Arusha, the gateway to the world famous game sanctuaries of Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire and Lake Manyara, is one of the oldest towns in Tanzania. From a tiny German garrison in 1900, Arusha has grown to become the tourist capital of Tanzania with a population of about 400,000 people. At 1400metres above sea level, Arusha enjoys a very agreeable climate throughout the year. Positioned at the Centre of Africa between the cape and Cairo on the great north road, Arusha is the administrative seat of the east African community made up of Tanzania, Kenya Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. Arusha offers an excellent opportunity for authentic souvenirs shopping, including the bold Makonde carvings and the colourful Tinga Tinga works and batiks.
Tanzanite, the native gemstone of Arusha, and one of the most beautiful and exciting gems to come from Africa, is sold in all gemstone shops in town alongside other locally mined stones like Ruby, Rhodolite and Tourmaline. Tanzanite was first discovered in 1967, some 40kilometres to the southeast of Arusha at Mererani. To date Mererani remains the only commercially viable source for Tanzanite in the world. Tanzanite was named after Tanzania.