We highly recommend the Arusha Layover option for all clients without any significant time constraints. The following is a list of reasons why an extra night in Arusha may be a worthwhile addition to your itinerary:
- The Delta / KLM flight that most people utilize for their interna- tional airfare routing arrives late in the evening while the flight to the Serengeti departs the next day at 8.00am in the morning. By adding an extra day in Arusha, one is able to rest and recuperate from the long international flight before beginning the safari as well as adjust to the time difference. Being well rested and in a healthier position will ultimately lead to a more enjoyable safari experience.
- Though missed or significantly delayed connections are unusual, they do occur from time to time. An extra day in Arusha functions as a form of insurance that would protect the safari itinerary from being compromised as most international flight problems result in a delay of not more than 24 hours. With two nights in Arusha, the worse scenario from a missed connection would mean the loss of just one night in Arusha while the main safari itinerary would remain unaffected.
- Adding an extra day in Arusha allows for opportunities to explore the charming town of Arusha as well for cultural and shopping excursions. If we decide to do an Arusha Layover, what additional activities are available in the Arusha area?
There are some general sightseeing tours available (town tour, visit to a Maasai market, school or orphanage tour, coffee plantation tour, etc.) If you like shopping, you could spend several hours at Cultural Heritage center in Arusha - there seems to be an infinite supply of woodcarvings, tribal masks, artifacts, paintings and jewelry to look through. Cultural Heritage even sells Tanzanite, which is a rare gem stone that is only found near Mount Kilimanjaro, so Tanzania is the only known place in the world where you can find it, and many people think that it makes a special souvenir. If you are really interested in Tanzanite, we might suggest visiting a place downtown Arusha called Tanzanite One. You can stop by and view Tanzanite in their show room on an impromptu basis, but if you want a tour (they have a small museum) and cutting demonstration we'll need to make arrangements for you ahead of time.
Some people express interest in visiting a local village on the outskirts of Arusha and/or visit a local school (some people will make a donation of school supplies to a local school or something similar); these types of experiences can also be arranged.
You may enjoy visiting Arusha National Park, at the base of Mount Meru, which you might think of as Mount Kilimanjaro's littler but prettier sister. It is a beautiful park but it does not offer quite the same caliber of game viewing that you are going to experience later on in the safari when you hit the really high impact parks such as the Serengeti. However, it does offer some uniquely gorgeous scenery and is a nice way to ease into the beginning of a safari.
Note that Arusha is an interesting little town, but still very "3rd world country" - not many cosmopolitan type activities available here. The setting around Arusha is very scenic, mainly banana plantation or coffee farms with Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru in the distance. It's a far cry from Nairobi or Dar es Salaam, but it's still not a town where you should go walking around unescorted during the day or night. The local Tanzanian people are extremely gracious and polite but they are also a very poor population and it's important to remember that. And no matter where you go in this world you can find individuals willing to take advantage of other individuals. So it's just important to be smart about where you go and how you travel. It's our job to look out for you and help you make the right decisions, and of course safety is our #1 priority for all our guests, always.