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“Mega Store Pretending to be a Cultural Center”

Cultural Heritage Centre
Ranked #4 of 61 things to do in Arusha
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Cultural Heritage Centre established in the year 1994. Is the first of its kind in Africa dedicated towards exploring the rich treasures derived from African Culture. This family business is the result of culmination of hard work, unwavering dedication and knowledge acquired from the forefathers. At the helm of the affairs is the versatile managing director, Mr. Saifuddin Khanbhai, who has a solid knowledge of African Culture and traditions. Culture Heritage Center has acquired iconic status due to the unique structure of the buildings within its compound and having the treasure chest of African art which is keeping African Art alive. The main building is designed to resemble the Uhuru Peak of Kilimanjaro. It also has an impressive array of arts and crafts including unique masks, Verdite carvings and paintings by famous African sculptures. Cultural Heritage now boasts an impressible Art Gallery was build on his vision which was to promote the work of the local artists. The exterior of the Gallery is imp rived by a drum, shield and spear, all major African symbols. The symbols resonate with the role of the Gallery that is to represent, communicate and celebrate Africa's Cultural Heritage. Among its many world famous pieces of Art is a 18 feet family tree which took 20 years to make. People from all over the world also visit Cultural Heritage, for its unrivaled reputation of having the finest Tanzanite stones which are also found in the Mererani hills of Tanzania, best in the world. The interior has three areas (i) History, (ii) Wildlife and (iii) soul. Ethnographic artifacts fill the History area, the wildlife area consists of contemporary paintings and sculptures of the curvatures roaming the African Savanna and the soul area captures Africa's energy allure and essence. The art gallery also has an amphitheatre which often shows on the life of special Tanzanian tribes like the Maasai, Pygmies and Hadzabe. It is also used for conferences. Also offered at the centre are day rooms found on the top of the building. They serve as resting place in the calm environment after a long safari trp. The spa at the Gallery offers a verity of personal care and treatments. The proceeds from the Gallery go to the conservation of elephants in Africa and the main concept of this is anti poaching clearly defined by the sculpture of the large unique beaded elephant. However, other causes such as orphanages, schools and boreholes and well drilling benefit from the proceeds. The centre also has a restaurant, coffee chop, spice centre, beads centre, and flea shop, which offers a variety of artifacts at different prices. Apart from the art the centre vibrated with warm hospitality. Cultural Heritage is visited by tourists from all over the world. It has been honored by visits from distinguished guests and state leaders such as President Bill Clinton, The prince William of Holland and his wife, Former UN secretary Mr. Kofi Annan, and celebrities such as Cindy Crawford. However every visitor who visits Cultural Heritage is treated as a Celebrity.
Paris, France
Level Contributor
124 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 147 helpful votes
“Mega Store Pretending to be a Cultural Center”
Reviewed 27 July 2014

This is a very huge shopping complex that sells everything from bead necklaces to very expensive wood carvings from around Africa. It seems to specialize in catering to tourists who are not particularly knowledgeable about local arts and crafts traditions, nor know much about local prices. As a result the "Center" has a hodgepodge collection of items from all around the huge African continent, sold in separate little pavilions depending on the type of good sold. I found the gallery exhibiting paintings by various local artists the most interesting. If you don't have a lot of time to buy some souvenirs and you don't mind paying disproportionately high prices for things, then this will be your most convenient one-stop shopping experience. Be careful, though, because the place takes a hefty surcharge if you do not pay in cash but prefer instead of use your credit card! Shopping there also costs quite a bit in taxi fees because the Center is located quite a distance outside town and you will have to ask your driver to wait for you to get back into town. It might be more convenient to visit the Center on your way back from Ngorogoro Crater or the Serengeti National Park, as it is located on the main road to both places.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank Angkor2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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593 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Worth a visit”
Reviewed 17 July 2014

The centre was quite pricey, however worth a visit to explore the many rooms of artifacts and items for sale.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank 292PamD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Palm Desert
Level Contributor
73 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“African art and scupture”
Reviewed 16 July 2014

Huge Free museum as part of store complex.
Art from Camerouns, Ghana, Nigeria Tanzania etc
Sculptures and paintings by Tanzanian Michael A Ghaui for sale and
Tanzanian Chilonga Haji among many other community artists
Impressive beaded chairs from Yoruba culture of Nigeria
Very impressed with this private collection of Saifudin Khanbhai. He is owner and managing director and also Tanzanite expert. He buys and sells Tanzanite.
On request guided tours are available of collection which is housed in multistory building. Interior is like Gugenheim and exterior is sword, shield, drum to represent Tanzania.
Two or more hours required if plan to read information which is in English. Staff, painters, and owner were very helpful
Open daily but closes Sunday at 2:30. Check locally
Artists are not always at museum, so check first.
Saifudin's goal is to preserve African Culture and share with community. He offers guided tours for local students as well as tourists. We were very impressed to find a collection of African art here. Note : no Egyptian art
Well worth a visit.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Desertdocent2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jaipur, India
Level Contributor
591 reviews
227 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 164 helpful votes
“Full of arts and crafts”
Reviewed 13 July 2014

This store has some nice arts and crafts, but we did find more beautiful pieces elsewhere. also found that their prices were a bit high.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank syan0vich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Palo Alto, California
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“More exploitation of natives and tourists.”
Reviewed 10 July 2014

The stores are just more Indian businessmen ripping off and discriminating against Black Africans. The ground level of the gallery has some unique and amazing items...skip the stores.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank MJArmstrongPierce
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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