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Arusha is a city of approximately 400,000 people in Northeast Tanzania, East Africa. It is regarded as the gateway to the popular Northern Safari Circuit.

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Arusha National Park

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About Arusha


Arusha, called "A Town" by the locals, is situated at the foot of Mount Meru, Africa's 5th highest mountain. The altitude gives the city a pleasant climate and lush green environment.

Arusha is not a particularly attractive city in itself and is regarded by many visitors as little more than a necessary stopover before their safari starts in earnest. However, the natural charm of the Tanzanians and the buzz of a fast-growing city mean that Arusha has plenty to offer for those who are prepared to see beyond their air-conditioned safari trucks and satellite-TV hotel rooms.

Arusha is home to the UNICTR, the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda . It is also the site of the signing of the Arusha Declaration.


Arusha has a wide variety of restaurants and informal eating places, with a predominance of Indian cuisine. Meals range from US$ 0.40 for street fare to US$15 for main courses at the high-end hotels.

A typical lunch of chicken and potatoes
  • Africafe Coffee House, Old Boma Rd (near to the Clock tower). 8AM-8PM. Stylish cafe, good coffee specialties, delicious pastries like carrot cake and muffins, breakfast, burgers, salads. Despite the name, they serve real coffee and no Africafe instant coffee. Sometimes there is WiFi. From Tsh 2,500.
  • Bay Leaf, 102 Vijana Rd. Elegant european style restaurant with absolutely delicious, though rather pricey dishes. You can sit inside or in the garden. From Tsh 20.000.
  • Big Bite, Swahili Rd, ☎ +255 754311474. High End Indian restaurant that has been in Arusha for more then 20 years. Excellent food. They also do takeway & free delivery. Owners are very friendly and helpful. Tsh 10,000 (US$3.75)/=.
  • Cafe Bamboo Restaurant. Higher end cafe/restaurant, but inexpensive for foreign travellers. Snacks such as samosas, chips and kebabs. Also serves western, Indian and traditional African dishes. Popular amongst tourists.
  • Chinese Dragon. A good place for Chinese food in Arusha, moderately priced. Say hi to Louie for a special deal! 10,000-15,000.
  • Khan's Chicken on the Bonnet. Pakistani BBQ, includes chicken, beef, mutton, assorted salads, and nan. Arguably best BBQ in town (rivals with Nick's Pub in Njiro). Two locations, one in town centre which serves as a car repair shop by day and bbq venue by night, newer location at cinema in Njiro. Tsh 4,500-9,000 (US$3-7)/person.
  • L'Oasis Lodge, Close to idara ya maji, Sekei Arusha (access via Moshi/Nairobi Rd.), ☎ +255 757 557 802, e-mail: 7am - late. Nachos, cold drinks in the garden or by the pool. No reservations needed for groups below 10.
  • The Lively Lady Bar & Grill (opposite the Railway station, down the road with Arusha Backpacker's on the corner), ☎ +255 713 650777, e-mail: 5PM-12 midnight, 6 days a week, (closed on Sundays). A small and funky rock-bar in the middle of town. Good European/Indian style kitchen, large collection of drinks and good rock-music to spicen up your evening.
  • McMoody's. 7AM-10PM, 7 days a week. Has a little bit of everything in a fast-food-y setting right in the centre of town. They also have a branch in the complex in Njiro Rd near the cinema. Breakfast including eggs, bread and coffee/tea is Tsh 1,400 (US$1).
  • Onsea House Restaurant, ☎ +255 787 112 498. Renowned as best French/Belgian restaurant in East Africa. Recommended for a romantic candle light dinner or special celebration. Reservations recommended.
  • Shanga River House (, Dodoma Rd (on the road to Arusha Airport), ☎ +255 689759067, e-mail: 10-17. Shanga is a heartwarming project on Tanzania's oldest coffee estate, in Arusha, Tanzania. Shanga employs 50 disabled Tanzanian people in their workshops where they recycle glass, aluminum, paper and tires into high quality, creative products. Shanga features the River House Restaurant and the Shanga Shop. River House Restaurant is for lunch on reservation only. It is a haven away from the bustle of Arusha.
  • Via Via Cultural Cafe, Old Boma Rd (in the gardens of the Natural History Museum, next to the AICC building). 9.30-?. Nice and quiet setting, popular with ICTR employees. Concert and Party every Thursday night. You can also book cultural tours there. From Tsh 6,000.
  • Spice Retreat Restaurant, 1st Floor, Njiro Complex, ☎ +255 754 274977. 12noon-12midnight. Indian, Asian, Mexican and international cuisine. Views of Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro on clear days. Also a nightclub. Tsh 5,000-15,000.


Arusha has many interesting bars and restaurants. As a rule the best food is Indian, thanks to the large sub-continental community in the city. Liquid Blue in Njiro and Big Bite on the Swahili Rd are among the most popular Indian restaurants. For 'Nyama Choma', or Tanzanian roast meat, Nick Bar in Njiro is also popular. There are uncountable local bars which are generally welcoming to adventurous foreigners. The less adventurous visitors stick to Via Via, in the grounds of the old German fort, which is an interesting cultural centre and part of an NGO which trains locals in the hospitality industry.

There are plenty of options for bars and restaurants for those who for some reason seem to wish to avoid locals altogether; these places are very easy to find.

For nightclubs, the Velocity, Colobus Club, Maasai Camp, Triple A, 777 and Polygon Triangle are popular with locals and foreigners alike. They start late and finish very, very late (or early). Pickpockets have been known to operate and all these bars are popular with the local sex workers so the usual discretion should be applied.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Arusha on Wikivoyage.