Arusha and Kilimanjaro | No matter if you want to tackle Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Meru or you plan to hunt Africa’s “Big 5” with your camera: the two airports in the Arusha Region will be your gateway. Arusha’s airport (ARK) connects travelers to all of Tanzania’s other national airports, including Zanzibar, Pemba, Kilimanjaro and Tanzania’s capital Dar es Salaam. The second airport in the Arusha Region is the completely reconstructed International Airport of Kilimanjaro (JRO). It connects you to the Netherlands, Germany, Qatar, UAE, Turkey, Rwanda and Kenya.
The to-do-list for nature lovers in the Arusha Region is long (tourist magnets in bold letters): Arusha NP, Empakaai Crater, Engaruka, Great Rift Valley, Lake Manyara NP, Mt. Longido Forest Reserve, Mt. Meru Forest Reserve, Mt. Kilimanjaro NP, Ngorongoro Crater, Ngurdoto Crater, Oldonyo Lengai, Olduvai Gorge. The distance by car between Arusha and Ngorongoro Crater: 200 km (4 hours drive). Distance between Arusha and the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro: 80 km (2 hours drive).
The almost 5,900m tall Mt. Kilimanjaro owns Africa’s highest peak. The mountain is part of the Kilimanjaro National Park – a major climbing destination. In recent years the peak itself has been subject of many scientific studies because of its shrinking glaciers and disappearing ice fields thanks to man-made global warming. Each year, Kilimanjaro NP generates US$50+ million in revenue. That’s the second-most of any Tanzanian tourist area (Serengeti NP is no. 1).
The recent construction of luxury tourist hotels in this conservation area allows people to access the unparalleled beauty of one of the world’s most unchanged wildlife sanctuaries. The name of the crater has its origin in a nomadic Maasai wording describing a sound produced by cowbells (ngoro ngoro). Based on fossil evidence found at the Olduvai Gorge, various species of humans have occupied this area for 3 million years.
City of Arusha
Nestled in the verdant foothills of Mount Meru, Arusha remains the primary gateway and jump-off point for safaris into several national parks. Generally treated as little more than a stopover on the way to somewhere nice, Arusha actually provides plenty of chances to get to know the “real” Tanzania. A vibrant nightlife scene and colorful marketplaces add to the city’s dynamic vibe, while its location provides nature lovers with opportunities to climb Mount Meru or visit local coffee plantations. Safari agencies and operators provide organized tours of Arusha and its surroundings, offering experiences that range from short treks and day trips, to longer ventures to the Serengeti or Mount Kilimanjaro. Arusha is Tanzania’s best developed region. But being top in one of the 10 poorest countries on earth does actually not mean much.
Where to stay in the Arusha Region
Life is not easy in the Arusha Region. Unless you stay beyond 1,800 m altitude you are a potential target for the Tsetse mosquito. This means: Malaria. And apart from that it can be very hot in the plains of northern Tanzania. You should invest into a decent accommodation. This will come at a hefty price. The iconic Serena Safari Lodge at the rim of Ngorongoro Crater charges a minimum of 400 Euros per night. In comparison Villa de Lemaya sounds like a “budget bargain” at just 200 Euros for a 2-bed-room.
Arusha Kilimanjaro. By Chili & Churp | © International Destinations | Visit our Travel Alphabet.