Arusha is a small city in East Africa’s Great Rift Valley, with fairly good roads, shopping areas and other facilities. The climate is sunny, but relatively cool a lot of the time. Overlooking the city is the volcanic Mount Meru, which is sometimes capped with snow. There are other smaller hills around the city and the mountain, but much of the Arusha Region is flat.
Watoto Kicheko is in Njiro
The Watoto Kicheko Center is in Njiro, which is like an extensive suburb of Arusha, with its own shopping complex and other features that make it a pleasant place to live. There is even a multi-screen cinema, live music and free wifi at the Njiro Complex.
A short drive away from the city of Arusha and you find yourself in lush countryside. The rainy season is a good time to visit, but the foothills of Mounts Meru and Kilimanjaro are very green all year round. When the weather does get warm in Arusha, you will find that there are several swimming pools in nearby resorts and hotels, some of them open to visitors for a small fee.
Arusha the Tourist Hub
A good deal of the commercial activities in Arusha city and region relate to tourism. Visitors to the Arusha National Park, Maasai Mara Reserve, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and Conservation Area, Mount Kilimanjaro (the highest mountain in Africa, almost six kilometers high!) and Mount Meru often fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport. But there is also the option of taking a bus from Dar es Salaam (625km) or from Nairobi (272km).
Arusha is quite good for night life, with clubs, late opening bars, restaurants and other attractions. While there are some restaurants offering a more international cuisine, it is also possible (and cost effective) to look for more ‘local’ foods, such as nyama choma (roast meat) and chipsi mayai (chip omelette). A great local breakfast dish is called mtori, a green banana soup, served with lemon or lime and hot chili.
Food in Arusha, Cooked and Raw
If you are keen on cooking your own food, the open markets in and around Arusha offer the best locally grown fruits, vegetables and other products. These range from familiar items to more exotic ones, such as fenesi (jackfruit), ukwaju (tamarind) and mbuyu (baobab fruit). Don’t forget that the North of Tanzania is famous for its coffee! There are many places to get a good cup of coffee, but you might prefer to make it yourself.