Swahili recap: Mzungu means ‘white person.’ People aren’t really concerned about being politically correct here. We get ‘wazungu’ (multiple white people) yelled at us all the time here, in a friendly manner (I think).
We spent our first 3 nights in Moshi at a place called ‘More than a Drop.’ It was a very nice compound that consisted of a hotel and a hospitality school. The school is teaching the young ladies everything about running a hotel and restaurant, and they get to practice on site!
After 3 nights, we transferred to Rafiki Backpackers hostel around the corner so we could do some cooking for ourselves. They also provided free eggs for breakfast and they do our laundry for free. A backpackers dream!
During the days, we walked into town to visit multiple tour operators that Jeff had researched to get quotes for trekking Kilimanjaro and doing a safari. Along the way we got plenty of advice and most importantly, restaurant recommendations! We finally decided to book a climb and safari with the Kessy Brothers. Thanks to everyone who gave us guide company recommendations- we had a great selection to choose from! Jeff used his master negotiating skills and got our trips under our budget- and they threw in a free day trip to experience local culture.
We took our day trip 2 days before we left to climb Kili so we could visit a town that was at a higher elevation and acclimatize a little bit. Kessy Brothers picked us up at the hostel around 8 am and we drove 1 hour to the town of Marangu. Marangu is at the base of Kili and was more lush and green than Moshi town. First we met Edward at the Marangu village museum. He showed us how the Chaga people used to live. The Chaga are native to the Moshi area,
After the museum, we hiked to Ndoro Falls. Beautiful!
We then headed to check out some Chaga caves and tunnels that were 3 centuries old. They were dug out for village defense and as a hiding space against the invading Massai tribes. After the caves we had lunch with our guide and driver, then headed to a local coffee plantation and made our own cup of coffee. This was so much fun that it gets its own blogpost- stay tuned.
From the Chaga caves:
Our final stop in Marangu was one of the gates to Kilimanjaro National Park! We were getting excited to climb the mountain!
Before dropping us back at the hostel, we asked to go to the bank so we could make our final payment on the climb and safari. We now know what it feels like to cart around a bag full of cash:
High rollers with 2 million shillings…. For a few minutes at least...