When the year started I didn’t see myself exploring Moshi, Tanzania. It was never part of the plan until my #1000km2018team decided the Kilimanjaro Marathon would be a nice challenge. Moshi is the hometown of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru in Tanzania. The main inhabitants are the Chagga who are one of the largest ethnic group in Tanzania.
We started our journey to Moshi at 5.30am. We had prior tickets and got the bus (Dar Express) from downtown Nairobi. The return ticket cost around 4,000kes each. The bus was on time and we hardly took more than 20mins at the border. We were in Moshi by 12noon. I know right, it was superfast, the rest of the team would get in at around 5 – 6pm as they had stop overs and way much more fun on the way. At the bus stop we took a taxi to the hotel which was around 4,500tshillings which is equivalent to 200kes.
We freshened up, took a cab and we went out to explore. We ended up at some new open restaurant which was among the official Kilimanjaro Run party places. Then menus we overwhelming ranging from 6,600 – 33,000 tshillings and the servings were amazing. We had one of their traditional chicken platter (can’t remember the name, actually I couldn’t even get it after several corrections). The spice was just right with the chilies making a surprise explosion in my mouth, the tenderness on the chicken with every bite (can’t start to explain the yumminess). The DJ and experimenting on new beverages almost made us forget our main goal which was the marathon.
Kili Run and Materuni Waterfalls:
After the marathon we bid people good bye as we headed to Materuni Waterfalls which was about 40mins away. On arrival, we met the villagers in charge, paid the entrance and guide fees (5000tshillings each). It’s about an hour’s walk to the falls. As we walked the guide told us the village history, shared jokes and just made the walk seem shorter. They were some steep and slippery places considering it had just drizzled. The scenery was breathtaking. Perfect for photography. You pass by coffee and banana plantations. I was so curious about all this and on my way back my curiosity was cured. As we almost approached the falls, we could hear the singing of the birds, happy noises from other insects and lastly the silent roar of the fall. We still couldn’t see it yet but we could smell it. The smell of majestic wonder, the fresh earthy soil with each step as you approach it.
Then boom, it stands tall, calling you to touch it, swim in it and just lose yourself to it like you have no care in the world. The more we chased it, the cleared and louder it became. I think the waterfall’s best game is hide and seek or was it peek-a-boo because now we saw it and then we didn’t. This happened like twice before it officially welcomed us to its roaring yet gentle sound and overwhelming sight. I just stood there and took it all in. The water, the white water rushed out and slowly flowed in to meet the green water. The height, the colours, the smell, the arrangement of rocks. I was sold. I would walk another 3 hours just to meet it, I thought to myself. I finally changed into my custom and rushed to feel the water. The rocks were slimy and slippery but that didn’t stop me. However, my decision to dance under the falls was short-lived once I entered that water and a wave of ice cold water hit me. It was so cold that I couldn’t even dare swim across without needing hypothermia treatment after. We changed, stayed for a bit and then went off to explore the rest of the village.
It was a short walk before we were welcomed with an arousing aroma of fresh coffee. When we got in, we were warmly welcomed and the tour started. We got to see the coffee farm that has grown over generations. Then we went through the whole coffee making process, from drying to roasting to grinding and drinking the actual coffee. The grinding process is made with fun, happiness and so much love.
Banana Wine/ Beer Tour:
As I mentioned before, they also grow bananas. These bananas are not only grown for eating, but also for making drinks. As it was late, we never got the whole tour but we got to taste the banana drinks. They are surprisingly very good. The banana taste wasn’t too profound but be warned on the percentage. For the above tours please remember to carry good shoes preferably hiking shoes; extra cash for tips, to buy coffee and other gifts.
Day 3: Lake Chala:
Lake Chala is a water-filled caldera that was formed after volcanic activity from Mt. Kilimanjaro caused it to collapse. The crater itself is 3km in length and 2.4km wide, with a surface area of about 4.2km². The depth of the lake is between 70 to 90m with the walls almost vertical and as high as a 100m in some places. It took us about 3hours to get there. We paid around 50usd for entrance and an extra 10usd for the restaurant, which is compulsory. It’s advisable to call ahead for them to cater for your lunch. Unfortunately, we couldn’t swim at the time due to a recent incident but we got to go down and feel the water. Have a close look at the breathtaking view with the singing of birds. If you are lucky enough you will see a few small animals like dik-diks or even elephants as it neighbours Tsavo National Park. After a relaxed afternoon we headed back to Moshi town for more yummy Tanzania cuisine as we wait for our bus back the following afternoon.
Other things you can do in Moshi:
- Day hike to Mandara Huts in Mt. Kilimanjaro
- Hike to Uhuru peak in Mt. Kilimanjaro this will take a few days and prior preparation
- Hike to Mt. Meru
- Learn about the Maasai Culture in one of the Maasai Villages
- Day Trip to Kikuletwa Hot Springs
- Have a drink and a mini photoshoot at the old railway Museum.