Journey With a Purpose
Phone +44 (0)1635 285666

GapGuru Home Gap Year Destinations Gap Year Teaching Gap Year Volunteer Gap Year Internships Gap Year Travel My Gap Year
Home > Tanzania > Arusha
Gap year in Arusha


Know your city

Arusha Know your city Tucked at the foothills of Mount Meru, the town of Arusha is the first stop on the northern safari circuit and is the undisputed safari capital of East Africa. The streets of this vibrant town are filled with 4x4 game viewing vehicles, packed minibuses full of locals with their shopping and suited businessmen going about their daily work. Maasai warriors in full regalia walk around, mingling with tourists in crisp khaki, fresh off the plane from Europe or the United States.

Arusha is the kind of place where you can get a real sense of what modern Africa is all about.

The town is in two parts, separated by a small valley through which the Naura River runs. The upper part, just off the main Moshi to Namanga road, contains the government buildings, post office, immigration, most of the top-range hotels, safari companies, airline offices, curio and craft shops, and the huge Arusha International Conference Center (AICC) where some of the most important peace treaties and international agreements in modern African history have been signed. Further down the hill and across the valley are the commercial and industrial areas, the market, small shops, many of the budget hotels and the bus station.

Arusha is considered to be one of the best African cities when it comes to great weather and tourism combined. Despite its proximity to the equator, Arusha's elevation of 1400 m on the southern slopes of Mount Meru keeps temperatures down and alleviates humidity. Cool dry air is prevalent for much of the year. The temperature ranges between 13 and 30 degrees Celsius with an average around 25 degrees.

History of the city

Arusha know your City Arusha originally grew up as a German colonial town at the beginning of the 20th century. It was chosen due to its pleasant climate and fertile soils making it an ideal respite from the humid malarial conditions of the coast and a good place to grow coffee and other crops. After the Second World War it shifted into British hands, retaining its colonial feel with a growing population and luxuries like a golf course and gymkhana club.

Official documents ceding independence to Tanzania were signed by the United Kingdom at Arusha in 1961.The Arusha Declarations for Self Reliance in Tanzania were signed in 1967 in Arusha. Since independence, Arusha has continued to grow rapidly, being a magnet for Tanzanians seeking their fortune in the Tanzanite mining areas nearby and of course lured by the riches of the safari industry. It has become one of the most economically important cities in Tanzania.

Arusha is also important as an East African city. The Arusha Accords were signed at Arusha on August 4, 1993, by representatives of competing factions in the Rwandan civil war. In 1994 the UN Security Council decided by its Resolution 955 of 8 November 1994 that Arusha should host the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The establishment of the tribunal with its employees has influenced the local economy of Arusha. The tribunal is expected to end most of its operations in 2009. Arusha has also been chosen to host the Secretariat of the newly formed East African Community, modeled on the EU. Member states include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. Arusha officially became a city on 1 July 2006.

Want to talk options?
We can call you:

Start Date:

We're normally able to call the same day.
Get our Gap Year Newsletter
GapGuru has been featured in...      The Independent Daily Express Telegraph Daily Mail