Today we explore the town of Moshi, located at the base of Kilimanjaro. We stayed last night in the Springlands Hotel, which is owned by Zara Tours, the company we are doing our climb with. The rooms are basic and the walls are thin, but the grounds are beautiful and they have pretty much everything we could ever need here.
Due to some lingering jet lag, we sleep in late and wake up to realize we’ve almost missed breakfast! We throw on some clothes and run down to the dining area, but all is well. There are still several people there, and plenty of food, too! They have eggs any way you’d like them, breads, meats and fruit, plus the always necessary coffee and tea.
After breakfast, we take the shuttle provided by the hotel into town. Normally this costs $1 per person each way, but we were asked to change rooms earlier this morning, so they gave us a ride in for free.
When we get there, we hire a guide to show us around town. His name is Stephen and he normally guides trips up Kilimanjaro, but today is his off day, so he shows us around his town. First he takes us to the local market, which is open every day, all day.
It’s so full of color and buzzing with activity. People call out trying to engage you in an effort to get you to buy something.
You can smell the fish and other foods cooking and buy literally anything you could ever need.
Stephen takes us through the winding and narrow walkways, explaining what the different foods are and how they are used. They have three different kinds of bananas; one for eating plain, one for making into stews, and one for brewing beer. We even get to try some of the banana beer. Personally, I thought it could use some hops, but it’s very popular with the locals.
The people here are oddly divided about having their photos taken. Some of the women quickly cover up as soon as you bring your camera to your face, and others call out to you to come take their picture. Here’s a few photographs of the people we talked to.
After the market, Stephen takes us to a local restaurant where we order some tropical juice and have a rest in the shade. There, Amy quizzes him on local schools (she’s a school teacher and has a keen interest) and if there is any way we can visit one. Since it’s Saturday, the schools are unfortunately closed, but we stop by a shop to buy school supplies and are able to give them to a nearby orphanage.
As we head to lunch, we finally see some views of Mt Kilimanjaro!! It’s absolutely incredible, and I can’t believe that in just a week, we’ll (hopefully, fingers crossed, Inshallah) be standing at the top!
Finally it’s time to return to the hotel to meet with our guide for our climb. His name is Innocent, which I find delightful, and he’s just returned from a climb today. He explains to us where we need to be, at what time, and what we should bring with us. Tomorrow, the journey begins!