Bus travel in Tanzania is an adventure. Last year, of the Most bus routes in Tanzania, there is no much information online. The following step-by-step Morogoro Luxury buses guide include information on bus companies, pricing, departure and arrival times, border crossings, visas, and more. Pretty much everything you’ll want to know to make each trip.
If you are traveling through Tanzania independently, chances are you will be spending a lot of time on Buses. Between researching bus routes, locating the bus terminal, and actually riding the bus, it will feel like you are spending half your trip just dealing with buses. Hopefully, this guide will make the process just a bit easier.
Tanzania Bus Travel Notes
Traveling by bus in Tanzania is exhausting. They are hot, rarely stop, and are packed full of people ( Some of the major cities have beautiful luxury vehicles with AC ). With that being said, Tanzanian buses can be a great experience with the right mindset.
Fellow passengers are friendly and interesting to talk to, the views are spectacular, and you get to experience some entertaining African film and music during the journey.
Bus travel is really the only option for traveling Africa on a budget. The African rail system is incredibly limited and flights are too expensive. There are two types of bus you will encounter in your journey: coaches and minibusses.
I recommend you take the coach if it is available for the route you are traveling. Benefits of traveling by coach rather than minibus include:
- Much more comfortable seating- The seats are generally in decent condition and are padded. They may even recline if you’re lucky.
- Not packed nearly as tightly as minibusses- Many countries do not allow coaches to be filled with more people than there are seats. Minibusses will be packed as full as possible.
- The journey will take less time- Coaches generally travel between major cities with few stops along the way. Minibusses stop every two minutes to pick up and drop off passengers.
- Fewer transfers- Coaches travel long distance. Minibusses generally travel shorter routes between towns. This means you may have to take 5 or more minibusses to get to your destination. Each transfer is stressful requiring that you find the next bus headed in your direction and move your gear from one bus to the next.
- Everyone pays the same price- When you purchase your ticket, the price will be printed in the office so that you know you are not being ripped off. Minibus drivers will try to overcharge you every chance they get.
- Better Security- Coaches are run by professionals. They care about their reputation so they will put in an effort to ensure that you and your belongings all make it to your destination safely and in one piece.
What to Expect in Arusha
Arusha is not a place most people know and, if we’re being honest, most people will never go there. But they should. Arusha is a frontier city, it’s a place of excitement, it’s a place of opportunity. It’s from this unlikely place that people from every corner of the planet converge, all there to partake in travel experiences so amazing and so unique that they truly live up to the moniker of once-in-a-lifetime.
What to Expect when Visiting
Overall though, Arusha is a great place to do very little. Whether you’re fresh off a flight, at the end of your safari or dirty and exhausted from Mt. Kilimanjaro, you will undoubtedly be in need of some down time. Both before and after our safari Arusha was our home base and I personally came to regard it affectionately.
I got to know the hotel, the staff and where to find a quiet corner to read a book and decompress. There’s plenty of nightlife all around town if that’s your thing and if you find yourself staying for a few days in Arusha, there are some amazing national parks nearby. If you’re willing to sacrifice a full day to the experience, there’s nothing better than trekking out to Tarangire National Park, famous for its elephants.
If you don’t have that much time there is also Arusha National Park, although I’m told that the wildlife experiences there pale in comparison to not only Tarangire, but all of the other amazing national parks throughout Tanzania.
One popular must-visit in Arusha is the 137km² Arusha National Park just north of town. The park offers great safari experiences and features habitats ranging from open savannah to acacia scrublands, rainforest to alpine vegetation and also the golden Mount Meru. The wildlife in Arusha National Park is also incredibly diverse, with leopards and hyenas being the major predators in the area. Bird twitchers will also not get disappointed as the park is home to a world-class avifauna of 400 bird species.
Aside from the taste of authentic safari within the outskirts of town, Arusha also provides ample opportunities for cultural immersion, local villages tour, farms, markets and so much more!
When it comes to receiving an influx of tourists, Arusha holds a large influx every year. It has a domestic airport which provides direct flight link to Dar es Salaam and it is also very near Kilimanjaro International Airport, where most safari-bound travelers arrive.
But, even though a lot of tourists often find themselves with a day or two to spare, Arusha always have something in store for them.
The Cultural Heritage Centre is the perfect place to begin your history expedition in Arusha. The building itself is a spectacle of beauty that beckons to be photographed. It is structured as a sword and shield. It serves as a symbol of the Masai people’s heritage.
Inside the centre, you will find artwork, statutes, and artifacts representing the past and present of over 120 tribes in Tanzania. You can explore gemstones, traditional dresses, carvings, masks, sculptures, and much more to learn about the way of the tribes.
The Arusha Declaration Monument is a landmark that represents the Arusha Declaration. The monument was constructed in 1977 (ten years after the declaration) when Chama Cha Mapinduzi was the ruler. The declaration represents African Socialism, known as Ujamaa. The towering structure is beautiful to capture, especially when the lighting and timing are proper.
Arusha is a captivating place for its location and historical significance in Tanzania. It represents the Tanzanian culture and the values of the 120+ Tanzanian tribes. Keep your camera gear ready to capture memorable shots.
Mount Meru (4,566 m) is an active stratovolcano and forms the centrepiece of Arusha National Park in Tanzania. The mountain is often referred to as Mt Kilimanjaro’s ‘little brother’. Although the mountain is not as high as Kilimanjaro, it is just as challenging. Known for its huge cliffs, beautiful green surroundings and abundant wildlife, Mount Meru is the sixth highest mountain in Africa and the second highest in Tanzania!
Climbing Mount Meru requires more technical climbing skills than the routes on Kilimanjaro. What Mount Meru ‘lacks’ in height, it makes up for in difficulty. Therefore, it is important to have some climbing experience.
Still, Mount Meru is sometimes used as warm-up for climbing Kilimanjaro, especially to acclimate the body to greater heights. If you have the time and budget to climb Meru, it is definitely worth it. The mountain isn’t climbed as often and it provides a truly unique experience.
Since Meru lies in Arusha National Park, there’s a great chance of seeing various animals while trekking. You’re likely to encounter giraffes, buffalos, antelopes and baboons.
The 5 Arusha must do’s
Looking for gifts or fabrics for family and friends? Arusha is a great place to start. Spend a morning at either the Central Market or the Maasai Market for some world-class bargaining. The farmer’s markets are amazing, too.
This is by far the best museum in the city. If no travel is complete without a museum visit, look no further. The Natural History Center boasts an excellent exhibit on human evolution, among other things. Tanzania is the geographic center of the human story, so this is pretty powerful!
No place in Arusha warms your heart like Shanga, a nonprofit employing over 70 Tanzanians with disabilities. Each worker performs tasks such as glassblowing, weaving, and textiles. Come meet the talented folks who work here and leave with some memories.
Legend has it, one day a local Masaai saw a bolt lightning strike and turn some nearby stones a magnificent blue, and now we have this: Tanzanite, a blue gemstone “a thousand times rarer than diamonds. Though the more scientific reason has to do more with tectonics and continental uplift than lightning, this much is true: you won’t find Tanzanite native to anywhere else on the planet so you better seek it out while in Tanzania. This ultra-rare (ultra-expensive) gemstone can be found at jewelers and stores in Arusha. The Tanzanite Experience offers the best tour in town.
Bird and boat lovers take note! Located only 10 miles from Arusha, this lake is set to a gorgeous backdrop of forest and volcanoes. Witness dozens of bird and reptile species, from lounging monitor lizards to nose-diving kingfishers. Renting a canoe is highly recommended.