African Safari – Arusha, Tanzania – Background Information
Background summarized from our GAP Adventures itinerary.
Arusha is a picturesque town that sits at the foot of rugged Mount Meru, Africa’s fifth highest mountain. Arusha, also known as Tanzania’s “safari capital”, is undoubtedly the most important center in northern Tanzania. With many protected national parks, reserves, and mountains nearby, Arusha is a modern town, and with its markets, services, and fine location, it is a great base for a safari trip. On a clear day, it may be possible to see Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance.
Arusha officially became a city on the 1st of July 2006. The primary industry of the region is agriculture with large vegetable producers sending high-quality produce to Europe. The city and its environs are also spotted with large coffee plantations, adding to the area’s charm. Though in recent years, due to the coffee crisis, many local farmers have been badly hit, and now subsistence farming is the most common source of livelihood.
Arusha owes its name from the local Wa-arusha people who resided here for hundreds of years, and is historically and politically significant city within East Africa. In 1961 the official documents ceding independence to Tanzania were signed by the United Kingdom in Arusha. Six years later the Arusha Declaration of Self Reliance in Tanzania was signed. On the 4th of August 1993 the Arusha Accords were signed by representatives of competing factions in the civil war in neighbouring Rwanda. After the Rwandan genocide, the UN Security Council decided by its Resolution 955 of 8 November 1994 that Arusha should host the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The establishment of the tribunal with its employees has influenced the local economy of Arusha.