I’m very excited to share with you all the details of my Africa (Kenya/Tanzania) trip, and hopefully it helps you plan your own trip, encourages you to visit these places, or at the very least teaches you about another culture in another part of the world. I loved my Africa experience. To catch you up on my trip, check out all my Africa posts:
Now it’s time to bid farewell to Kenya and make our way to Moshi, Tanzania. Moshi is the local town/city/district at the base of Kilimanjaro. I’ve had an excellent 24 hours in Nairobi and I really hope to go back and see a lot more of Kenya (especially the Masai Mara Reserve!).
Since Nairobi and Moshi aren’t THAT far apart, if you have the time and are looking to save money you can take the public bus between the two cities. Since we were tight on time, we paid for the Precision Air/Kenya Airways flight. Our ticket says it’s an hour flight, but I feel like it was only 35 minutes of actual air time. Plus the views from the air are incredible, and I had an awesome seat for it (choose the “A” or “B” seats for the best view).
There’s Kilimanjaro from the plane. “It almost feels like we are only a few feet higher than the peak! EEk, that’s a tall mountain and we are about to start climbing it TOMORROW!” was running through my head. You can tell this is Kili due to it’s unique shape. Kili doesn’t come to a point and is more square shaped at the top.
Kilimanjaro is off in the distance and Mt. Meru is the closer mountain above. You can tell because Mt. Meru comes to a point.
There’s Mt. Meru as we circled around it to get to the Kilimanjaro Airport.
Once you get below the clouds you can see the lands of Tanzania. I have no idea what I was expecting the topography to be like. I had no preconceived notions, and it was a nice unveiling as we descended through the clouds.
There’s Erica, after we just walked off the plane.
It’s all starting to feel real! We are doing this! You should know that once you get off the plane and walking to the entrance of the airport, there are guards checking everyone’s yellow fever certificates (proof of the vaccination). You’ll run into a snag if you don’t have one, so be sure to bring this and keep it safe with your passport.
This airport is very small (2 rooms) with the first room being where you get your Tanzania visa. It’s $100 USD for vacationers. Be sure to get clean unmarked new bills to pay this. There aren’t ATMs in here, so you have to come with this money on you.
Once past this area, we grabbed our luggage from the second room and went outside to look for a cell phone/sim card shop (they didn’t have any) and an ATM (they had this!) where we got Tanzanian shillings. We already had our stay booked with the Springlands Hotel which arranged the airport pickup. The Springlands Hotel is Zara Tours hub.
I took the photo above and below on the drive to the hotel. I was DYING to take photos of the people, and the landscape but I know you really aren’t supposed to take photos of people and everyone else in our van restrained themselves, so I only snapped these two images. Everything was just so different and I wanted to capture it all.
This was as we made our way into Moshi. It was about 40 minutes from the airport to our hotel. When we left the airport it was surrounded by farm lands and felt very rural. The center of Moshi looked a lot like the photo above with several 1 or 2 story buildings lining the streets. You’ll notice the main road here is paved. As we made our way to the hotel we took a busy unpaved road which seemed like a tire-buster of a road.
After offloading our luggage and being told we would have a late afternoon meeting with our Kilimanjaro guides, we rushed to get a cab and make our way to visit the Good Hope School. A friend of a friend has been working there with and we were excited to meet her and all the students.
Our time here was really special. It began with the students each introducing themselves and describing their favorite foods and future goals. It was a great chance for them to practice their english and for us to get to know them.
Erica and I talked about our work in the entertainment industry, as many of the students expressed an interest in acting. They are going to be doing a production of the Wizard of Oz soon and sang us some songs and danced for us. This is just such a great place for these students to be. Many students walk a long distance to attend the school and do it because they want to learn. School in Moshi is a privilege and not a mandatory thing like it is in the US, so these kids are very happy to be there. Good Hope is a nonprofit community organization offering schooling to kids who otherwise couldn’t afford it.
When it was time for photos out in front of their school room, they were so excited. They loved posing for photos. They were all so sweet and had such a positive energy. I can see why people come to this community and want to stay to volunteer.
(Above) Erica with one of the students.
(Above) Erica poses with one of the mothers who started this organization and a student.
Above is Jen, the friend of a friend we were visiting who teaches at the school. She volunteered here for a short time and loved it so much she came back and committed to a longer stay. It’s easy to see why she wanted to come back. Erica and I felt really lucky to get to meet these people and get a taste of real life in Moshi. If you want to donate, check out their website HERE (no pressure).
After spending time with the kids we took a dala-dala into town to grab a quick lunch. The dala-dala is their form of public transportation and is a minivan that they pack with people and use like a bus. Again, I wanted to take a picture of it but with the people around it I felt uncomfortable doing that. This is a good photo of a dala-dala I found online. They always pack everyone in so it’s not uncommon to sit on people’s laps.
(Photo from HERE)
After a quick yummy lunch at the Kilimanjaro Coffee Lounge (American friendly food) we made our way back to the hotel to meet up with our guides, pack and get ready as the next morning we started climbing Kilimanjaro!