lodging.
Tanzania Travel Highlights
- Serengeti National Park – the Endless Plains
Famous for the Great Migration and wide open savannah grasslands teeming with wildlife. The Serengeti Plains roll on in a seemingly endless sea of iconic African landscapes. The oldest and most popular national park in Tanzania, the Serengeti Park is a world heritage site. The annual Wildebeest Migration is one of the most awesome wildlife spectacles on earth, consisting of hundreds of thousands to millions of stampeding wildebeest, zebra, Thomson’s gazelle and other antelopes, in turn attracting an array of predators!
- Ngorongoro Crater – the Garden of Eden
This extinct volcano is home to the highest density of wild animals found in one area in Africa. The largest unflooded Caldera in the world, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of the top places for sighting predators, especially lions.
- Zanzibar Islands – the Spice Islands
An idyllic beach paradise where Arabic and African influences meet to create a fascinating cultural and historic journey. Zanzibar offers some of the world’s finest scuba diving and snorkelling sites along the shores of its tropical islands.
- Tarangire National Park – less touristy wildlife gem
Tarangire is best known for its huge elephant population and tree climbing lions, as well as being home to a huge variety of birds. Tarangire Park is scattered with baobab trees and termite mounds, adding to its unique landscape. Tarangire is said to host one of the world’s highest concentrations of elephants per square kilometer. Tarangire is also inhabited by Tanzania’s second highest concentration of wildlife during the dry months.
- Lake Manyara National Park – the loveliest Lake in Africa
This national park includes diverse habitats supporting incredibly varied wildlife. Known for the huge falmingo flocks and other birds attracted to shallow Lake Manyara, along with tree climbing lions and numerous other wild animals.
- Mount Kilimanjaro – the Roof of Africa
The tallest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world, Kilimanjaro is one of the seven summits of the world.
- Southern Tanzanian Safari Circuit
The southern safari circuit of Tanzania includes the Mikumi National Park, Ruaha National Park, Selous Game Reserve and the Udzungwa Mountains National Park.
- Mikumi National Park is the closest national park to Dar es Salaam, covering 3230 km² of open savannahs resembling the Serengeti Plains. Mikumi is home to over 400 bird species, predators including leopards and lions, and populations of elephants, giraffes buffaloes, zebras, greater Kudu and wildebeest, as well as antelopes.
- Ruaha National Park
a relatively wild and less explored wilderness area, is Tanzania’s second largest National Park. The park is set within a transitional zone between southern and east African flora and fauna species incorporating a unique variety of animals, birds and vegetation. Ruaha is known for its large elephant and buffalo herds and is home to an abundance of lion, leopard and cheetah. The remote and less touristy Selous Reserve is considered the largest game reserve in Africa, and is home to one of the greatest concentrations of big game in the world. This untamed wilderness area is a World Heritage Site, hosting one of Africa’s largest populations of endangered African Wild Dogs, as well as critically endangered black rhinos. The Udzungwa Mountains National Park is not a conventional game viewing destination, but it is a World Biodiversity Hotspot, hosting numerous endemic plant and animal species. This pristine and unique park covers a mountainous region of rich rainforests, and is exceptionally scenic. The Udzungwa Mountains are sometimes called the Galapagos Islands of Africa, given the high biodiversity and species endemism.
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