Arusha is one of Tanzania’s 26 administrative regions. The regional capital and largest city is Arusha. Other towns include Monduli, just west of Arusha, Longido and Loliondo to the north, Mto Wa Mbu and Karatu to the west and Usa River to the east. The region is divided into these districts: Ngorongoro, Arusha, Karatu, Monduli, Longido and Arumeru.

The region is a global tourist destination and is the centre of the great North Tanzanian Safari Circuit. Ngorongoro Crater, in the western part of the region, drew 250,000 visitors from around the world in 2004. Nearby national parks include Serengeti (most of which is in Mara Region), Arusha, Tarangire and Lake Manyara (in Manyara Region). Kilimanjaro (in Kilimanjaro Region) is 44 miles east of Mount Meru. Remains of a 1,000-year-old stone structure are found at Engaruka.

The Great Rift Valley cuts right through the middle of the region north-to-south. Oldonyo Lengai (Mountain of God in Maasai language) is an active volcano to the north of Ngorongoro. Altitudes throughout the region vary widely, but much of it ranges from 900 to 1600 metres (3,000 to 5,500 feet in elevation. Mt. Meru, the second highest mountain in Tanzania after Kilimanjaro, peaks at 4,655 metres (14,980 feet). Other geographical features include the Lelatema Mountains and the Umba Valley.

The city of Arusha, the capital of the region is located at the southern foot of Mt. Meru. The regions’s population is concentrated in South East of the region.

The Maasai are the most influential tribe in the region. The Arusha and Meru people live near Mt. Meru. Rwa, Mbulu, Iraqw, Temi, and Mbugwe are also present in smaller areas. The city of Arusha is currently undergoing urbanization, which is drawing people of many ethnic groups around the nation and the world.

According to the 2002 Tanzania National Census, the population of the Arusha Region was 1,292,973.

Portions of the former Arusha Region districts of Kiteto, Babati, Mbulu, Hanang, and a tiny piece of Monduli were incorporated into the recently formed Manyara Region — immediately south of Arusha Region.

Home region of Filbert Bayi.


Transport in Tanzania

Most roads are unpaved, but there are three main paved highways.

The first runs into the region from the east near Kilimanjaro International Airport. It runs east-west through the city of Arusha, then curves northward around Mt. Meru and continues on to Nairobi, Kenya. It is commonly called the Nairobi road.

The second begins in Arusha and goes west, through Kisongo, through Meserani, and past Monduli. After about 50 miles near Mto wa Mbu, the road begins curving southward around Lake Manyara and continues on to Babati and Dodoma. It is commonly called the Dodoma roads.

The third is a new highway from the Dodoma road near Mto wa Mbu to Ngorongoro Crater. It accommodates many tourists and passes through Mto wa Mbu and Karatu before ascending to the crater.

Arusha region is landlocked and there are no navigable rivers. The larger lakes in the Rift Valley are not used for transportation.

Kilimanjaro International Airport, which serves the cities Moshi and Arusha, is a gateway for tourists and business. Among its carriers are Air Tanzania, Precision Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, and KLM.

Most overland travel is done by bus from the city of Arusha. Within town, mini-buses called dala-dalas jockey for passengers.

There are also many “unofficial” taxiing services that center around tourist hubs (hotels and markets for example). As with anything of this nature, it is best to be careful with their services. Usually, the ones offering rides from inside the gate of the hotels are genuine taxi drivers, while those outside may be more suspect.

Named roads

 The road referred to as Nairobi Road is Arusha-Moshi Road, as it joins the two districts. The Nairobi Road is the one that passes through Ngarenaro, eventually joining the Arusha-Moshi road. They then join and continue with one name ‘Nairobi Road’ as they head towards Sakina, Azimio, Ngaramtoni and eventually Nairobi.

The “Dodoma Road” ceased to be in the 1980s when Tanzania lost its then Prime Minister, Honorable Edward Moringe Sokoine. The road was renamed “Sokoine Road” in his honour as it leads to his home village.

Industry and economy

The primary industry of the region is agriculture, with large vegetable and flower producers sending high-quality produce to Europe. Small-scale agriculture was badly hit by the coffee crisis of recent years and is now largely subsistence farming. Arusha has several factories including a brewery, tyre and fibreboard plant, and a large pharmaceuticals maker.

The region around Arusha is the sole source of a gem-quality mineral called Tanzanite, currently produced in large quantities by corporate mining concerns.

Tourism is also a major contributor to the economy in Arusha, being the second largest contributor of income in Tanzania. Given the town’s location near some of the most popular national parks and game reserves in Africa including Selous National Park (one of the largest national parks in the world), Serengeti National Park, Kilimanjaro National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area among others, Arusha has become a popular staging point for tourists visiting Tanzania and East Africa for photo safaris and hiking treks to Mt. Kilimanjaro. Many documentary and feature-length films have been set in and around Arusha, including the 1962 Howard Hawks film Hatari! with John Wayne.

Arusha is home to the offices of the East African Community, and plays host to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, all of which contributes to the local economy.

The famous Arusha International Conference Center, host to many international meetings, is located here.


Offices of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, 2003.

Among Arusha’s notable districts are the Central Business Area, located by the Clocktower, Sekei in the North-West which is largely residential with a vibrant nightlife, Njiro, a middle-class rapidly-growing suburb in the South, and Tengeru, a lively market-town in the East.

