We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Best things to do around Arusha prior to safari-late Decembe

Which Arusha hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Kingfield
posts: 49
reviews: 12
Best things to do around Arusha prior to safari-late Decembe

My husband and I will be spending 4-5 days in Arusha prior to our departure on our safari in late December. I have read many of your posts and feel that we should spend 1 day in Arusha Town, 1 day in Arusha Park and are looking for other suggestions. We are active people.

I have been told that it does not make sense to go to Tarangire Park because the grass is too long and we can not see the animals.

Will the Rawanda Trials be happening from Dec. 25 on? What language are they conducted in?

Thank you for your help.

VSRME

Isle of Man, United...
posts: 32,271
reviews: 199
1. Re: Best things to do around Arusha prior to safari-late Decembe

Tarangire grass. who said that? I have yet to see grass long enough to hide an Elephant, or Hippo or Buffalo.

Your agent does not want you to go. Change your Agent!

Kingfield
posts: 49
reviews: 12
2. Re: Best things to do around Arusha prior to safari-late Decembe

Thanks for correcting the information about the grass. Good news.

VSRME

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 7,221
reviews: 93
3. Re: Best things to do around Arusha prior to safari-late Decembe

I support the Arusha NP visit, but would not spend that long in Arusha proper. Move on to Tarangire.

nyc
posts: 13,479
4. Re: Best things to do around Arusha prior to safari-late Decembe

Is there any reason for 4/days prior your safari to be spending in Arusha?

Are you meeting up with a 'group' safari departure?

If so and asking about Tarangire, does this mean this park was not included on the itinerary?

If I've got it right, then besides a day at Arusha NP, arrange to visit Tarangire for 2/nts, returning to Arusha in time to meet up with the group.

For that matter, if it's a private itinerary and for some reason Tarangire wasn't included, go visit. No worry about high grasses, as mfuwe said - ain't no way to miss the ellee, hippo, buffalo. Sure, a lion laying down in the grass might be missed, but a good guide will find more game than you expected.

Honolulu, Hawaii
posts: 857
reviews: 6
5. Re: Best things to do around Arusha prior to safari-late Decembe

We spent 2 days in Arusha to acclimate after the long trip from Hawaii and had a wonderful time there. Our TO had arranged for a wonderful lunch at Shanga, a place run to help disabled people. So very well worth a visit.

Also an extremely interesting drive and visit to Ikidinka Masai village. That trip was on our first day in Africa, still suffering from jet lag, and made us feel like we were on another planet. Maybe the most interesting experience we had.

Canada
posts: 5
reviews: 11
6. Re: Best things to do around Arusha prior to safari-late Decembe

We are still enroute back from Tanzania, you are in for a great trip!

Can you give your rationale for allowing 4-5 days in Arusha? I can imagine it has to do with jet lag recovery - as another poster mentioned.

We arrived a day early to see Arusha but we had stopped for a week in Europe so the time change was minimal.

We contracted a driver from the hotel to show us around - very worthwhile! He also took us to Shanga, I second the motion to stop there. He also parked at the bus station and took us into the sprawling market, along with another young man who accompanied us - likely for extra security. Wow, was that interesting! He also tried taking us to a coffee farm, close to Shanga but it was closed. Or at least there wasnt a response at the gate. We also went to a Masai market, which takes a lot of time. It is hard to just look because each person from their tiny shop is vying for your attention. This was repeated in other Masai markets visited. (Im not complaining, just observing.)

Depending on your profession, I think it would be very interesting to connect with that in Arusha. If we had taken one more day, I could have made arrangements for a hospital visit, fot example. Maybe next time!

Edited: 2:03 am, October 14, 2012
Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
posts: 12,121
reviews: 6
7. Re: Best things to do around Arusha prior to safari-late Decembe

I think that the trials will be still be conducted in December. They are wrapping down but it will take a while to get them all completed. They are done in 3 languages, French, English, and the local Rwandan language. There are viewing rooms just outside the courtrooms, and there are headphones for you to listen in on. Take your passport along when you go there, as they will ask for it at the front security shack.

If you would want to visit a hospital, the best hospital in Arusha is the Arusha Christian Medical Centre which is located in the city center (any taxi can take you there), or the Selian Hospital which is just outside the city and is a much smaller hospital.

If you're there on a Sunday you might want to go to one of their churches, there is a church right beside the Medical Centre which is a non-denominational church where I go when I'm in Arusha on Sundays. It's called the Arusha Community Church and mostly ex-pats go there and the service is conducted in English. The services are led by lay people and missionaries who are there, I've been there then the sermons were delivered by lay people, pastors visiting there, and several times by an Irish Catholic priest, so it's varied and a good place to be on a Sunday. Nice coffee hour after so that you can visit with the people there.

I would suggest going to some of the markets. There are many very good restaurants in Arusha if you seek them out. I always try to go to Pete's Pub in an evening, it's a local place where they have chicken, beef, and fish bar-b-que and it's well attended by locals mostly sitting outdoors. I've had to pull a chair up and use it for a table because all the tables were in use. Good place to get local flavor. Other good places are the Shanghi on Sokoine Street (main street), Pepe's on Church Street, there's a new pizza place but I forget the name, Via Via at the end of Boma Street is good for lunch, the Coffee Farm on the edge of town is a good place for lunch or dinner, the Bamboo Cafe on Boma street across from the New Safari Hotel is good for lunches. A good lively place for dinner is the Masai Camp sometimes they will have entertainment.

If you want to just go around Arusha hire a taxi for the day or half day and have them just take you on a tour, it won't cost much and I've yet to tip a taxi driver there they will tell you their fares and that's all you need to pay, they don't expect a tip just the fare.

Gosh, I've spent weeks there and always found plenty to do.

Kingfield
posts: 49
reviews: 12
8. Re: Best things to do around Arusha prior to safari-late Decembe

Thank you all for your thoughts. We are flexible in our timing--want to get over jet lag which takes longer with each trip, schedule flights when cheapest over the Christmas holiday, and learn some more about this very new and different place and people we are visiting. We will be meeting up with a group safari for 11 days that will take us north to the most renown places.

Tarangire is not on the schedule. So it looks as if we should find a tour company to take us there. So glad I asked about it.

And I appreciate the comments about the markets, Shanga, the trials, church.

Is it possible to get into a school?

Thank you again.

VSRME

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
posts: 12,121
reviews: 6
9. Re: Best things to do around Arusha prior to safari-late Decembe

Yes there are plenty of schools you can visit. Try St. Jude's in Arusha operated by an Australian. But you can get into most schools, just go to the headmaster's office and ask. They will take you around unless they are in their exams.

Any tour operator can go to Tarangire, or anywhere else for that matter.

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 7,221
reviews: 93
10. Re: Best things to do around Arusha prior to safari-late Decembe

I would like to suggest you learn what tour operator you tour company is using and contact them for your extra night accomodations and what they can do for you for extra tours. Is it OAT by any chance?