Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Let me start with this- I have never considered climbing a mountain in my life. So my tips are mostly for- other than climbing activities- that you can experience around the Kilimanjaro. That being said, I do want to share some important tips about climbing the mountain, and especially on how to choose a company for the trip. You will find my tips at the end of this post.
My time on the Kilimanjaro came to be simply because I was looking for a quiet place outside of Moshi (a town at the foot of the mountain). I found the guesthouse online, took a chance and arrived in the village of Shimbwe…
From the guesthouse terrace, mornings and afternoons I enjoyed the wonderful view of the snowy top of the Kilimanjaro mountain. At sunset fire-reds paint mount Meru in the distance.
What did I do in Shimbwe village?
Day trip to Materuni Fall– the same famous waterfall that is usually reached from the village of Materuni. From the Shimbwe side the area is more quiet and not very touristy. It turns out that the waterfall is called Mnambe waterfall but the people of Materuni branded it successfully … You can walk from the guesthouse, about a two hours walk up to the waterfalls, or either rent a car up to the vicinity of the waterfall and from there walk a route of about 45 minutes.
Dr. Coffee– John Tesha dreamed one day while resting under a banana tree at his farm that he was meant to tell people the story of the Kilimanjaro coffee. Since then he’s doing just that, with great passion and talent. With Dr. Coffee you will experience and participate in all stages of traditional coffee preparation and then drink your own self-prepared cup of coffee. The preparations are accompanied by the coffee choir – John’s daughters, neighbors, village kids- singing and dancing along! Read the whole happy story here.
I learned weaving with banana fibers– the traditional weaving of the chagga tribe for all everyday needs. Mats, baskets, bowls, and more … My teacher was Digna, the owner of the local bar who is also a traditional healer. I just asked Victor, the guesthouse manager and a guide, who in the village could teach me. And so another interesting activity was discovered that I’m happy to share with you. Read about the traditional Chagga weaving here.
I visited the Digna’s bar– a happy place with happy people and Mbege- the traditional banana bear. Great local music, once in a while people get up and dance. Not for appearances, just because it makes them feel good.
I was at the campsite– higher on the mountain on the edge of the Kilimanjaro national park and right at the end of the village – crazy sunrises and sunsets, nights by the fire, next to the neighbors’ farm who were happy to help with everything I needed.
I visited the banana farm of one of the village elders who is considered an expert and heard a lot about all the uses for each part of the tree, on the many types of banana trees, on the way the banana tree gives birth to baby trees around it, and much more.
Travelling off the beaten path
This is an opportunity for me to show you how your trip really does not have to go from one “must go” place to the next. Almost no one knows the amazing Shimbwe village, and it’s full of fascinating activities. I came because I wanted a little peace and quiet and found lots of treasures in one small village. Get going and find your own hidden treasures…
Important tips for climbing Kilimanjaro
As I mentioned before, I don’t climb. I’m forwarding these tips from guides and climbers I’ve met during my time around Moshi. You’re welcome…
Do not take the lowest offer- choose the company with the best reviews.
companies that offer the lowest prices will usually pay the guides poorly, and don’t pay the porters at all! Assuming your tip will cover their fee.
Know that you will most likely be settling on the quality of gear, food, and on your own safety.
If you want to reach the top- aim for the best team on your side
It’s not smart to save 100-200$ but also not reach the top. Again on the same point- make sure you are setting off with experienced guides, that carry oxygen in case you’ll need it, that can guide you with any problem, that will do everything they can to optimize your climb and make sure you reach the top and watch that sun rise…
Choose the best suitable root and number of days for your climb.
Providing you chose your guide wisely, trust his/her advise, they have years and years of experience with many different climbers.