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A Cultural Visit On Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

This Village on Mount Kilimanjaro is not for tourists. This is for your hardened traveler. Someone who wants to see a place untouched by commercialization; unspoiled and clean; a place that has magic and something to share. Tourist by definition tend to rush from one place to the next not really experiencing anything; not seeing anything. One destination blurring into the next; everything beginning to look the same, yesterday the same as today which will be the same as tomorrow.

This village in Northern Tanzania it is a place where you have to walk to experience the life of the community. No safari vehicles here.

Only half an hour from Moshi Town in northern Tanzania is this special place where coffee and bananas are grown to sustain life. People here are poor and life is hard. We as visitors can never appreciate how hard that life can be.

The best way to reach this place by local bus from the centre of Moshi Town. As you wind your way up this rather unfashionable side of Mount Kilimanjaro, the bus shuddering every inch of the way; ever upward; you will notice how green and fertile the surroundings have become. Anything will grow here on this fertile land. It rains often on the mountain and the green of the scenery is a sharp contrast to the dusty browns left behind in Moshi Town.

When the bus finally gives up the journey begins with a 15 to 20 minute walk ever upwards. There are some spectacular views to be glimpsed through the trees of Moshi Town far far bellow. It is cooler up here and so very quiet. I love to visit this place where there are no tourists at all.

Everyone is so friendly and you really feel you are experiencing something special; something that not many tourists get to see. There are still some large traditional houses here, made from dried banana leaves no windows, one door only and a chimney up through the centre of the roof.

It is hard to take it all in; African mountains are just so very special. Be careful to look where you walk and where you stand as the lines of large ants cross the paths and should you inadvertently stand on one of these lines - the ants [large ants] will climb up your legs and begin to chew.

This village is an ideal place to spend a day with a local family and even sleep for the night. This is a cultural tour, a real cultural experience, not the pseudo-cultural tour offered by many tour operators. If you have the time add a week or two [or longer] onto your safari and spend time working in the local clinic a new addition to the village - or at the local primary school. To do this you are giving something to the village they will learn from you; as you will learn from them. You will learn a lot about yourself as you spend time in this chagga culture high above the bustling town bellow.

If you want to see and experience African Culture then this village is an ideal place. Set on Kilimanjaro and close to the tourist area; yet set apart and untouched as yet from the throng of commercialization.

Submitted by:

Ian Williamson

Bethel Adventures is a non-profit making charity who work in the communities of Northern Tanzania. http://www.betheladventure.co.uk we use tourism to change lives. A photograph of a house made from banana leaves in Uru village is on our website




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