After labeling my ride on the Tazara an “adventure” I was stuck on making sure that everything in Tanzania went well. I planned for just a short stay in Dar – it’s a bit crowded for my liking and instead focused all my attention on Zanzibar and Moshi. Zanzibar for it’s beaches and seafood and Moshi, for it’s proximity to Mount Kilimanjaro. A week or two resting on the beach eating seafood followed by perhaps some minor day treks at the base of Kilimanjaro. It was the perfect plan!
Zanzibar was just what I had imagined. A few days in Stone Town allowed us to walk around and buy tourist crap. We got to eat some great Indian food – yes I bought Indian food in Tanzania, but the owner and the chef were Indian so it was fine, PLUS no one could possibly understand my love for Indian food so honestly I would buy it on Mars if it was available!! We moved along the coast to Jambiani for our final week in Zanzibar, and rented a place directly on the water. I mean, walk out the door and get your feet wet type of close. I collected some sea urchins for a rare treat, bought fish directly from the fishermen as they brought their boats to shore and sat around doing pretty much all of nothing, other than cooking a delicious meal here and there and sometimes walking through the shallow water to sit along the lonely sandbar in the distance.
I don’t often book anything ahead of time, but with most accommodation in Moshi being less than impressive, I decided to go ahead and pre-book, instead of being forced to stay at some mediocre place. Remember, I was stuck on making sure the rest of Tanzania went well, so a few rules went out the window. Our long bus journey was approaching and I was dreading sitting on another bus for 10 or 11 or who knows how many hours and delays. But I convinced myself that this time would be different, because a positive attitude, attracts positive things.
Or…. not quite!! To our surprise we woke up at 4:30 am with no running water so left unwashed for our 9 hour bus ride turned into 11 – because as i’m sure I’ve stated before, nothing is ever on time no matter how very positive you try to be. We were slightly accosted as we stepped off the bus (such is quite normal and pretty much expected in these neck of the woods) but for some reason my childish reaction was to grab my bag and just keep walking. Almost as though to say, if all you grown men want to confront me so aggressively, well then no one gets any cake and I’ll just walk by myself! I’m sure I taught them a lesson by walking uphill for 4km with a 20kg bag on my back. Surely none of them just looked at me thinking silly tourist and just getting the business from the other oodles of tourists… right?
Fortunately my accommodation was not hard to find and I eventually managed to get a shower and a bite to eat. I woke up before the sunrise completely forgetting that Mount Kilimanjaro was but a few kilometers away and headed off for my jog. The dirt roads were hard to see and the light from my phone barely bright enough to illuminate my path but the skies reluctantly gave in, as the moon shied away. I headed up a paved road (finally), the houses cleared and there she was. Her grandness clear as day, her mighty snow capped summit appeared for all to worship. My whole being hypnotize by her elegance I forgot to run and found myself paralyzed in the middle of the road while looking up at her.
I returned and directly made my way to the second floor balcony eagerly in need of visual satisfaction from her grandness. I sipped on my coffee unable to turn away from her and then in dawned on me. “some minor day treks around the base” had I lost my mind? I had to make it to the Summit. I couldn’t possibly be this close and not attempt the summit.
TRAVEL NOTES: I really enjoyed Moshi and highly recommend future travelers to stay in Moshi when visiting Mount Kilimanjaro.
I stayed at Secret Gardens B&B a very well priced, clean place to stay with a manager that has a can-do attitude. Breakfast when I stayed was delicious and included with your room. They can be booked on bookings.com and Airbnb