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Arusha Bus Terminals

Being a densely populated city, Arusha has well-packed bus stations, terminus which may be confusing in terms of location and the destinations of their buses.  Arusha City Bus Terminal ( Main – Stand Kuu) is a bus station in Arusha, Northeast Tanzania located on Zaramo St. Arusha City Bus Terminal is situated nearby to the place of worship Mosque and Sheikh Amri Abeid Memorial Stadium.

If possible, go to the bus station BEFORE you’re trying to get a bus. This could mean a few hours before, the night before, or even days before. If you arrive to a new city via bus, consider checking out the bus station right then and there, and figure out your departure plans. Some things to try and answer: what buses are available to your next destination? Do they leave every day, and if so, around what time of day? Is there a certain spot in the bus station where they usually wait for passengers? Do you need to buy tickets in advance, or can you just show up and grab a seat?

Answering these questions in advance, before it’s urgent and you’re actually trying to catch the bus (and especially before you’re hot and sweaty and wandering around with all your luggage) can help you stay cool, calm, and collected when it’s actually time to travel.

Accept help, but don’t feel obliged to tip.

You will likely be approached (depending on how “foreign” you look and what city you’re in) by many people — some legitimate and some hustlers — looking to assist you in finding your bus. Stay calm and polite. This is normal, and how people find their bus. If you already know where your bus is, just smile and give them a “thanks, but I’ve got it,” and if you don’t know yet, just tell them the name of the city you’re headed to. If you get the sense that someone is trying to hustle you, insist that they just point you in the direction of the bus, and that they don’t need to escort you there. Sometimes, you may have to ask multiple people, pointing you closer and closer until you actually find it.

In general, you don’t owe anyone any money for helping you find a bus within a bus station. Most of the guys you see working in the bus station are conductors, looking for passengers for their buses. Their payment comes in the form of a cut of the fare, not from “tips” for finding the bus. The exception to this rule is if you ask someone to carry your luggage, or if they spend an extensive amount of time with you, helping to solve some issue or negotiate something complex — then, please tip.

And, as always, if someone gives you weird vibes, don’t follow them.


Once you find the bus, you may or may not find a conductor there to tell you where it’s going and how much it will cost. He’ll show up eventually, but in the meantime, you can ask the other passengers waiting for the bus to leave. This is a great chance to verify the ticket price (especially if you are concerned about getting the “foreigner price”) in advance, so that when payment time comes, you can just hand over the correct amount (like you’re a local who knows what they’re doing).

If the conductor is already there, that’s fine. Ask to confirm the destination and price. Once you’re seated, if you’re concerned you’ve been given the wrong information, you can confirm what the conductor told you with another passenger, but be discrete. These are international manners — nobody likes being called a liar, and you don’t want to publicly imply that you don’t totally trust the conductor. A solid option here is to play it off like you didn’t hear: ask “how much is this ticket again?” rather than “the conductor told me the ticket is xxx, is that correct?”

Remember, this “double verification” is if you’re unsure (which can sometimes happen, as things aren’t labelled/written, and it can feel chaotic) — but, if you’re confident about where the bus is headed and how much it should cost, don’t worry about it! You’re an expert, just sit back and relax.

Popular Route from Arusha town to Dar-es-salaam

Wait until you’re moving to pay the fare (unless they’re issuing tickets).

In my experience, there are rarely tickets for minibuses. If they’re issuing tickets, it’s okay — just follow what the other passengers are doing, and pay. But, if they’re not issuing tickets, beware of paying before the bus actually departs. It can be hard to tell who is the actual conductor for the bus, and who is just a hustler, pretending. Normally, conductors collect fares once the bus is moving (so you can be sure you’re paying the right person).

If you are asked to pay in advance… well, anything is possible. To avoid being scammed, check that other passengers are also paying in advance, and just do as the locals are doing.

Pack smart, and prepare to be separated from your luggage.

Compared to the public transportation you might be used to, minibuses in east Africa are small, and there’s not much legroom. If you can travel with just a backpack (or a bag that you can keep on your lap), that’s great. If you need to travel with more luggage, here are a few tips for how to handle that:

– Have a removable “mini-bag” with your valuables, which can be separated from your main luggage. If your luggage needs to be put in the trunk or on the roof, you’ll want to easily remove your valuables to keep on your person.

– Be aware of the weather. If you anticipate your luggage being put onto the roof, consider some sort of rainproofing. Packing in plastic bags can be a good idea, or putting on your backpack’s rain cover before travelling. If you don’t have a rain cover, feed/grain sacks can be purchased locally. These can make a great waterproofing system for large pieces of luggage.

– Keep a random extra piece of (low-value) clothing accessible (I’d recommend in the bag with your valuables). The reason for this is so that you can…


Save your seat with a piece of clothing.

Minibuses can take time to fill, and you might be waiting for a while. Depending on how much time you have, you might want to dash off and run a quick errand (buying a phone card, perhaps), or pass the time with a cup of tea or a meal. It’s totally normal to get a seat, leave your luggage, and then wander around the bus station as you wait for it to fill. The trick here is to leave a piece of clothing on your seat, to mark your place. Ideally, leave something that you won’t be heartbroken if it gets stolen (although this has never been an issue for me). Then, you can walk around — just keep on eye on the bus. Once it’s full, it’ll leave, and you don’t want to miss it!

Pro-tip: when boarding a minibus, check whether the front seats are up for grabs. These can often provide more legroom, better airflow, and better views/scenery, although they are objectively some of the more dangerous seats in the case of a potential collision. Your choice!



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