Arusha is the perfect starting point if you plan to visit the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Kilimanjaro or Mt. Meru. Due to its status as a layover city, there are many hotels, a wide range of food and a reasonably developed transportation system. There still aren’t a great number of tourist targeted activities even though the city is growing.
Hotels range from cheap hostels, mid-range local hotels up to 5-star luxury accommodations. Check your room for mosquito nets and hot water before signing in.
There are a large number of scam artists that congregate anywhere that tourists and travelers visit. They offer unbelievably cheap safaris, treks up Kilimanjaro and anything else you might fall for. It is much safer to go with an established and reputable company; booking on the street may leave you several hundred dollars short with no sign of your arranged tour.
It’s also best to take a taxi at night; walking after dusk makes you a target even if you are in a group of other tourists. Taxis are reasonably priced, but there are no meters, so make sure you agree on a price (negotiating encouraged) before you get in the car. Local buses are often crowded but offer a cheap way to travel throughout the city.
Food is reasonably priced as long as you stay away from the upscale hotels and restaurants. There is a huge selection of Tanzanian, Indian and Western restaurants and dishes available throughout the city.