Experienced tourists know that there is always more in a country than what meets the eye. It’s so common for the rookie tourists to miss out on some of the most stunning attractions in a country when planning your vacation. Take Tanzania for example, all of us know there is Serengeti and its exotic wild life and there is Zanzibar with one of the best fusion of the European and African architecture. But how many of us know there is a city called Arusha in the northern part of the country, which acts as a gateway to the northern safari experience of Tanzania but is also an attraction in itself if you consider its surroundings that are lush and the climate that is perhaps the mildest in the whole of Tanzania.
Once a small settlement, Arusha now inhabited by more than four hundred thousand residents is the fast growing town in the country mainly thanks to the ever increasing tourist traffic that pass through the city on their journey to the northern safari circuit. Although the city can be reached by the bus service from Dar es Salam but most visitors prefer taking a cheap flight to Kilimanjaro airport which is situated in the north of the city. As the tourist traffic is high in the town so you will find quite a lot of accommodation options while in Arusha that can range from some costly luxurious hotels to the ones that can provide you with decent facilities at a cheaper price.
As said before, this is the gateway to the northern safari circuit so most tourists take Arusha as just a stop over on their way to the safari parks. The greatest attraction of the city is the Mt. Meru that looms over the city and is worth hiking. It will take you between 2 to 4 days to complete this hike depending upon your physical condition. The mountain is 4,173 meters high and the view from the summit of the Mt. Meru is stunning.
Although the journey to the top of the mountain is quite an easy one but it is recommended that you tag along with a group that is hiking the mountain for your own security or at least hire a guide from the tourist board’s office in the city.
Safaris are costly, it takes a lot of your fortune to make a complete trip of a game reserve like Serengeti, but it surely is one of the best ways to explore nature and get a completely new perspective of your life. Arusha may not provide you with the same experience as Serengeti but a tour to its neighboring reserves is much cheaper than what you should expect for visiting Serengeti.
Ashura National Park is a small 137 sq km park but it has some stunning sceneries and a few exotic wild life as well. You will find quite a lot of tour operators in the city that are offering tours to the park but try to book your tours through the tourist department as there are quite a few of tour operators that are nothing more than just rip offs.