What to Do in Arusha For a Day
Arusha is safari capital in Tanzania and starting point for Northern circuit safaris. Perhaps you are finished with safari tour and you are left with additional day, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be in Arusha. Here are some ideas how to spend a busy 24 hours in Arusha.
We have selected short trips in surroundings of Arusha. Not all ideas from this list are possible in one day, but perhaps will help you to decide on some from the list.
Go for Some Shopping in Arusha
Shop on Central Arusha Market – Check Haggling Skills
Markets are always interesting, especially in Africa. You can start a day early and go to local central market in Arusha on Sokaine Road. Market is near bus station. It is best to just loose yourself between hustle and bustle. Market vendors sell anything from vegetables and fruits, hand made crafts and usual things.
Buy Souvenirs in Maasai Market
Although Maasai Market in Arusha is just theoretically a market, it is fairly organised place with stands where souvenir shopping experience …from Maasai jewellery, leather hand made flip flops, key chains, fabrics, small figurines, coconut wood carvings, shop till you drop.
Go on Farmers Market – Nane Nane Day
If you happen to be in Arusha on August 8th, its interesting to see farmers market. Nane nane is celebration and recognition of farmers contribution to Tanzanian economy. There is small entrance fee, but once inside, you will have shopping opportunities from all around Tanzania.
People sell cattle from goats to cows, as well as nice local hand crafts, there are food stalls with Tanzanian food and what is most important, true local vibes. Will not see any tourist here. If you are up for some serious shopping, its good to come after 12 o’clock, as it will be easier to haggle with vendors. When time is running out they will be more eager to drop prices.
Go for Tanzanite Shopping
Fans of gems know Tanzania is the place to buy authentic tanzanite. However, finding a trustworthy shop for Tanzanite in Arusha could be hard, but we have found it! While in Arusha, head to Mount Meru Hotel. There is showroom and shop selling authentic Tanzanite stone.
Try Nyama Choma or Samaki in Local Restaurant
Go out of your comfort zone, skip a western style restaurants pizzas and pasta in lodges and eat some real local dishes! Chicken (in Swahili kuku), beef and fish (samaki in Swahili) marinated and grilled to perfection. And some ugali on the side!
There are plenty of local restaurants but we would recommend Tembo Club on Meserani Rd. Arusha or Milestones bar. Those who can not live without pizza, head to Blue Heron, known for wood fire pizzas and great spacious lush garden – expat scene!
What to do Near Arusha
Visit Arusha National Park
Arusha is small and soon one figures out there isn’t much left to do in the city unless you are heading for safari.
For those who have private or organised transport options are wider.
In one day in Arusha there is enough time to go on short half day safari to Arusha National Park. Unfortunately there is no big 5, but park offers different rewards. Typical day in Arusha National park is combined with canoe safari on Small Momella Lake and walking tour.
Birdlife is amazing and lots of game wildlife. For a safari like this one needs 4 to 5 hours and back to hotel. This kind of trip is not advised on the same day of departure to next destination when you have to catch a flight from Kilimanjaro for example.
Visit Real Maasai Market
For those who want to stay in Arusha, Maasai Market will do. Arusha Maasai Market is souvenir shopping commercial compound. The Real Maasai Markets are slightly out of Arusha and are within easy reach by car or dalla dallas. Maasai Markets are open on Mondays. To experience real Maasai Market without tourists head to Kisongo or Nanya.
There is also another Maasai market, just before Mto Wa Mbu village although this is fairly far if you want to be back in Arusha the same day. For real Maasai market expect to witness anything, vegetables, fruits, souvenirs, fabrics and even slaughter of goats.
Visit Maserani Snake Park
Maserani Snake Park could be a short stop for safari goers, but otherwise is easy to reach on your own. Maserani Snake park is close to Arusha, only 25 kilometers out of Arusha city. You will see a wide variety of snakes and reptiles. There are friendly staff employed and those who will have courage, will have opportunity to hold a snake or touch little crocodiles. However dont have high expectations, Maserani park is simple park!
In front of the park there is also Maasai Cultural Museum, which is really interesting as you are guided by real Maasai knowledgeable warrior. So along with snakes you can learn something new about Maasai culture, definitely lots of detailed information as long as you are willing to listen!
Go for Canoeing on Lake Duluti
In case you are in the mood for canoeing but not in the mood for safari to Arusha National Park, there is easy short ten minute ride out of Arusha, and you an find yourself in a canoe on Lake Duluti. Canoeing session on Duluti Lake takes hour and a half, and all tour operators can arrange it.
Have you been to Arusha? Share your ideas on how to spend 24 hours in Arusha!