Getting to Arusha
There are many ways you can get to Arusha.
Kilimanjaro International Airport is the closest airport to Arusha. You can fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport from Nairobi, Kenya or Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
We can pick you up from the Kilimanjaro Airport for US$40 or 60,000Tsh.
If you are flying from Dar es Salaam or somewhere else within Tanzania such as Zanzibar you may be able to fly into the Arusha Domestic Airport.
We can pick you up from the Arusha Airport for US$20 or 30,000Tsh.
Alternatively you can take the bus. From Nairobi the bus takes approximately 5-6hrs and costs around US$25. From Dar es Salaam the bus takes approximately 8-9hrs and costs around US$25.
Directions to the Hostel
TAXI: Tell the driver to go to Njiro and turn right after the Cinema Complex. The Ujamaa Hostel is 400m on the left.
DALA DALA: Take the Black line to Njiro and get off at the first stop after the Cinema Complex. Take the road on the opposite side, the hostel is 400m on your left.
PICK UP: Contact Gasper for a pick up from town +255 753 960 570 - US$7 or 10,000Tsh
Getting a VISA
If you are volunteering, we require you to get a Volunteer Visa because you are not allowed to volunteer in Tanzania when you only have a Tourist Visa. When you arrive in the country you need to ask for a CTA Visa which costs US$250 and this will allow you to volunteer.
However, if you are simply staying at the hostel for a short time as a tourist and not planning to Volunteer, you will need to get a Tourist Visa to enter the country. This can be obtained through a Tanzanian Embassy in your home country before you leave or at the border/airport when you arrive. A Tourist Visa generally costs around US$50-100 depending on which country you are coming from.
Transport in Arusha
Arusha is a reasonably small town, so for many of the places you need to go you can simply walk. There are local public buses called a Daladala which can be very crowded, but are also very cheap, approx 20-50cents per journey. Arusha also has some bicycle and motorbike taxis known as a Bodaboda and a lot of regular taxis, so you should have no problems getting around town. The staff at the hostel are always happy to show you around town and help you find somewhere if you are unsure of where it is. We also provide free maps upon arrival to help you get your bearings.
BookingsTravellers staying for 1 week or lessWe require upfront payment for your entire stay via Paypal.If you cancel your stay we take your first night as a non-refundable deposit and will refund 50% of the balanceIf there is availability you are welcome to extend your stay and you can pay for this in cash
Volunteers need to commit to a minimum of 2 weeks
Upon confirmation we require you to make a non-refundable payment of US$50 application fee, as well as the 50% accommodation deposit
We accept cash payments in either Tanzanian Shillings (preferred) or US Dollars.
If paying in US Dollars make sure the notes are from 2006 or later otherwise they will not be accepted.
If you wish to pay the balance of your stay via Paypal, this will incur a 5% fee.
Most safari companies will also expect payment in cash, so plan on either being able to take out a lot of money at the bank or bring some US dollars with you.
Credit Card payments are not available in Tanzania.
The currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling (Tsh). Most Safari companies will expect payment in US Dollars so it is worthwhile bringing some cash with you. Travellers Cheques are also quite easy to cash if you would prefer not to bring currency. There are a large number of Foreign Exchange Bureaus so you can exchange local currency into US Dollars if you need to, though the exchange rate may not be very appealing.
Tanzania is almost a completely cash based society so you will need to have cash to pay for anything you buy here. There are a number of ATMs in Arusha so it is very easy to take out cash in local currency. However, Visa related cards are much more commonly accepted than MasterCard. Amex and Diners are non-existent here so there is no point in bringing them at all.
You can find general information about our volunteer options on the "Projects" page of this website. We find it best for volunteers to make a final decision about where they want to spend their time once they have arrived in Arusha and have been to visit the projects personally. This way you can see what other volunteers are doing or have done at the project and decide how you can best continue on and develop the work being done. You may also find that you build a connection to a project and enjoy doing work that is different from what you thought you might be doing.
All the projects are ongoing, however at times we have different building/construction opportunities to participate in and because the projects are developing and growing all the time, so are the opportunities to volunteer.
Come and check it out and you'll be able to create your own incredible experience!
At the hostel we serve a mix of Western and African meals. Vegetarians are catered for and if you have other specific dietary requirements we will do our best to meet them.
Outside the hostel you can find a wide range of western food including; Italian, Continental and Chinese cuisines. It is also fun to sample the local food as well which includes a lot of barbequed meat, rice, beans, chapati and vegetables.
Arusha has a large number of supermarkets including one very large one where you can find just about anything you need. Prices can be higher than expected so be don't be surprised.
