Arusha, the gateway to the world famous game sanctuaries of Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire and Lake Manyara, is one of the oldest towns in Tanzania. From a tiny German garrison in 1900, Arusha has grown to become the tourist capital of Tanzania with a population of about 400,000 people. At 1,540 metres above sea level, Arusha enjoys a very agreeable climate throughout the year. Positioned at the centre of Africa between the Cape and Cairo on the Great North Road, Arusha is the administrative seat of the East African Community made up of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
Arusha offers an excellent opportunity for authentic souvenir shopping, including the bold Makonde carvings, and the colourful Tinga Tinga works and batiks. Tanzanite, the native gemstone of Arusha, and one of the most beautiful and exciting gems to come from Africa, is sold in all gemstone shops in town alongside other locally mined stones like Ruby, Rhodolite and Tourmaline. Tanzanite was first discovered in 1967, some 40 kilometers to the southeast of Arusha at Mererani. To date Mererani remains the only commercially viable source for Tanzanite in the world. Tanzanite was named after Tanzania.
Lying between the peaks of Kilimanjaro and Meru, Arusha National Park is an outstandingly beautiful area. The Park has a wide range of habitats, from the string of crater lakes where many water birds can be watched, through the highland mountain forest and on up to the imposing summit of Mount Meru. The forests contain a wealth of birds and other animals, like the beautiful bushbuck easily glimpsed in the grades between the ancient cedar trees or the black and white Colobus monkeys climbing along their branches. The interesting geology of the area is reflected in the impressive view of the ash cone and cliff face leading to the summit of Mount Meru. Everywhere throughout the Park there are chances to observe the natural world at its own pace, to see different animals in their various habitats and absorb something of the serenity of the surroundings. Those who ascend the summit of the mountain will be rewarded with unparalleled views of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro and the Great Rift Valley.
Arusha National Park is a relatively small park, covering an area of 137 square kilometers (52.9 square miles), and lies near the town of Arusha. The town and the Park derive their name from the Warusha people who traditionally lived in this area. However the Park also overlaps into areas where the Maasai lived and most of the place names in the Park are of Maasai origin. The park has different vegetation zones and places with different types of animals: migrating water birds settle on the lakes, waterbuck and reedbuck are found near the water, while shy bushbuck and duikers keep to the forested areas. It is obviously impossible to say exactly where different species will be encountered but it is possible to build up a picture of the most likely species to be found in any area. Within this wide range of habitats almost 400 species of birds have been recorded in the Park. Some of these are migratory and present between October and April, others are permanent residents in the forests.
Arusha Town: Serena Mountain Village, Arumeru River Lodge, Rivertrees Country Inn, Impala Hotel, Kia Lodge (nearby Kilimanjaro airport), Moivaro Coffee Lodge, Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge, Kigongoni Lodge, Naura Springs Hotel and Onsea House
In Arusha National Park: Hatari Lodge
Dar es Salaam, meaning The Haven of Peace in Arabic, has one of the best deep natural harbours in the world. From a small Swahili town in the middle of the 19th century, Dar es Salaam has grown into a large metropolitan centre with a population of over 3,500,000 dwellers. The city population represents the over 120 tribes of Tanzania with their different cultural backgrounds coming together, alongside the oriental civilizations from the far and middle east, and the Europeans including early Portuguese visitors in the 16th Century, the Germans and later the British. All cultures at one time or another passed through Dar es Salaam. It is necessary to visit Dar es Salaam to understand the secret of letting different cultures live together in absolute harmony.
Being the commercial capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam is also the main gateway to the nature reserves of southern Tanzania, which include the Selous and Saadani Game Reserves and the National Parks of Mikumi, Ruaha and Udzungwa Mountains. It also serves as a convenient connection for travel to the islands of Mafia, Zanzibarand Pemba both by sea and air. A city tour of Dar es Salaam will take you to the National Museum, Nyerere Cultural Centre, the Village Museum, Mwenge Carvings Market, and the Magogoni Fish Market, among other interesting spots.
The name Pangani is derived from the river that runs through northern part of this Historical Town flowing from the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Located about 50km South from Tanga, it is believed to have been established before the 6th Century BC and played an important role during the slave trade era. It was a trading port dealing mainly with ivory and slaves. Several historical sites in and around the town serve as reminders for the strong Arabic influence and the later German, British colonial era in Tanganyika.
Currently Pangani is mainly a fishing town providing beautiful beaches with coconut trees. Someone looking for a quiet vacation and an experience of African culture untouched by modern tourism Pangani would be an answer to that. Places of interest in Pangani are there is a waterfall at Pangani River that provides electricity for Tanga, Arusha, Moshi and Dar es Salaam. The river also has a number of birds and crocodiles. Maziwi Island is a nature reserve which provides ground for snorkelling opportunity and dolphin tour. A walking tour through the town allows one to see some of old buildings that are over 200 years old, as well as visits to a former slave labour camps and slave market site where Arabs traded slaves to India and Arabia, the Freedom Grounds, Islamic and German graves, ancient mosques and traditional houses. One will also see the streets carpet makers, woodcarvers, basket weavers, painters and other artisans sell a wide variety of handmade cultural items.