When my sister Lucy told us that she’d be spending 2 months in Tanzania this summer, my wife and I thought, “Hey, that’s cool, she should totally try to climb Kilimanjaro!” The more we thought about it, we realized that we should join her and climb it as well. We also realized that if we travelled all the way across the world to climb a mountain, we better take in all the culture, wildlife and natural beauty that Tanzania offered as well.
And so we did!
We started our trip to Tanzania with a night stay at The Springlands Hotel in Moshi. Springlands is operated by Zara Tours, as were all the hotels we stayed at on our safari. Our friend, Consea at Summit Trails helped us arrange the safari.
The first day we saw Lake Manyara National Park and stayed at Highview Hotel. The second day we went to the Serengeti National Park and stayed in a Wild Camp. On the third day we made our way to the Ngorongoro Wild Camp, and on the forth day we saw the wilderness at the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area. It was amazing to see that many large mamals living symbiotically in a relatively small area.
After the safari, we met up with my sister Lucy, her friend Kasey, and their friend Omega back at the Springlands Hotel. Lucy and Kasey had met Omega while volunteering for The Dare Women’s Foundation. Having Omega with us was great: he really helped us absorb Tanzanian culture and the Swahili language.
The trek was amazing and everyone in our party of four made it to the top! Even though the Machame route is thought of as more difficult than other routes (it’s sometimes called the “whiskey route”, as opposed to Marangu, which is called “Coca-Cola”), I’m glad we chose it because it offers excellent acclimatization, and you get to see several different ecosystems as you gain altitude, from rain forest up to the top of the mountain.
We couldn’t have been happier with our guides, Joshua and Simon. They had a tremendous amount of experience. Joshua told us that he’s been climbing Kili for over 20 years. After we reached the Uhuru Peak, Simon took everyone else back down, while Joshua and I continued on to Reusch Crater. It took less than 1 hour to get there from the peak, but was surpisingly difficult at that altitude!
After we came down off the mountain, we were lucky enough to be able to stay with a family in the villiage of Marangu, located about 1 hour north-east of Moshi. Our hosts, Mama and Baba (Papa) Fina, were incredibly gracious! They taught us about local culture and how to cook traditional Tanzanian Chipati, and of course: how to speak Swahili. Almost everyone in Tanzania can speak at least three languages: 1) their tribal language (Chagga, in this case), 2) Swahili, 3) English. Mama and Baba Fina ran a small hog farm, but also had cows, goats, rabbits, chickens and banana and coffee trees. I was amazed at how productive they were on their relatively small plot of land.
Overall, we had an amazing experience in Tanazania. The wildlife and natural beauty found in this area rival that found anywhere else in the world. We also found Tanzanian and Swahili culture to be some of the most charming that we’d experienced in all our travels, and it’s always good to see the world from someone else’s perspective. Hopefully we’ll be able to go back again some day!