Myself, Rose (New Zealand), Matthew (New Jersey), Antonia (UK), and four others from the homestay decided to go to Moshi for the weekend. Moshi is the town at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, about 90 km away from Arusha. Our weekend was spent as follows:
Our first stop was at a coffee plantation. Coffee is a significant aspect of Tanzania’s economy and it is its largest export. I had expected to see rows upon rows of coffee plants, but instead, the plants were scattered among the banana trees, where they were able to get shade from the large leaves and allowing bio-diversification on the land. The owner of the plantation, nicknamed “Babu Coffee”, was an eccentric old man with a lively personality. He led us through the complete process of making coffee, starting with the picking of the beans, all the way to sipping the final brew. While not a coffee fan, I was able to appreciate the hard work that goes into making the final product and drank a half cup.
After the coffee plantation, we stopped briefly at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, which I plan to climb in November, so it was a prelude of things to come.
After breaking for lunch we then went to the Ndoro Waterfall. This involved about a 20 minute hike down a fairly steep mountain, but the trek was well worth it. Having spent a majority of my life either in the suburbs or the city, where waterfalls are a rarity, it was a nice treat to spend some time in the water. While the water was chilly, it was very refreshing, and we even had some fun with the Go Pro camera.
Kikuletwa Hot Springs
Sunday was spent relaxing at the Kikuletwa Hot Springs, which easily topped the visit to the waterfall the day before. The journey there was beautiful as well, with the large baobab trees and sunflower fields intermixed with the flat plains. The springs were surrounded by large leafy trees, which provided shade from the hot sun, as well as making it more secluded. The water was a bright shade of blue, and although called the “hot springs”, the water was more of a pleasant warmth, akin to a swimming pool. There was even a swing that someone had attached to a tree trunk which provided endless entertainment for us, as we took turns propelling out into the water below. While we easily could have spent all day relaxing there, as it was election day, we did not want to get home after dark, in the case that things might go awry due to all of Tanzania being on edge.
All in all, it was a good, but tiring weekend, and it was nice to return back to our “home” in Arusha.