It’s been several weeks since I moved my life to Moshi, Tanzania, so I thought it was about time I shared a little insight into what my new hometown has to offer (especially for those of you back home who I know are dying to pay me a visit! haha).
For those that don’t know, Moshi is a medium-sized town located in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. And while the famous mountain might be the main attraction in Moshi, this vibrant town is also the gateway to SO many other beautiful places that will give you a taste of East Africa.
- Spotting the Big Five on a wildlife safari
- Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro the “Roof of Africa”
- Finding your inner zen at Lake Chala
- Learning about Maasai culture
- Taking a dip at the Kikuletwa Hot Springs
- Sampling local food
- Visiting Materuni waterfalls
- Hiking Mount Meru
- The Old Railway Station
- Marangu Village tour
- Exploring the local Moshi markets
- Walking with rescued monkeys
- Volunteering in the community
- Hopping on a plane to Zanzibar
- Relaxing by the pool with a beer
Read more below…
15 things to do in and around Moshi
1. Spot the ‘Big Five’ on a wildlife safari
Seeing Africa’s “Big Five” in their natural environment is an experience not to be missed, and there’s no better place to do it than Tanzania. Listed as Africa’s top safari destination, Tanzania is the home to a number of national game parks with an abundance of diverse wildlife. From the natural wonder of the Ngorongoro Crater to the Serengeti’s vast iconic plains that go on for as far as the eye can see, each of Tanzania’s parks has their own character and uniqueness.
2. Climb to the “Roof of Africa”
The main attraction in Tanzania, a climb to the “Roof of Africa” is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and one that I am yet to tick off my list. Rich in diverse fauna and flora, Mount Kilimanjaro stands at 5,895 metres making it the tallest mountain in Africa and the world’s highest freestanding mountain.
Climbs usually take from 5 to 10 days depending on your ability, budget and time. There are several routes to choose from, with each one taking you through different climate zones, from equatorial rainforests surrounded by banana and coffee plantations to near arctic conditions. If you don’t have the budget to make it to the top, then there’s also the option to explore the base of the mountain with a day hike through Montane Forest.
- Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro: An Interview With Blonde For Adventure
- The True Cost of Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
3. Find your inner zen at Lake Chala
Lake Chala is the perfect place to get some downtime from the hustle and bustle of city life. Located just 1.5 hours away from Moshi on the border of Tanzania and Kenya, this tranquil location is one mighty fine example of how much natural beauty this country has to offer.
Lake Chala is believed to be the caldera of a volcanic eruption which happened over three million years ago. Now all that remains is a beautiful blue lake surrounded by lush green forest, where you can see an abundance of different monkeys and birdlife.
4. Learn about Maasai culture
The Maasai are probably one of East Africa’s most emblematic tribes and are easy to spot around Moshi with their distinctive look. You don’t have to walk very far to be greeted by a friendly, tall male Maasai wrapped head to toe in a boldly coloured shúka.
But if you would like to learn more about these indigenous people, spending some time with them in their own communities is a great way to do it. It’s important to do your research though if you would like an authentic experience, as there are a number of trips out there that are tourist traps.
5. Take a dip in the Kikuletwa Hot Springs
Located approximately 1.5 hours away from Moshi, Kikuletwa Hot Springs is one of Tanzania’s many hidden gems. A beautiful natural pool hiding away among twisting fig trees in the middle of a dusty landscape, this little oasis is a great place for relaxing. The crystal clear waters are a lovely warm temperature and you can even enjoy a free fish pedicure with all the tiny fish that nibble away at your feet.
6. Sample the local foods
Although Moshi might be considered a small town, you’d be surprised by the variety of restaurants to choose from. From Indian and Italian cuisine to Asian and European foods, there is a world of food to be found in the town centre. But perhaps one of the best ways of experiencing local life is to sample Swahili dishes. If you’re not sure where to start when looking at a menu, take a look at these 10 mouth-watering Tanzanian foods you shouldn’t miss.
