What to do in Arusha? - Arrival Day

My family will be on the July 23, 2023 Bridges Safari. Our flight arrives into Arusha early morning on Day 1 and the itinerary doesn't have any scheduled activities. If we are feeling up to it, are there any activities we could do in or around Arusha that day?
Is it safe to undertake exploring on our own, or are we better to hire a guide?


  • You might use the Search window in the upper right of this page and search for something like 'things to do in Arusha'. I know there have been a lot of posts on this subject previously.

  • You do not want to wander into town on your own! You can hire a guide at the hotel but there is really not much to see. A popular activity is to visit (with guide/driver) Arusha National Park or, if your tour doesn't include it, a visit to the Tanzania Cultural Center (an NGO) for some shopping. The local markets are where locals buy food, cooking oil, chickens, clothing, etc. and not suited to visit.

    Remember you'll be spending a lot of hours getting there, so don't underestimate how tired you or your family will be. You might just consider chilling at the hotel or at the pool if it has one or other activities at the hotel. As Sam says there are a lot of discussions on this topic in the forums- check out both the Kenya, Tanzania Classic Safari and Grand Family Safari forums.

  • We are taking this tour in exactly a year from now. We have not taken the Bridges tour before. We have been with Tauck to that area three times now. The hotel is different and has a pool, that is where our family will hang out to help get over jet lag and be ready for all the 5am wake up calls ahead. The tour includes Arusha National park, so no need to go there. There is a coffee plantation and I think we did visit there one time. I agree with Alan, don’t go to town on your own, there is nothing of note except the cultural center which in my estimation is not as good as it used to be. The local market is not for westerners.

  • The Gran Melia Arusha is lovely. We were there end of July last year. The pool area is quite nice (British will probably ask if it is heated - not sure). Just past the rear of the property you can walk through a gate and there is a nonprofit featuring workers with disabilities who make jewelry, textiles and other nice things. They give a nice tour and the purchases go to a good cause. It is nice to stroll the coffee plantation on the property. Much of the hotel's produce is also grown on site, and the staff happily gave us a very nice tour of their gardens. The spa is decent too. There are several nice dining choices. The buffet was varied and decent quality. We like Indian cuisine, and for dinner enjoyed the on site Indian restaurant. Lunch in the rooftop restaurant facing the mountain was quite nice. I think there are enough light activities to have a leisurely day to prepare for a full itinerary. The rooms themselves were very comfortable as well. Enjoy your trip.

  • The hotel and the grounds are quite nice. I would rest up in preparation for the busy days ahead.

Sign In or Register to comment.