Arusha Region

Coordinates: 3°23′12.84″S 36°40′58.8″E / 3.3869000°S 36.683000°E / -3.3869000; 36.683000
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Arusha Region
Mkoa wa Arusha (Swahili)
Cradle of Humankind; Land of Volcanoes; The Craters Region
Location in Tanzania
Location in Tanzania
Coordinates: 3°23′12.84″S 36°40′58.8″E / 3.3869000°S 36.683000°E / -3.3869000; 36.683000
Country Tanzania
Named forArusha people
CapitalArusha City
 • Total37,576 km2 (14,508 sq mi)
 • Land33,809 km2 (13,054 sq mi)
 • Water707 km2 (273 sq mi)
 • Rank9th of 31
Highest elevation
(Socialist Peak, Mount Meru)
4,562 m (14,967 ft)
 • Total1,694,310
 • Rank12th of 31
 • Density45/km2 (120/sq mi)
Ethnic groups
 • SettlerSwahili & Maasai
 • NativeHadzabe, Chaga, Pare, Iraqw, Datooga, ,Rwa & Arusha people
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)
Area code027
ISO 3166 codeTZ-01
HDI (2021)0.568[1]
medium · 9th of 25
WebsiteOfficial website
Symbols of Tanzania
Yellow-collard lovebird
Colotis danae
Natron tilapia
Umbrella thorn

Arusha Region (Swahili: Mkoa wa Arusha) is one of Tanzania's 31 administrative regions and is located in the north of the country. The region's capital and largest city is the city of Arusha. The region is bordered by Kajiado County and Narok County in Kenya to the north, the Kilimanjaro Region to the east, the Manyara and Singida Regions to the south, and the Mara and Simiyu regions to the west. Arusha Region is home to Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region is comparable in size to the combined land and water areas of the state of Maryland in the United States.[2]

Arusha Region is a tourist destination in Africa and is the hub of the northern Tanzania safari circuit. The national parks and nature reserves in this region include Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Arusha National Park, the Loliondo Game Controlled Area, and part of Lake Manyara National Park. Remains of 600-year-old stone structures are found at Engaruka, just off the dirt road between Mto wa Mbu and Lake Natron. With a HDI of 0.721, Arusha is one among the most developed regions of Tanzania.[3]


The "Arusha" Region is named after the Arusha People, a Bantu ethnic group that originally migrated from Arusha Chini in Kilimanjaro Region around 400 years ago.[4]



Arusha Region is home to Laetoli and Olduvai Gorge national archaeological sites both locations with discoveries of prehistoric hominids.[5]

First Communities[edit]

The first communities in southwestern Arusha Region's Arusha District, Arusha Rural District and Meru District, were the now extinct Koningo people, an ancient hunter-gatherer group that lived around the slopes of Mount Meru for centuries.

The second community to settle in the region is the Meru People, whom immigrated there from the Usambara Mountains in Tanga Region.[6] They settled on the southeastern slopes of the mountain and started to farm the land. The third wave of settlers were the Arusha people a subgroup of the Pare people migrated from Arusha Chini in Kilimanjaro Region. Some Parakuyo Masai in west whom were the last group to immigrate to Arusha Region in the 1830s, assimilated into the Arusha community and influenced the Arusha into adopting the Masai language.[7]

In the 1880s a pandemic of rinderpest killed thousands of cattle and forced a large section of the Masai people in the west and integrated into Arusha agriculturally based society. In southeastern portion of the region in Karatu District and southern Ngorongoro District is the ancestral home to the Hadzabe People, who are the only surviving hunter gather communities left in the country.

Moreover, Most of the Ngorongoro District, Monduli District and Longido District of the present area of Arusha Region are home to the Maasai, whom immigrated from South Sudan and moved started moving southward around the 16th century CE towards Kenya and finally reached northwestern Arusha Region in the 1830s.[8] The Masai were the last precolonial community to settle in present-day Arusha Region.

Colonial period[edit]

Prior to German arrival in 1895, the years between the 1880s to 1900, Arusha Region was plagued by rinderpest, Smallpox, droughts and famine that came after the devastating plagues.

The first German to visit Arusha territory was Kurt Johannes, and he was antagonistic towards the Arusha people and on occasion he survived an attack that cost the lives of two German missionaries in 1895. On 19 October 1896 he went to visit Chief Matunda and was attacked by Arusha warriors. Johannes survived the attack and returned to his post in Moshi and organised Chagga warriors for a retaliatory attack and defeated the WaArusha on 31 October 1896.[9]

Johannes then decided to conduct the scorched earth doctrine on the WaArusha people, leading to a famine and collapse of Arusha society. In 1899, Johannes forced the defeated Arusha warriors to build the German Boma next to today's Arusha Region Headquarters. The Arusha Region was under German military rule and in 1902, one hundred Afrikaners fleeing the Boer War in South Africa, are resettled in Arusha by German authorities, with each family given 1,000 hectares of land.[10]

For various reasons, many of the white settlers moved to Kenyan highlands or back to South Africa in a few years before the advent of World War I. During the great war, the British capture Arusha Region from the Germans in 1916.[11] They expelled all the Germans and confiscated their farms and redistributed the farms to Greek and British settlers.

