How to Spend 1 Day in Arusha
From colorful markets to local food and charismatic neighborhoods, Arusha welcomes travelers with big energy and open arms. While many visitors breeze through on their way to safaris or national parks, spending a day here offers a fascinating glimpse of urban life in Tanzania. Here’s how to spend one day in Arusha.
Morning: Search for Souvenirs
Start the day by browsing for souvenirs and quirky treasures in Maasai Market Curios and Crafts, a maze of stalls packed with Tanzanian wares. Exploring the market is the chance to strike up a conversation with a local and pick up mementos. Bargaining over prices is expected here, and the best finds at the Maasai Market include beadwork, hand-woven baskets, and wood carvings. For higher-end souvenirs and gemstones, opt for the Cultural Heritage Centre, instead. A gallery-like setting with high-quality art and crafts drawn from around the country, it’s known for a great selection of tanzanite.
Afternoon: Visit the Old Bomas Museum
With a fascinating location inside a fortified German compound, the Old Bomas Museum is Arusha’s top destination for natural history. Check out displays on human evolution and Tanzanian fossils, along with taxidermy, images of native plants, and information about the country’s magnificent animals. The Old Bomas Museum—sometimes called the Natural History Museum—is included on some guided tours of Arusha. After you check out wings dedicated to natural history, visit a section that explores Tanzania’s time under German colonial rule.
Night: Sample Tanzanian Cuisine
Grab a taxi for a night of local dining, whether you’re looking for upscale eats or something more rustic. Barbecue lovers shouldn’t miss the excellent, open-air Khan’s Barbecue, while elegant Rivertrees Restaurant has a breezy, garden dining room near Arusha National Park. Close to the Arusha Clock Tower is Kitamu Coffee, which offers Tanzanian specials such as green peas in coconut sauce along with locally grown Kilimanjaro coffee. Arusha’s deeply rooted Indian community means it’s easy to find excellent curries: Check out Hot Tandoor Village Indian Cuisine for specialties served at outdoor tables surrounded by foliage.