North of Arusha is a district called Karatu, Ngorongoro, Monduli, Arumeru and Longido. It is about 90 minutes north of Arusha by daladala along the Arusha-Nairobi Road. Robanda Safari Camp is one of the favorite Safari Camp. Robanda Safari Camp is located just outside Serengeti Ikoma Gate. This location was carefully chosen so as to be right in the path of the wildebeest migration. The best time to witness this spectacular migration is from May to August and from October to December. There is a high animal concentration year round though, with big herds of wildebeest and zebra, elephant and giraffe. Other animal species include lion, hyena, gazelle, topi, and buffalo.

Arusha’s clock tower 03°22′20.5″S 036°41′40.1″E / 3.372361°S 36.694472°E is popularly supposed to be situated at the midpoint between Cairo and Cape Town, therefore representing the halfway point between the two termini of the old British Empire in Africa. However, the actual great circle midpoint between these two cities lies in central Congo. The clock tower is currently adorned by the logo of the Coca-Cola Company.


Arusha is mostly served by Kilimanjaro International Airport for international travellers, some 60 kilometres (37 mi) east, approximately halfway to Moshi. The airport provides international and domestic flights. Arusha Airport is a smaller domestic airport in the west of the city, currently undergoing expansion. It serves more than 87,000 passengers yearly, amazingly for its size. It is surrounded by hills to the north and east; the local habitat is a mix of savanna woodlands, agriculture and remnant forest. There are no passenger train services to or from Arusha, but there are regular coaches (buses) to Nairobi, Dodoma and Dar Es Salaam, plus other local towns.


Arusha has moderate weather, a location near scenic countryside and a lively music scene. Tanzanian hip-hop is currently popular with the youth market. It is mostly performed in Swahili, with various genres influenced by African American music, locally known as African Hip Hop. Some examples of this genre are the band, X Plastaz, singers Nakaaya, Nako 2 Nako, Watengwa and Waturutumbi.

Arusha hosts many of Tanzania’s festivals, and the yearly festival is hosted by a few Tanzanian corporate sponsors that attract various artists from around the world. Artists like Shaggy and Ja Rule have performed in Arusha.

Arusha also hosts the annual Arusha Nane Nane Agricultural show. Nane Nane is one of the many vibrant public holidays in Tanzania, held on August 8 (the 8th of the 8th month, nane nane means “eight eight” in Swahili). Farmers and other stakeholders exchange knowledge and business. It attracts up to a half million people every year.

Arusha is also known for its vibrant night life, with popular local night clubs like the Velocity, Colobus Club and the Blue Triple ‘A’.

The National Natural History Museum is located in Arusha at the Old German Boma. The museum is small and contains three exhibits on early man, plants and animals of the Arusha region, and culture history of the colonial period of Arusha.

Arusha also hosts a small museum adjacent to the Uhuru monument which displays information about the proceedings of the Arusha Declaration in 1967.


There are four international schools in and around Arusha: International School Moshi (Arusha Campus), Arusha International school, Braeburn School, and St Constantine’s International School.

The School of St Jude provides free education to children from the poorest families.

International School Moshi was founded in 1969 and now has 460 students from 46 nationalities on two campuses in Moshi and Arusha. The Arusha campus was established in 1986 and now has 200 day students, and offers courses from pre-kindergarten to grade 10. Grades K-10 follow the International Baccalaureate Primary years programme (PYP) and Middle Years programme (MYP) curriculum with an African and international perspective. It has been an IB World school since 2007.

Also there is several higher learning Institutions including National College of Tourism – Arusha Campus, Arusha Technical college, Tengeru Institute of community Development, The Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology, Eastern and Southern African Management Institute, MS Training Centre for Development Cooperation (MS-TCDC), The Institute of Accountancy Arusha, Forestry Training Institute, Olmotonyi, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, Makumira University College, The Arusha University and The Mount Meru University. Whereas plan for Aga Khan University-Arusha Campus is in the initial stages.

Geography and climate

Despite its proximity to the equator, Arusha’s elevation of 1,400 m on the southern slopes of Mount Meru keeps temperatures relatively low and alleviates humidity. Cool dry air is prevalent for much of the year. The temperature ranges between 13 and 30 degrees Celsius with an average around 25 degrees. It has distinct wet and dry seasons, and experiences an eastern prevailing wind from the Indian Ocean, a couple of hundred miles east. Almost within the entire city; if you go north you will be going up hill, and going south is always down hill.


Arusha is Tanzania’s rugby home with the national team playing its international matches there. Joshua Pieterson who played for the national team was the second youngest international rugby player ever behind Johnny Wilkinson. Southern Pool A of the 2007 Castel Beer Trophy was hosted here as well.

Arusha FC, playing in Sheikh Amri Abeid Memorial Stadium, represents the city in Tanzanian league football.

The Mount Meru Marathon was held from 1985 to 2004 in Arusha. The “all-comers” record for the fastest marathon performance in Tanzania, 2:13:46, was set at the event by former long-distance runner Benedict Ako on August 1, 1993.

On May 21, 2011, the Drake University Bulldogs beat the CONADEIP All-Stars 17-7 in the first ever American Football Game in Tanzania.

In popular culture

Arusha was the setting for the 1962 film Hatari! directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne. In the video game Halo 3, a highway sign is seen that says “Arusha”, though it is crossed out, suggesting that the city was destroyed by the Covenant.

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