One of the popular excursions from Arusha is a trip to Moshi. I went with a group of 10 other IVHQ volunteers on a 2-day Moshi trip. We booked through Tanzania Host Experience and each paid $95 USD. We left on Saturday morning at 6:30AM and arrived back in Arusha Sunday afternoon around 3PM. Michael was our guide and he is amazing! He is very knowledgeable and personable.
On Saturday, we started the tour by going to Mt. Kilimanjaro base camp. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, the highest free-standing mountain in the world, and one of the largest volcanoes ever to burst through the earth’s surface. Situated only three degrees below the equator with snow and glaciers covering its peak, and just under four miles high, it can be seen from more than 100 miles away on a clear day. However, this mountain is nicknamed “Shy Mountain” because it is almost always hiding in the clouds. On the Moshi trip, you will only go to one of the trail’s starting points. Here you can see a replica of the mountain and read some of plaques that give information about the mountain, as well as who holds the climbing records.
The next stop is at a coffee plantation where you will learn how to make your own coffee. Babu (grandpa in Swahili) will show you around the grounds where you will pick, process, roast, and grind your own coffee beans. You will have the option to purchase a bag of coffee beans or small souvenirs to help Babu’s business.
After the coffee plantation, we ate lunch at a local restaurant. In the morning you will stop by to look at the menu and make your selections so that is ready when you arrive. The next item on the agenda was Ndoro Waterfall. We hiked down to the waterfall where we could take an optional swim. It was too cold for me but some of the boys took the plunge. At the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Ndoro Waterfall is one of the most popular and largest waterfalls in the area.
We then headed to explore an underground cave built by local tribes a long time ago. Over 120 tribes share the country of Tanzania and live together in peace, but it was not always like that. Before colonization, tribes were regularly fighting over land, cattle, and power. The Chagga tribe have always been living at the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. They were and are famous for growing vegetables, maize, beans, and bananas in the fertile soil of the mountain. About 200 years ago, there was a severe drought in Tanzania and people living in the lower parts of the country started to suffer heavily. So did the Maasai tribe who lived in the low lands of the Kilimanjaro area with their cattle.
The Maasai and the Chagga always had a lively trade, but when the drought made the low lands impossible to live in, the Maasai tried to seize the fertile lands of the Chagga. The Maasai started to steal young boys of the Chagga to make them their slaves and kill them once they reached the age of fighters. This was when the mountain tribe developed the idea of digging caves to hide from the cruel Maasai warriors. It took them 54 years to finish digging them up with their bare hands, using cow bones, or volcanic rocks from Kilimanjaro. Once you enter the caves, you will see how clever the Chagga people planned their refuge. They built a living room, a room for cooking, and ambushing chambers where they hid to attack the incoming enemies. After several failed attempts of attacking the Chagga, the Maasai finally gave up, being afraid of the devil living in the caves. They ran far until they reached the fertile lands of Ngorongoro and the plains of Serengeti where they still live today.
Our last stop of the evening was to have a taste of banana beer and banana wine at a banana farm. I think we only took a very small sip, and some of us spit it out instantly. It was not very good and something that I assume has to be acquired after a while. Not for me though.
You will stay at Paradise Inn Backpackers hostel in Moshi, which is very nice. We had 2 rooms for the 10 of us with 6 in one room and 4 in another room. Dinner and WiFi is provided at the hostel.
On Sunday, we started off the morning by having breakfast at the hostel and then setting off to have a town tour of Moshi. We stopped at a galleria where you can purchase paintings and souvenirs. The stores take credit card.
We then headed to the Kikuletwa Hot Springs. This was the best part of the trip! The hot springs are very tropical looking, located in the middle of a semi arid landscape and surrounded by sprawling fig trees. I enjoyed using the rope swing to get into the water. We had a packed lunch before heading back to Arusha. The drive was approximately 2 hours.
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