How to Spend 2 Days in Arusha
Since big game and spectacular landscapes are a day trip away, Arusha is a great home base for checking out Tanzania’s wild side. With two days in Arusha, you can explore the city’s bustling markets, natural history museum, and cuisine, then head for the forested slopes of Mount Meru in Arusha National Park. Here’s how to plan.
Day 1: Art, Crafts, and Community
Morning: A trove of tanzanite and other precious gems is on display at the Cultural Heritage Centre, where you can also pick up high-quality art and handicrafts in a gallery-like setting. Don’t miss the excellent collection of African artifacts here; the masks and carvings span countries, cultures, and eras.
Afternoon: Community projects are keeping local traditions vibrant—see a project firsthand in the Shanga & Shanga Foundation workshop, which employs Tanzanians with disabilities. Blown glass, weaving, and other beautiful handicrafts by Shanga & Shanga artisans make great souvenirs. In addition to tours, it’s possible to learn the basics of bead design and more here.
Night: Pick a local restaurant to seek out some Tanzanian specialties this evening. Multicultural Arusha has a wide range of options, but you should look for mandazi, a kind of donut; ndizi kanga, or fried bananas; and hearty plates of nyama choma, grilled meat with a pilli pilli sauce made from peppers.
Day 2: Arusha National Park
Morning: Since Arusha National Park is 45 minutes from the city, you can experience the wildlife reserve on a full- or half-day tour. Choose a tour with an early departure to make the most of your time in the park, which is known for a magnificent giraffe population. Options include walking safaris, boat trips, and visiting the rim of Ngurdoto Crater.
Afternoon: If you’re in Arusha National Park for the entire day, take a break for lunch, then keep exploring: You’ll see different animals at different times, and the late-afternoon light casts dramatic shadows on the slopes of Mount Meru.
Night: Back in Arusha for a final dinner, check out one of the city’s excellent Indian restaurants. A thriving local Indian community means plenty of curries and chapati for hungry travelers.