Nestled in the foothills of the mighty Mt. Kilimanjaro lies the laid-back town of Moshi. No matter where you wander around the town, you will be greeted by a friendly “Jambo” (hello) by the locals as they go about their day-to-day business. Look up on a clear day, and you’ll also see the mountain dominating the town’s skyline.
Although 55,000 visitors come here annually to climb the famous Mt Kilimanjaro, this vibrant town has remained largely unaffected and has managed to keep its charm. And while the mountain might be the main attraction in Moshi, it is also the gateway to so many other fascinating places that will give you a true taste of Northern Tanzania.
Here is why we think you should spend at least a few days seeing what Moshi has to offer…
Some interesting facts about Moshi…
• The word Moshi means “smoke” in Swahili, the national language of Tanzania. This is because the clouds that are often covering the mountain resemble smoke
• Moshi has a permanent population of approximately 170,000 inhabitants, mostly from the Chagga Tribe. This number fluctuates daily, as people flock to town from the surrounding area to do business in the markets
• Moshi has regularly won the title for being one of the greenest and cleanest cities in Tanzania
• Moshi is one of Tanzania’s major coffee-growing regions
• The town itself is located at an altitude of 890m above sea level. While Mt. Kilimanjaro stands at an impressive 5,895m above sea level, making it the highest mountain in Africa
Fun things to do in and around Moshi
Take a day trip to Lake Chala – Located on the border of Tanzania and Kenya, Lake Chala is a peaceful location and a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Believed to be the caldera of a volcano which erupted over three million years ago, all that remains now is a beautiful blue lake surrounded by forests that are home to abundance of different monkeys and birdlife.
Enjoy a day hike on Mount Kilimanjaro – The main attraction in Tanzania, a climb to the “Roof of Africa” is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. However, if you don’t have the time to make it to the top, there is also the option to take a day trip and explore the equatorial rainforests at the base of the mountain.
Take a dip in the Kikuletwa Hot Springs – Located just a stone’s throw away from Moshi lies Kikuletwa Hot Springs – a beautiful natural oasis hiding away among twisting fig trees in the middle of a dusty landscape. This hidden gem is a lovely spot to unwind and relax after a safari or trek.
Make coffee with the locals – All around the town and on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro you will find vast coffee and banana plantations. Therefore there is no better place to visit a plantation and learn the local’s way of brewing coffee from scratch!
Relax by the pool with a beer – There are a number of fantastic hotels and lodges located around the town, which are perfect for those hot days where all you want to do is take a dip in a swimming pool! Some of our favourites have to be Honey Badger, Mountain Inn, Kili Wonders Hotel and Ameg Lodge.
Visit the Old Railway Station – Probably Moshi’s biggest hidden gem, the abandoned railway station is well worth a visit. Not only can you get great views of Mt Kili on a clear day, it’s a great place to while away a few hours and people-watch as most of the locals still walk along the tracks as part of their daily commute.
Explore the local markets – If you want to go bargain-hunting or simply want to see the authentic side of local Tanzanian shopping, exploring the local markets is a great activity to do. Be sure to bargain well!
Hike to Materuni Waterfalls – Located in the picturesque foothills of Kilimanjaro, Materuni village is blessed with rugged charm and lush green forest, making it a wonderful place to enjoy some hiking. At the end of your trek you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Moshi’s tallest waterfall, where you can even take a dip (if you can brave the cold waters!).