Gateway to the Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater
Arusha is now known as the gateway to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Northern Parks and stands in the foothills of Mount Meru at an altitude of about 1,500 metres. It's a bustling town where safaris are big business and every second vehicle is a 4x4.
It is interesting to note the history of this town that was actually founded by German colonialists when the territory was part of German East Africa in 1900. A garrison town, it was named after the local tribe Wa-Arusha, who are known as Larusa by the Maasai. It quickly developed into a significant trading and administrative centre, with about two dozen Indian and Arab shops clustered along what is today Boma Road. In 1904 the German Imperial authorities established a European colony here with the settlement of Boer refugee families, mostly of German descent, in the aftermath of South Africa's divisive Anglo-Boer War.
There are two airports nearby: Kilimanjaro International Airport is approximately 40 kilometres north east of town, and Arusha Airport is on the town's western fringes.
This is often the first East African city tourists discover as they stay overnight to make flight and transport connections work.