Arusha was going to be our final destination in Tanzania. The landscape got hillier and greener once again – it was amazing to think about where we had started and all the different landscapes we had seen until now. After thundering waterfalls, we experienced dry landscapes scattered with all kinds of trees, wild animals at a beautiful national park, an incredibly large lake, a valley filled with baobab trees, white sands and blue waters, and now we were here.
We stopped in a town called Moshi on our way from Bagamoyo to Arusha. Moshi is the town that is closest to Kilimanjaro and we were lucky enough for the clouds to clear up so that we could just about make out the snow-capped mountain. Most of the time, the mountains will be hiding behind the clouds, so we got there at exactly the right time. I still can’t believe I actually saw Kilimanjaro.
We then kept driving until we had made it to the campsite in Arusha. Most people that go on this Nomad Tour from Vic Falls to Nairobi will include the additional three-day Serengeti excursion (R12.700 or $800 at the time). Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford to do that. I had chatted with some people from Nomad before I booked the trip, explaining my situation and asking them if they could tell me what other options I had. I mentioned I would really enjoy doing a day trip to Kilimanjaro and the surroundings and they told me I’d be able to book day trips while in Arusha.
So on our first day, we were still pretty motivated and went into town along with our guides who were getting the tour truck fixed. We bought food because none of the meals were provided during those three to four days. The grocery store in Arusha itself is not too well equipped, but I guess we were lucky that there were markets with all kinds of fresh produce and I even got to buy my favourite – jackfruit.
The markets themselves were actually really cool. We seemed to have been the only tourists that got lost there but we never felt like we had to be worried about that. People were very friendly or didn’t care about us being there at all, which is exactly what I like.
just look at those watermelons and pineapples…
After having taken care of our food situation, we decided to go see a travel agent as recommended by our tour guide and discuss potential day trips. Any of the trips the lady recommended were around $200-$300pp, which would have been roughly half of the three-day excursion to Serengeti…
We then almost got enticed by a fake travel guide who tried to convince us to join him on an independently guided tour that was unbelievably cheap compared to all the other tours. Although it sounded like we could get to see exactly what we wanted to see, we tried to remain reasonable and decided against it.
Disappointed by a lot of things that happened to us that day, we took the dalla dalla back to our campsite. That was definitely worth the experience, and again, a bit of basic Swahili could have really helped us out at that point. We got to the station and were overwhelmed by the amount of dalla dallas there were and, of course, none of them actually seemed to say where they were going. After having asked around for help, we got put onto the right one and were on the road in almost no time and were kicked out again at exactly the spot where we needed to be.
Unfortunately, our camping was quite far outside town. This means it was almost impossible for us to get there without knowing basic Swahili and having no idea about dalla dalla or general road rules.
We were stuck there for the rest of the time, but thankfully there was a bar serving Serengeti beer and we just decided to drown our sorrows instead (not actually though). The wifi there was really bad as well and there was literally nothing to do but eat, drink, read and chill.
I know that I am probably making this sound a whole lot worse than it actually was. But I think we were just disappointed and felt like we were wasting our time mostly. We were on our final big trip after our studying abroad experience in South Africa and were excited to make the most of our last couple of days of this amazing trip, instead of hanging out at a deserted campsite drinking beer and not doing much all day.
Until today, we are imagining what we could have done differently towards the end… We decided that staying in Zanzibar would probably have been the best idea!
This is again the summary of our trip. We left from Vic Falls in Zimbabwe and have now made it up all the way to Arusha in Tanzania, close to the Kenyan border.
Our final destination and official end of the trip: Nairobi!
check out the beginning of the trip here