The small and bustling town of Arusha is the safari headquarters of Tanzania – the location where most northern Tanzanian safaris begin and end. The streets are generally full of 4×4 safari vehicles heading out or returning from safari but you’re also likely to see traditional Maasai warriors in full traditional dress.
A good place to spend a night and recharge after a long-haul flight, there are hotels and lodges to suit every pocket. It’s also an opportunity to shop (should any of your baggage have gone astray in transit), and explore the markets in town. The curio market is worth a look, as is the Shanga market (where you’ll find good beadwork and glass blowing – with everything here made by disabled people).
If you have time, fit in a tour of a coffee plantation – Arusha is in the centre of the Tanzanian coffee belt – and visit the Arusha National Park, just a few kilometres north of the town. This is a small park and offers an introduction to what you can expect in the bigger reserves (as well as canoeing that you cannot do in other parks). On the forested slopes of Mount Meru, you’re likely to spot blue monkeys and colobus monkeys.