The Meru and Arusha's Chagga wives were repatriated back to Kilimanjaro. The British start growing coffee in 1920. The administrative region of Arusha existed in 1922[12] while mainland Tanzania was a British mandate under the League of Nations and known as Tanganyika. In 1948, the area was in the Northern Province,[13] The British appoint the first WaArusha community leader Chief Simeon Laiseri in 1948.

Post-Independence period[edit]

In 1966, under the newly independent Tanzanian government, Arusha was given its own regional status.[12] In 2002, Manyara Region was created and was split from Arusha Region. Portions of the former Arusha Region districts of Kiteto, Babati, Mbulu, Hanang, and a tiny piece of Monduli were incorporated into the Manyara Region. Arusha was the largest region in Tanzania from 1966 to 2002.[14]


The Great Rift Valley runs through the middle of the region north-to-south. Oldonyo Lengai (Mountain of God in the Maasai language) is an active volcano to the north of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Altitudes throughout the region vary widely, but much of it ranges from 900 to 1,600 metres (3,000 to 5,200 ft) in elevation.[15]


Mount Meru, the second highest mountain in Tanzania after Mount Kilimanjaro, peaks at 4,655 metres (15,272 ft). Arusha Region has the highest number of craters and extinct volcanoes in Tanzania.[15] Other prominent peaks and mountains include the Monduli Mountains, Mount Loolmalasin, Mount Lolkisale, Mount Longido, Gelai Volcano, and the Olduvai Gorge.


Arusha region is home to a number of lakes, the largest lake in the region being Lake Eyasi. Other prominent lakes in the region are Lake Duluti, Momela Lakes, Lake Manyara, Lake Masek, Lake Empakaai, Lake Magadi, Lake Ndutu and Lake Natron. Most of the lakes in the region are alkaline in nature.

Administrative divisions[edit]


Arusha Region is divided into one city and six districts, each administered by a council.[16]

Districts of Arusha Region
Map District Capital Population
Arusha City Arusha 416,442 93
Arusha Rural District* Sokon II 323,198 1,547.6[17]
Karatu District Karatu Town 230,166 3,300
Longido District Longido 123,153 7,782
Meru District** Usa River 268,144 1,268.2[18]
Monduli District Monduli 158,929 6,419
Ngorongoro District Loliondo 174,278 14,036
Total Arusha 1,694,310 34,526


* - representing the west portion of the former Arumeru District
** - representing the east portion of the former Arumeru District

National parks, national monuments, and other sites[edit]

Western Arusha Region, Tanzania.
Giraffes Arusha National Park, Arusha Region, Tanzania.
Colobus guereza Mantelaffen at Arusha National Park, Arusha Region.
Arusha Declaration Monument
  1. Arusha National Park
  2. Empakaai Crater
  3. Engaruka
  4. Great Rift Valley
  5. Lake Manyara National Park (part)
  6. Mount Longido Forest Reserve
  7. Mount Meru Forest Reserve
  8. Ngorongoro Conservation Area
  9. Ngurdoto Crater
  10. Oldonyo Lengai
  11. Olduvai Gorge
  12. Uhuru Monument


According to the 2012 national census, the Arusha Region had a population of 1,694,310.[19]

The region is inhabited by various ethnolinguistic groups and communities. Among these are the Iraqw, Arusha, Maasai, Wameru, Sonjo, Chagga, Pare, and Nguu.[20]

Culture and cuisine[edit]

Nyama Choma, the northern Tanzanian barbecue, is a popular dish among some communities in the Arusha Region, particularly the Maasai.[21] Nyama Choma is properly served with a side of french fries, Pili Pili sauce and a cold local beer or soda.[citation needed]

Arusha cuisine



The A-23 Arusha-Himo road runs east–west and enters the region near Kilimanjaro International Airport. It connects Arusha with Moshi and then Himo at the Kenyan border. This roads ends at its junction with the A-104 road in the center of Arusha.

Lake Duluti

The A-104 runs northward, to the west of Mount Meru, from Arusha to Longido and Namanga at the Kenyan border before continuing to Nairobi. The A-104 also runs westward past Monduli to its junction at Makuyuni with the B-144 road that leads to Mto wa Mbu and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. After that, the A-104 curves southward to the east of Lake Manyara and continues on to Babati and Dodoma.

Most overland travel is done by bus from the city of Arusha. Within the city and smaller towns, privately owned and operated dala-dalas (mini-buses) are used.

The region is landlocked, and there are no navigable rivers. The larger lakes in the Rift Valley are not used for transportation. The region is home to Lake Eyasi, Lake Natron, Lake Duluti, Lake Empakaai, and the Momella lakes.


Arusha Airport circa 2012.