Best places to eat local food in Moshi:
- Pamoja Cafe
- Maembe Cafe
- Kili Home
- Secret Garden Hotel
- Green Bamboo Restaurant
7. Materuni waterfalls and coffee farm tour
A stone’s throw away from Moshi town centre lies the Materuni Waterfalls. A day tour will begin with a short hike to the waterfall where you can make a splash in the mountain water of Kilimanjaro and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding valleys. Along the way, you’ll also get to experience the local life of the Chagga people and on the way back you’ll stop by a traditional ‘shamba’ (farm) to see how coffee is produced – from picking the bean to roasting and then drinking a tasty cup yourself!
8. Hike Mt Meru
If Mount Kilimanjaro is a little out of your budget, Mount Meru is a great alternative for a more affordable trekking challenge. Standing at 4,566 meters it is the second highest mountain in Tanzania and some climbers even consider it more a beautiful hike than Kilimanjaro. Located in Arusha Park, with the Momella Lakes close to its foot, Mt Meru boasts diverse flora and fauna, and you may even be lucky enough to see some zebras and buffalo on your way up.
9. Watch the world go by at the Old Railway Station
Perhaps one of my favourite activities in Mosh town is heading to the old railway station which is no longer in use. Not only can you get great views of Mt Kili on a clear day, it’s a great place to while away a few hours and people-watch as most of the locals still walk along the tracks as part of their daily commute. The best time to go down is before sunset when most of the locals are coming home from work. Plus they’ve converted one of the booking offices into a small bar where you can grab your local beer of choice – I’d recommend a Kilimanjaro beer of course!
**Update – Since first writing this post, the railway station is now back up and running, but it is still possible to visit and grab a drink or two.
10. Marangu village tour and caves
Experience life on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro and visit Marangu Village. Highlights include meeting friendly coffee farmers, visiting the waterfalls and a local Chagga museum, eating local dishes and drinking home-brewed banana beer. There is also the opportunity to visit the colourful local markets and see the historic caves that were used as hiding points from enemies during clan wars.
11. Explore the local markets
If you want to go bargain-hunting or simply want to see the authentic side of local Tanzanian shopping, exploring the bustling local markets is a great activity to do. These markets mainly sell fresh fruits and vegetables, second-hand clothes and other essential household goods. You can also shop for kangas, the colourful materials you’ll see the local women tie around their waists. Memorial Market in Soweto is a short dala dala ride from the town centre and the best place to just wander around and take in the vibrant atmosphere.
12. Walk with rescued monkeys
Kilimanjaro Animal CREW is part of Makoa Farm, a gorgeous lodge located on the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, and their main aim is to educate people about animal conservation.
A large part of the farm looks after orphaned or injured animals, providing a safe haven for a variety of different species. Visiting the farm is a great day trip for animal lovers. You not only get to go on a hike with the monkeys who freely follow along, you also get to meet some of the other residents of the farm including a three-legged serval cat, a duiker, bush pigs and a rather bad-tempered marabou stork (to name but a few!)
13. Volunteer in the community
There are many different NGOs and organisations in Moshi that offer various different volunteer programmes, from manual work to teaching or medical clinics to women’s projects. If you’re looking to do something that gives back to the community during your stay, get in touch with organisations to see if there are any projects that match your skills. Remember, it’s important to do your research when volunteering abroad to ensure that what you are doing is sustainable and ethical.
- 6 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Volunteering Abroad
- Photo Diary – A Day in the Life of a Volunteer in Tanzania
- Volunteering at Newlands School and Orphanage in Tanzania
14. Hop on a plane to paradise
Picture a beautiful island surrounded by crystal clear waters and blindingly white sands, where every sunset is more breathtaking than the last. You know, the ones you see advertised in almost every honeymoon magazine? Well, that’s exactly what you get when you go to Zanzibar – a postcard-perfect island just humbly lying off the coast of East Africa. If you want to escape Moshi for a week or two, then Zanzibar is the place to go and it’s relatively easy to get to from Kilimanjaro Airport.
15. Relax by the pool with a beer
For those hot days where all you want to do is take a dip in the swimming pool, there are a number of hotels and lodges located near the town where you can do just that! My personal favourites have to be Mountain Inn, Honey Badger Lodge, Kili Wonders Hotel, and Weru Weru Lodge but there are many others to choose from.
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