Arusha National Park is a real gem of a wildlife area and easily accessible. Also Mt Meru, Tanzania’s second highest mountain at 562m, is located here and hiking to the top will be virtually ‘traffic free’ compared to Kilimanjaro.
The hike to the top takes three to four days through the wildlife-laden lower slopes and a little more of a challenging climb than ‘Kili’, but not so taxing altitude wise. At the peak there are fantastic views into the volcano and you are rewarded with a magnificent outlook across to ‘Kili’ at sunrise.
The park also contains the Momela lakes, which are all a slightly different shade of green or blue due to the water’s mineral content. They are often fringed with a flamboyance of pink flamingos and are also home to many other water birds.
In Arusha town, there are lots of interesting cultural activities like taking drumming lessons or even try to make your own drum. Master some local dishes at the Swahili cooking classes so you can continue to enjoy the taste of Tanzania when you get back home. Get a glimpse into the traditional existence of tribes and the daily life of Tanzanians on a village tour or jump on a horse or a mountain bike and ride through the Tanzania wildlife.
If you would like to take home some ethical souvenirs you can support the disadvantaged members of Tanzania’s society by buying from shops that generate funds through the sale of their products. Check out, for example, the recycling centre that offers disabled employees a chance to earn a living and the Maasai women’s groups shop, which finances female education, health and enterprise projects.
Once the day draws to a close, Arusha’s energetic and varied nightlife tempts you to sample some of the bright lights of A-Town. There are plenty of sports bars showing soccer matches and local pubs that play rap, reggae, as well as the locally produced ‘bongo flava’ music. Often you can find live music around town. Finish the evening at one of the clubs with sweaty crowds and excellent music and dance the night away.