Arusha Region is served by the Kilimanjaro International Airport located in Hai District of Kilimanjaro Region. Its twelve international carriers are:

The smaller Arusha Airport (Kisongo Airport) serves small, medium and personal planes mainly to popular tourist areas such as Serengeti National Park, Seronera, Ndutu, Zanzibar etc. Planes using Kisongo Airport include:

  1. AMREF
  2. Auric Air
  3. Coastal Air
  4. Flying Doctors
  5. Grumeti Air
  6. Other personal planes.
  7. Precision Air
  8. TFC

Notable persons from Arusha Region[edit]

Regional commissioners[edit]

The chief administrative officer of the region is the regional commissioner. Below is a table showing the regional commissioners serving the Arusha Region from 1962 to present:[22]

Name of Regional Commissioner From To Comments
Dorcus Maduma 1962 1962 first after independence
Peter Walwa 1962 1963
Samuel Chamshama 1963 1964 first after union with Zanzibar
John Mhaville 1964 1964 second term
Wazir Juma 1964 1968
Aaron Mwakangata 1968 1973
Abdulanur Suleiman 1973 1978
Peter Siyovelwa 1978 1981
John Mhaville 1981 1982
Charles Kileo 1983 1985
Christopher Liundi 1985 1987
Augustine Mwingira 1987 1990
Anatoly Tarimo 1990 1992
Ahmed Kiwanuka 1992 1995
Daniel Ole Njoolay 1995 2003 longest serving commissioner
Mohammed Babu 2003 2006
Abbas Kandoro 2006 2006 less than six months
Samuel Ndomba 2006 2007 [23]
Isidore Leka Shirima 2007 2011 [24]
Magesa Stanslaus Mulongo 2011 2014 [25][26]
Lilian Steven Okama 2014 2016
Mrisho Gambo 2016 2020[27]
Idd Hassan Kimanta 2020[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". Archived from the original on 2018-09-23. Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  2. ^ 32,131 km2 (12,406 sq mi) for Maryland at "Land and Water Area of States and Other Entities" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 October 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
    34,506 km2 (13,323 sq mi) for Arusha.
  3. ^ Economic Transformation for Human Development Archived 2015-07-05 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Arusha Migration". Archived from the original on 2007-12-21. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  5. ^ "Laetoli Footprint Trails". Archived from the original on 2021-11-08. Retrieved 2021-11-08.
  6. ^ "Meru and Machame Migrations to Arusha Region". Archived from the original on 2007-12-21. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  7. ^ Peer, Peters (2003). Armies of the nineteenth century: East Africa. Foundry.
  8. ^ "Maasai Origins". Archived from the original on 2021-05-01. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  9. ^ "German Invasion of Arusha". Archived from the original on 2007-12-21. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  10. ^ "Boers in Arusha". Archived from the original on 2007-10-22. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  11. ^ "British capture Arusha". Archived from the original on 2007-10-22. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  12. ^ a b ""Regions of Tanzania", Statoids". Archived from the original on 2018-12-25. Retrieved 2013-01-22.
  13. ^ ""Demographic Yearbook", Statistical Office, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations, Seventh Issue, page 153, New York, 1955" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-05-03. Retrieved 2013-01-22.
  14. ^ "PROFILE OF ARUSHA REGION". Archived from the original on 2020-07-30. Retrieved 2020-08-05.
  15. ^ a b "Weather of Ngorongoro Conservation Area - ngorongoro weather". Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania. 2019-08-13. Archived from the original on 2022-07-07. Retrieved 2020-08-05.
  16. ^ "Arusha Region - Councils". Arusha Region Office, Tanzania. Archived from the original on 16 October 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  17. ^ "Arusha District Council". Arusha Region Office, Tanzania. Archived from the original on 16 October 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  18. ^ "Meru District Council". Arusha Region Office, Tanzania. Archived from the original on 9 April 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  19. ^ Population Distribution by Administrative Units, United Republic of Tanzania, 2013, page 1 Archived May 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ ""Arusha Region Socio-Economic Profile", United Republic of Tanzania, joint publication of the Planning Commission Dar es Salaam and Regional Commissioner's Office Arusha, April 1998, page 3" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-05-13. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  21. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Ngorongoro Conservation Area". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 2020-07-04. Retrieved 2020-08-05.
  22. ^ Nkwame, Valentine Marc (9–15 December 2006). "Njoolay longest serving RC in Arusha: 17 RCs have served Arusha in 45 years". The Arusha Times. No. 449. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  23. ^ Col. Samuel Ndomba was reassigned to military duties in Dar es Salaam. Selasini, Edward (1–7 September 2007). "Zanzibar legislators visit Wazee Club". The Arusha Times. No. 484. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  24. ^ Staff reporter (1–7 September 2007). "Shirima at the helm of Arusha Region". The Arusha Times. No. 484. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  25. ^ Arusha Times Correspondent (17 December 2011 – 13 January 2012). "RC guarantees order and tranquility". The Arusha Times. No. 695. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  26. ^ "Kitabu cha Mawasiliano Serikalini, Tanzania Government Directory, 2012, page 154". Archived from the original on 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2013-07-26.
  27. ^ Melleor, Grace. "MRISHO GAMBO ATENGULIWA KUWA MKUU WA MKOA". Archived from the original on 2020-08-18. Retrieved 2020-08-05.
  28. ^ "Orodha ya Wakuu wa Mikoa | Arusha Regional". Archived from the original on 2020-08-12. Retrieved 2020-08-05.

External links[edit]