Cultural Tours

Moshi, our home town, is a small but typically vibrant  Tanzanian market town with an urban population of 150,000 and rural  population of 402,400. It is the regional capital of the Kilimanjaro  region. What makes Moshi special is the fact that it sits behind  one of the world’s most amazing backdrops, the snow-capped  Mount Kilimanjaro. You can practically be anywhere in Moshi and  feel imposed by the beauty of the mountain. Although the town lies  at an altitude of 890m above sea level, you do not have to travel  too far towards the mountain to feel that you are getting higher  and can feel closer to it. The town is set in a fertile volcanic  area, well fed by streams off the mountain, ideal for Arabica Coffee  crops, the most rewarding local export.

Moshi is the kind of town where you can relax in  its friendly atmosphere and just talk to people and observe the  sights and sounds. We recommend that you try and spend a few days  here just absorbing what a typical market town in Tanzania can offer.  This is the kind of town where people have the time to talk to you  and be a friend.

There are many interesting and picturesque excursion  and tours you can take whilst you are staying at our home base:

Moshi town -  A chance to absorb  the atmosphere of the town, visit the local traditional market,  spend a lazy afternoon in the sheltered garden of the Coffee Shop,  play a spot of golf at one of the local golf courses or swim at  the YMCA or one of the hotel pools.

Lake Chala - 30 km east of  Moshi, this crater lake fed from Mount Kilimanjaro is truly an off  the beaten track. The views of the surrounding area and the shores  of the lake provide a magnificent picnic site. The lake is not safe  for swimming as it is home to crocodiles.

Njoro Forest (Rau) - on the east  of Moshi town in an area of high ground water fed by run-off from  Mt. Kilimanjaro. A guided walk in the forest will give you the chance  to see an abundance of nature, tree and woodland, including the  tall Mvule trees. Watch Colobus monkeys eat wild fruits.

Kikuletwa Hot Spring - a  natural clean spring water. Ideal for swimming in the warm water  and relaxation. The surrounding areas provide stunning views with  a great picnic spot and tour into one of the Maasai huts will be  worthwhile.

Kibosho - a half hour drive from  Moshi town. Visit the Catholic Cathedral or walk in the samba’s  and forest. There are many large Catholic and Lutheran churches  on the mountain with interesting stories behind them of how missionaries  influenced the Chaggas who reside there. Kidia is the oldest German  church in Tanzania.

Horse Riding - a half day  or full exploring the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro on horse back.

Nymba Ya Mungu Reservoir - A great  place for birds, with fishing settlements around the lake. On the  way you pass the TPC Sugar Plantation, a scenic drive especially  when the flame trees are in blossom.

Lake Duluti - 50 minutes from  Moshi. Walk round the shores of the lake and enjoy a drink or some  food at the cafĂ© or have a picnic.

Marangu - Pass by the Ndoro  waterfalls 40 minutes from Moshi. Walk in the national park with  a guide. Drive to Marangu gate, take a guide and walk up to the  first hut on the Marangu Route. A tough, full-day walk; wear good  boots. You will need to pay for entry into the park.

Makoa Waterfalls - a 10m waterfalls  created by the Makoa River in Machame. Surrounded by banana and  coffee plantations where you get the opportunity to see the indigenous  people conducting their daily lives.

Uru Waterfalls - Uru waterfalls,  which lies about thirty minutes out of Moshi town. The 50 meter  waterfall is one of the hidden treasures of Kilimanjaro Region and  offers you the opportunity to hike through coffee farms and enjoy  spectacular views. Enjoy a delicious picnic lunch at the base of  the waterfall and swim in the pool of the waterfalls.

 

Mamba Marangu Cultural Tour - Marangu  is 30km northeast of Moshi town at altitude 1800m, 45 minutes drive  form Moshi town. They offer full and half day tour on the slopes  of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Attractions include waterfalls, beautiful views,  coffee trees (this is the area where the first coffee tree in Tanzania  was planted by German Missionaries), caves used during Maasai/Chagga  wars, traditional and modern Chagga art, culture, and homes, see  an iron smith at his ancient craft.

Machame cultural Tours - Machame  area is a mosaic of beautiful valleys, deep gorges, rivers, waterfalls,  farms and is a home base for Chagga people. You can visit the natural  forests, bridges and caves where local people worshipped, learn  about how projects are developed to suit rural settings (such as  pottery for water and food storage), walk through the banana and  coffee farmlands, learn about coffee production. Hikes in this area  will be ideal for acclimatisation before climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Historical Moshi
Moshi was the capital of an area ruled by Rindi, the great 19th  century Chagga chief who became one of the most important chiefs  in the area due to his diplomatic skills. Allying with the Maasai,  he exhorted large taxes from passing caravans. When the first German  colonial troops arrived at Kilimanjaro in 1891, Rindi assured them  he ruled the whole area and convinced them to unite with him against  his rival, Sina of Kibosho, signing away his territories rather  than succumb to an undignified defeat. Both the powerful Rindi and  Sina were hanged a few years later. Moshi became an important colonial  centre of administration for the Germans, and later the English.  The original Moshi - Old Moshi - is higher up the mountain and until  the railway line reached the present day Moshi in 1911 and a station  built, the headquarters of the German administrative district of  Moshi was in Old Moshi.

The Mystery of Moshi´s Name
Although Moshi means smoke in Kiswahili, the origin of the name  has always been a puzzle. Some suggest that it got its name from  ‘Shashioni” a corruption of the word ‘station’  when in 1911, it became the terminus for the steam railway line  from Tanga. Others propose that the reference to smoke is due to  the town lying at the base of a volcano or the clouds that gather  around the mountain. There are some who connect it with the former  chiefdom of Mochi, in whose lowland the town lies.

Kilimanjaro Region
The region has a remarkable landscape, beginning with Mount Kilimanjaro,  moving down the slopes to the flat plains south of the mountain  then eastwards where you encounter the Pare Mountains. The Mkomozi  Game Reserve lies behind the Pare Mountains. West from the Pare  Mountains, you look over what seems to be everlasting flat plains,  the Maasai Steepe, one of the places where the Maasai live. Discover  for yourself the diversity in landscape, people and culture of the  Kilimanjaro region.

People of Kilimanjaro
Although the town of Moshi itself is home to a range of different  people, the Kilimanjaro region is predominantly made up of the Chagga,  who reside on the slopes of Kilimanjaro and the Pare whose home  is the Pare Mountains.

The fertile volcanic soil and reliable rainfall on  the slopes of Kilimanjaro has probably always been a draw for human  settlement. The Chagga are Bantu-speaking agriculturalists whose  ancestors probably arrived in the area in the 15th century. The  Chagga had no tradition of central leadership. Up to 100 small chiefdoms  existed in the mid 19th century. Their efficient and industrious  farming skills meant that they have always produced a food surplus  and subsequently have a history of trading with the Maasai and other  local groups, and later with Arab caravans.

Chaggas remain self sufficient for basic foodstuffs  and today the mountain is scattered with family smallholdings that  produce a variety of subsistence crops. The major cash crop is coffee,  which was introduced during the colonial era and has been grown  by small scale farmers who sell through a co-operative. The main  agricultural activity is still coffee and some of the finest Arabica  in Tanzania comes from the slopes of Kilimanjaro. Coffee growing  is the livelihood of thousands of people. The Chaggas have a reputation  for industriousness, and today many of Tanzania’s political  and business leaders come from Kilimanjaro.