The simplest way to stay in contact with people here or at home is to buy a Tanzanian Sim Card. Sims are very cheap to buy and you just buy prepaid credit to make calls or send an sms. Phone credit is available everywhere.
If your phone is locked or does not work internationally you can easily buy a cheap phone in town for about US$40.
We do not have internet access at the hostel, however there are a wide range of internet cafes in town, just a 10min walk from the hostel.
The weather in Arusha is generally very warm. Due to its elevation (approx 1500m) it does not have the humidity which you will experience in many other places in the country, especially at the coast. There are rainy seasons in April-May and Oct-Nov however these are quite unpredictable and often it only rains at night.
From Sept-May daytime temperatures range from 22-35 degrees Celsius, with night time temperatures rarely dropping below 15 degrees Celsius. June-Aug is winter and daytime temperatures range from 18-25 degrees Celsius and night time temperatures may drop to 10 degrees.
If you are coming in the winter months it is definitely worthwhile bringing some warmer clothes. It is also worth noting that temperatures on safari can be quite cool as well, so always be prepared and take some warm clothes just in case.
The Tanzanian electrical plug is the British 3 square prong plug. Most people feel comfortable to bring ipods, phones, laptops etc and use them at the hostel. There are lockable draws in which to store your valuables, however the hostel is not responsible for the loss or damage of any items.
Activities in Arusha and Safari
There are a number of Internet cafes, restaurants, bars/pubs, an ice-cream parlour (with awesome gelato!) and a movie theatre. There are also some nice hotels that, for a small fee, will let you spend the day by their pool.
Ujamaa Hostel offers a range of Day and Weekend Trips please see our "Day Trips and Safari" page for more details.
You can easily do a day trip to Moshi (80kms east) to see the town and look at Mt Kilimanjaro. If you are interested you can go up to the entrance of the Mt Kilimanjaro walking trail and there are a range of walks to waterfalls and local villages that you can do in the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro as well.
Going on Safari to Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and The Serengeti are always popular. If you are interested in Safari information we recommend you contact Amanda at African Scenic Safaris on firstname.lastname@example.org
Further afar there are many places throughout Tanzania that are worth checking out such as Lushoto, Lake Victoria and Zanzibar. Pick up a guide book and have a look at what is available!
It is important to discuss your health concerns with your Doctor. There are a number of Hospitals and Clinics in town where you can get any medical assistance you need in country. There are also a number of pharmacies in town, however they don't have the range of products you may be used to, so it is worthwhile bringing what you can from home. We recommend that all travels take out their own travel insurance before leaving home.
Here are some suggestions that may be helpful.
- It is a requirement to have a Yellow Fever vaccination to enter Tanzania and you will probably be asked to provide proof of this upon entry
- There are a range of other vaccinations that may be useful such as Hepatitis, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Typhoid and Polio, however you need to discuss these with your Doctor
- Malaria is common here so it is worthwhile discussing an anti-malarial treatment with your Doctor. The hostel provides a mosquito net on every bed. Insect repellent is also recommended.
- Amoebas can be quite common so be sure to always wash your hands before eating. Anti-bacterial wipes or hand wash can be very useful.
- Stomach upsets are common when adjusting to a new environment so assume that at some point you will get diarrhoea. Be prepared with Imodium and Gastrolyte to replenish your body if this occurs.
- We suggest that you don't drink the local water, however most people find that it is OK to brush their teeth with it. Bottled water is readily available and the hostel also provides boiled drinking water.
There are a range of clinics and a couple of decent hospitals in town where you can receive treatment for any general ailments you may incur. In the unlikely event that you are seriously injured it is likely you would be taken to Nairobi for treatment.
We recommend you take out insurance before you come to volunteer just in case. This is something you will need to investigate within your own country.
Tanzania is a reasonably safe country and is not plagued with the civil unrest present in many African countries. However it is important to always be aware of your surroundings. During the day you are generally very safe, but keep your valuables hidden from sight whenever possible. It is not safe to walk around at night, however it is quite safe to take a taxi in or out of town for dinner, a movie or to go to the pub.
Tanzania is quite a conservative society so please respect this by not wearing shorts or skirts above the knee, bare midriff tops or anything too revealing. Obviously this is simply a guideline, but if you wear these sorts of things you are likely to attract even more attention to yourself and you may end up feeling uncomfortable.
Recommended Items to bring
- Long pants
- Knee length shorts (no short-shorts)
- Long skirts
- A "Nice" outfit for going out
- Fleece Jacket/Vest
- Sweater and trackpants
- Hiking Boots
- Bathing suit
- Head torch
- Travel alarm with batteries
- Water Bottle
- Insect Repellent
- Wash cloth
- Nail Brush
- General Toiletries
- Day pack