Those booking to climb Kilimanjaro with Team Kilimanjaro will usually have planned quite a full itinerary with their coordinator. Some climbers do, however, like to factor a day or two at leisure into their itineraries, and may want to know facilities are available in Arusha, so as to make good use of their available time.

Shopping in Arusha

We would ordinarily expect climbers to arrive into Tanzania with everything that they need. There are a number of reasons however – such as delayed baggage, or a last minute realisation that one has forgotten to bring something needful from home – why it is an advantage to know how to find things in Arusha.

There are a number of shops where you can buy the essentials.

But remember, your idea of essentials might be different from what you’d find in a small African town.

Be that as it may, Arusha does offer clothing, food, electronics and medicine.

Restaurants in Arusha

While there are many excellent restaurants in Arusha, we would ask that climbers please exercise extreme caution when deciding when to eat before their climb. The reason for this is that we have had several climbers express regret to us for having been adventurous with their restaurant choice ahead of their climb, and suffering stomach upsets during the first couple of days of the climb that made acclimatising very difficult. But again, the majority of restaurants that are geared towards foreigners in Arusha are safe and of good quality.

Nightlife in Arusha

While we would certainly not recommend any nightlife to be enjoyed before a Kilimanjaro expedition, many climbers will want to celebrate together with a few drinks in Arusha after their climb. Where they choose to do so, we would advise in the strongest possible terms that no valuables should be carried with them, and that they travel only in taxis, preferably taxis organised by their hotel as opposed to those found on the street.

Banks in Arusha

If climbers choose not to rely on bringing with them all the cash that they are likely to need for the duration of their time in Tanzania, they will usually use their credit or debit cards at an ATM. Where they choose to do this it should be noted that the maximum amount that can be withdrawn from a single ATM is usually 400,000 Tsh, though some have a limit of 200,000 Tsh.

In the event that a climber is substantially shorter than they anticipated where, for example, they decide to extend their stay and add a short safari to their itinerary, there is one bank in Arusha that is able to issue USD 800 in cash on a credit card. This bank is Barclays in the Serengeti Road, close to the Outpost Lodge.

Changing Money in Arusha

Climbers do not need to go to the trouble of obtaining Tanzanian Shillings in their own countries, as these are generally considered rare and need to be ordered, which is an unnecessary hassle. Changing money in Arusha is relatively straightforward and good rates are obtainable if changing high value denominations of US Dollars.

Buying Tanzanite Safely

With Tanzanite now claimed to be 1,000 times rare than diamond and the gem fast becoming one of the most coveted stones available, many of our climbers will want to take the opportunity to buy some Tanzanite while in Arusha. Those with such an interest are advised to plan a rest day in Arusha before their climb, during which – as well as finding a good stone – they may also wish to enjoy one of a number of recreational or cultural experiences near to Arusha.

Conversely with sapphire – which tends to be more valuable in lighter and more translucent forms, Tanzanite is more valuable when found in deeper, richer tones or bluish purple. This is only the case, however, if the deep colour is the result of a natural process that occurs while within the seam in which the stone has formed. Sadly, there are far too many unethical sellers that capitalise on the unsuspecting trust of prospective buyers, who simulate these deep tones through heat-treating the stones. Heat treatment significantly diminishes the value of Tanzanite and should be rejected, if the stone is intended to serve as a family asset, the value of which is hoped to increase with time as the Tanzanite mine reserves become depleted and the rareness of the stone increases.

With such considerations in mind, we strongly recommend that buyers do not necessarily look for the cheapest prices per carat and alleged grade – unless they are experienced and discerning buyers – but that they buy from a seller with a non-disposable reputation.

We believe that many climbers ask their equally unsuspecting guides to accompany them around town to find the best prices for stones and – believing that they have been suitably hard-nosed and walked away with a bargain – nonetheless, return with something of lower value than the price they have paid, which of course ought to be the opposite of the case, when buying so close to the source.

In the event that climbers have an interest in buying a Tanzanite stone of some pre-set jewellery that features Tanzanite, we therefore strongly recommend that they contact Team Kilimanjaro by email ( and request that we connect them with someone in Arusha of good reputation. We will then call around and find out who is available and aim to arrange a secure meeting at their company premises.

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