What are my options (methods, approximate prices, safety, and duration) in getting from Nairobi, Kenya to Arusha, Tanzania? I'll be in Nairobi and want to travel to Arusha to join a Mount Kilimanjaro tour operator that will help me climb the mountain.

I found that there are shuttle buses that drive between Nairobi and Arusha daily (e.g. here and here).

Although I've found info on TripAdvisor and other sites, I trust StackExchange more and figured I'd ask here too. If this type of question isn't suitable, I can remove it.

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    @pnuts, I believe they exist. I was just hoping for more people's experiences or info about them in terms of approximate prices, safety, and duration. Sometimes these websites fall out of date or contain inaccurate info. – David Xia Jan 19 '15 at 20:12
  • Related: How to get into and travel across Tanzania, though it's dated. I do still lament the disappearance of Scandinavia Express. – choster Jan 20 '15 at 6:50

Your options are by air or by bus. A taxi from Nairobi to the border, and a new taxi from the border to Arusha is of course also an option, but it will not come cheap.

As mentioned in the answer from @Carl you will have several options for bus companies at around $20. The pick-up for some companies are at the different hotels. The bus will take you to the Arusha bus station. Safety on roads in any country is always a concern. The road between Nairobi and Arusha has been upgraded some years ago. This usually means the average speed goes up. Travelling along roads in African countries is more dangerous than in any European country. Safety in cars and buses are generally lower - lack of safety belts, driver ignorance or lack of skill, bad roads, bad technical standard on cars, high speed driving, securing of cargo, cattle/donkeys along the road etc. A drive will, for better or worse, of course give you a different feel for the countries you travel in and Kenya/Tanzania are no exceptions.

Your cheapest flight option would be with Precision Air. It currently costs around $150. Since it is an international flight it will take you from Nairobi(NBO) to Kilimanjaro international Airport (JRO). The Arusha airport is not an international one. You will have to add the bus ticket from JRO to Arusha. It will set you back from around $10. A taxi will cost you around $50. The distance from JRO to Arusha is around 50 kms, so you will still have to spend an hour or so on the road.


At Busbud.com we sell tickets to travelers for Dar Express and some of the other local bus companies from around USD$19. The trip is around 5 hours. A couple days advanced booking is required for online purchase.

Traveling in Kenya and Tanzania is generally very safe. Unfortunately there is some heightened risked compared to wealthier countries in regards to traffic accidents, though buses are generally safer than smaller vehicles. I don't really have any experience or information to attest to the relative risk of one company vs any other.


I did this by bus, and it was very scenic and enjoyable. Long-distance buses are comfortable and have storage for luggage. You can buy tickets in advance. Safety and duration were what you would expect for a bus in the third world traveling that distance.

The only part where I had problems was at the border crossing, where I had some hassles because I was inexperienced. At the border, tag along with someone who knows what they are doing. You will find yourself in a large, chaotic area, with big rigs pulling in and out and various scammers trying to take advantage of you. Your bus disappears, and you have to get through two customs houses (departure and entry) before finding the bus again. Fix in your mind what your bus and driver look like, and don't fall for other people who claim to be working for the bus company.

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