So I never got the chance to pen down my African adventures from my trip back in January. I was going through my photos and realized I had to show you how beautiful Tanzania is. Whether you are going on a budget trip, safari or a schmooze in the lap of luxury. Tanzania has it all.
Having successfully summited Mt. Kilimanjaro on New Year’s day, some friends and I decided to extend our stay and hop around the country for an extra week. We visited Arusha, Dar Essalam and Zanzibar, needless to say, we abused the hell out of these 7 days and you know what, it still wasn’t enough!
Our post climb vacay started off with a 2 day Safari at Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater, two of Tanzania’s most green national parks. The Ngorongoro cater was one of my highlights in terms of scenery, conservation and acres and acres of lush greenery that is home to the wildlife likes of Mufasa, Rafiki, Timon, and the whole crew. Except this time, they are not animated!
The vast acres of the park meant we had to make our own arrangements for lunch. Since we’re always on the go, Mr. Ashley, our lovely guide had a makeshift picnic set up in no time with prepacked lunchboxes. The weather was beyond beautiful and views looking down from above the crater was simply stunning.
What better to enjoy a safari than sleep in a tented lodge? This experience is a must try if you don’t mind hearing mosquitos and unnamable flies buzzing all night like a choir on full blast. I can’t describe the feeling, it may not sound like your cup of tea, but something about that symphony made me appreciate the greatness of nature in a strange and beautiful way. Somehow, half way through the night they stopped. When we asked recpetion in the morning, they said it is standard procedure to spray the area to maintain a noise free environment for guests.
We stayed at the Kirurumu Lodge which which was basic but beautiful. Some of the staff are real Masai people. It was very refreshing for me to the Masai make their way into corporate world. Especially when many spoke good english, it gave us an opportunity to know more about their lifestyle. Our butler was a sweet man called Kaya who never stopped smiling. Unlike most Masaai’s we’ve encountered on the road, he graciously let us take pictures of him and his killer outfits.
What fascinated me the most about Masaai attire are the shoes. They make them out of car or motor cycle tyres! I am told this is because of their durability on rocky or muddy terrains. They are easy to wear and last long. Very long. Ofcourse, if your shoes are made from new tyres, they cost more then recycled ones. It cant get much craftier than this? I’m officially coveting one for myself now.
At Ngorongoro crater, we had a chance to visit a Masaai village. Only this time, we got ripped off into paying a $100 dollars by the leader so he could give us a tour of the village, schools , home huts and market area where all crafts and accessories were hand made by them. We only realised later on that this was a model village staged for “tourists” to experience. Had I known, I wouldn’t have fallen for the trap. That said, the Masai do this to revive their sources of income and showing their cultures to the curious.
We headed back to Arusha for a quick goodbye with some of our crew before flying off to Zanzibar. Arusha is a beautiful city always buzzing with people, street vendors grilling corn and frying fish, teenagers running around on scooters. It feels like one big hood that’s easy to get lost in without a local guide.
The people of Arusha are nice if you introduce yourself to them and get to know them. Otherwise, you can find yourself getting into awkward situations where you will either pay more than what you have to, or even get yelled at for taking pictures without donating atleast a dollar! Life is tough and the locals will try to squeeze opportunities to earn a buck. That said, they are not to blame.
I noticed that most restaurants filled up with male customers during lunch time. That still didn’t stop us ladies from tasting local cuisine. I documented some of this on my instagram, but here are a few snaps from Arusha City life. I’m keeping Zanzibar for a whole other post.