Northern Tanzania´s city of Arusha is situated at 1,400m (4,500 feet) above sea level on the foothills of Mount Meru. Kenya´s capital city Nairobi is about four hours drive, or an hours regional flight to the north. Tanzania´s largest city Dar-es-Salaam is considerably further to the south-east.
Arusha was once a quiet colonial administrative town with avenues lined with lilac flowered Jacaranda trees and orange flowered Nandi Flame Trees. Now it is a hustling and bustling business centre for northern Tanzania of about 450,000 people. It is especially a tourism hub for Mount Kilimanjaro and the most famous wildlife areas in Tanzania – Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. Arusha prides itself as the “safari capital of Tanzania”.
Naturally, tourism centre of this size has a wide choice of places to stay.
Many safaris begin by flying in a small aircraft flight, or driving to Tarangire or Ngorongoro. In those cases we recommend one of the small boutique hotels to the west of Arusha, and about 1½ hours drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport, and only 10 minutes drive from Arusha´s regional airport. They are also near the road leaving town to the west.
Two of the most convenient boutique lodges are Arusha Coffee Lodge and Katambuga House.
Arusha Coffee Lodge has 30 en-suite cottages. There is a small swimming pool and massage services are available. The main dining area is frequented by locals as well as guests, and the bar is the great place to enjoy a beer after a long flight, and soak in the sounds of Africa. There is a coffee shop and Shanga workshop, which is a project enabling disabled people earn a living by making crafts, jewellery and glassware.
Katambuga House has only 6 en-suite rooms, consists of two buildings – the main house and the Family cottage. The main house has a common dining room and lounge with a veranda overlooking the gardens. On either side of this are the Main house suites. The Family cottage has two interconnecting bedrooms.
Both establishments are in coffee plantations and are ideal for those who would like to pause and browse the shops, enjoy an outdoor buffet lunch, or visit one of the non-profit centres that help the community, before or after a safari.