Maasai tribesmen stand in front of a bajaj in Arusha, Tanzania, on Tuesday (02/04). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Arusha: the Heart of Tanzania


APRIL 03, 2019

"Jambo, jambo bwana. Habari gani. Mzuri sana. Wageni, wakaribishwa Tanzania yetu hakuna matata!"

Jambo Bwana was the song that Mr. Eugene Malle, a marketing officer of the Tanzania Tourism Board (TTB), sang to greet Jakarta Globe's photographer Yudha Baskoro the moment he set foot at Kilimanjaro International Airport in northern Tanzania on Sunday (31/03). It's a welcoming song for everyone who has arrived for the first time in this heart of Africa.

The song was written by Teddy Harrison in 1979. Its lyrics, written in Swahili, Tanzania's national language, mean "Hello sir, how are things going? Very well." The last line, "hakuna matata," a phrase made famous by the Disney film The Lion King, means "no problem."

Eugene said visitors to Africa should take the song's message to heart: that most of the continent, and especially Tanzania, ia a safe place to visit and travel around in. 

Eugene then took the Jakarta Globe team by car to Arusha, the largest city in Tanzania. After an hour drive, Mkoa wa Arusha began to show its magic: the stunning landscapes and colors of the foothills of Mount Meru, the second highest mountain in Tanzania.

Arusha had a population of more than one and a half million people mostly made up of members of the Iraqw, Wameru, Sonjo, Chagga, Pare, Nguu and Maasai tribes. 

Arusha is smack bang in the center of northern Tanzania's safari and game drive tracks. The area also hosts three national parks: Kilimanjaro, Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. 

The city's main landmark is a clock tower, a legacy of the British colonial administration that ruled Tanzania until 1961. Today, the tower is marked as the midway point between Cairo and Capetown and is a popular meeting point for locals and tourists. 

Charles Mpanda from the Tanganyika Ancient Routes travel bureau said Arusha used to be a mining town where the beautiful and rare Tanzanite stone was found. Tanzanite got its name from Tanzania because the blue sapphire can only be found in Arusha.

The locals in Arusha are full of smiles, and would often greet tourists with a "Karibu" ("welcome") or "Asante sana" ("thank you very much").

Khatibu Makenga, the first secretary of the United Republic of Tanzania Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, said Arusha is the "sweet heart of Tanzania" and that it's a must-visit town if you want to find the true soul of Africa.

Jakarta Globe's photographer Yudha Baskoro has been sponsored by Canon Datascrip Indonesia to capture the beauty of Arusha in Tanzania. All photos in this story were taken using Canon's brand new compact size mirrorless camera, Canon EOS RP with a Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM lens. 

Arusha street artist told a story about the famous clock tower roundabout in Arusha, Tanzania on Sunday (31/03) The clock tower is the central point between Cairo and Capetown. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
An Arusha street artist recounted the history of the city's famous clock tower on Sunday (31/03). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Painting of Tanzania
Paintings of Tanzanian wildlife sold in a local shop in Arusha. Tanzania has more than four million wild animals, including 430 distinct species and subspecies. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Two teenagers walk on the street near Kibo Pallace hotel in Arusha, Tanzania on Sunday (31/03) Tanzania youth generation love to wear fancy clothes because they begin to promote themself to face country
Two Tanzanian hipsters walk the streets near the Kibo Palace hotel in Arusha. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A public transportation is waiting for passengers in Arusha, Tanzania on Tuesday (02/04) Public transportation in Arusha are three wheeler bajaj, bus and boda-boda (ojek) (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A bus waits for passengers in Arusha. Public transportation in the city is made up of the three-wheeler bajaj (the same kind found in Jakarta), bus and boda-boda, or motorcycle taxis. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Wameru tribe are doing their traditional dancing in Arusha, Tanzania on Monday (01/04) The region had a population of 1,694,310 and the Iraqw, Wameru, Sonjo, Chagga, Pare, Nguu and Maasai live together peacefully in Arusha. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Wameru tribesmen perform a traditional dance. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Two people are working on a construction of Arusha
Construction still going on at Arusha’s Cultural Heritage building, which will house a museum, a paleoanthropology data center and a historical archive. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) 
A trader shows the highest quality of tanzanite in Tanzanite Experience, at Arusha, Tanzania on Tuesday (02/04) Tanzanite got its name from Tanzania because the blue saphire can only be found in Arusha. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A rare Tanzanite or blue sapphire gemstone that turned Arusha into a famous mining town. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Khans Barbeque is a famous local street food in Arusha, Tanzania.  Its owner is a immigrants Indian descent named Khan. His offsprings came to Tanzania on 1920 to build a train track. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Khan's Barbeque, a famous street food vendor in Arusha. Khan the owner is a man of Indian descent whose predecessors moved to Tanzania in the 1920s to work on the country's train tracks. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A rush hour in Arusha on Tuesday (02/04) The bussiest hours is happened around 6pm to 8pm. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Rush hour in Arusha on Tuesday (02/04). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Arusha resident sold roasted corn on the street during the afternoon in Arusha, Tanzania on Tuesday (02/04) (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Street vendors in Arusha selling roasted corn, a popular snack. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Mount Meru are seen from centre of Arusha near the clock tower on Sunday (31/03) Mount Meru, the second highest mountain in Tanzania after Mount Kilimanjaro. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Mount Meru, the second highest mountain in Tanzania after Mount Kilimanjaro, seen from Arusha's city center. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)