What to Expect at the Arusha Cultural Heritage Center

Established in 1994, the Arusha Cultural Heritage Center is dedicated to showcasing and celebrating the rich, local African Culture. From the outside, the Center offers compelling and varied architectural works; inside, it highlights the most extensive collection of African art, sculpture, and crafts without having to pay any entrance fees.

Everything you see in the gallery is available for purchase. There is so much to offer; you can spend hours or days exploring and still feel that you have not covered it all.

Arusha Cultural Center is a place to celebrate the past and present local tribes. The main building of the Center design resembles the Uhuru peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The interior has three designated areas to explore: history, wildlife, and soul.

By George Lamson, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

The history section is filled with ethnographic artifacts guaranteed to occupy you for hours. The wildlife sections contain contemporary paintings and sculptures of what roams the African savanna, while the soul captures the “energy, allure, and essence” of Africa.

Africa Travel Channel Visits Arusha’s Cultural Heritage Center


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An informative overview of all the wonders that the Arusha Cultural Heritage Center has to offer accompanied by lively local music can be found in this video produced by Africa Travel Channel. It gives a visual tour of the Center while highlighting some of the critical areas to explore, including the gem shop that houses world-renown tanzanite. Watch the video to get a feel for what a visit to the Center will encompass.

Highlights of the Arusha Cultural Heritage Centre

There are many reasons to visit the Cultural Heritage Center while in Arusha:

  • Ample shopping opportunities abound; the Center boasts restaurants, coffee shops, spice centers, bead centers, a gem shop, and a flea shop.
  • Also included in the Center is an amphitheater, dayrooms, and a relaxing spa.
  • Proceeds of the gallery mainly go to the conservations of elephants in Africa with funding also directed to orphanages, schools, and well drilling.
  • In the shops, prices are fixed, saving you time to explore and shop to your heart’s content.
  • There are many shopping opportunities for every budget.
  • There are recommended activities to do, enjoy the art and shop.

Things to be Aware of

Though almost guaranteed to be a lovely visit, there are a few notable things to be aware of when visiting the Arusha Cultural Heritage Center:

  • The Center is less of a museum and more of a shopping center. More floor space is dedicated to the shops.
  • Due to it being a gallery, no photos are allowed inside certain parts of the building. You may take pictures outside.
  • In terms of information, there is very little offered about the items on display. You have to find knowledgeable staff to learn more about specific pieces.
  • Because of the fixed prices, items tend to retail higher than post-haggling rates.

Best Practices and Final Advice

The Arusha Cultural Heritage Center is a beautiful place to visit if traveling to Arusha or even broader, to Tanzania. The stunning architecture, paired with the immense gallery, guarantees to offer something of interest to everyone.

It is safe for tourists to visit while maintaining no entrance fees. Proceeds from the gallery are donated to worthwhile causes like elephant conservation, clean water, schools, and orphanages.

If shopping is your goal, this is the place for you, but if you are looking for a museum with a vast amount of information, this may be a bit lacking in the truly historical and informative pieces. The fixed prices can also run a little more expensive than other shops where bartering is common.

If you have a few hours or ideally a few days in Tanzania, make a stop at Arusha Cultural Heritage Center, explore and see the wonders of local Tanzanian spirit in-person.

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