Built by the Germans as a center of colonial administration in the early 20th century, this growing city is generally regarded as the safari capital of Tanzania. Many safari operators are based there as it is the most accessible gateway to the wildlife parks of the Northern Circuit (Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Tarangire).

Although the center is a little hectic, crowded and dusty, it sits in a pleasant, lush valley divided by the Naura River and close to the base of Mount Meru. Its outskirts are also in sight of Mount Kilimanjaro (both mountains are frequently hidden by clouds, which usually clear shortly after dawn or just before dusk). The streets are filled with four-wheel-drive game-viewing vehicles going on or returning from safari, the Maasai people mingle with tourists, and there is an excellent choice of hotels and restaurants.

Also allow some time to shop in Arusha, as there is a good selection of souvenirs and Maasai artwork. Arusha doesn't have many attractions of its own, but tourism has made it prosperous, and it is now the country's second largest city after Dar es Salaam. Arusha is 402 mi/648 km northwest of Dar es Salaam.

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