Tanzania, an East African Country famous for rich wildlife, white sand beaches, beautiful Islands and multicultural ethnicity has a lot more to offer. With no specific plan in mind and no reason to spend a vacation in Africa other than “ The Great Migration” and the beautiful beaches of Zanzibar, it was supposed to be exciting. For me, it was more like a surprise when people used to ask why Africa instead of all the beautiful continents and back then I had no convincing answer. But now, I have a convincing answer and I am sure this article will make you look forward towards this destination. Tanzania is a relatively small country with 55 million people driven mainly by Agriculture and Tourism. If you are earning in Euros or Dollars then you can live a king size life. It is famous among the tourists for an adventurous climb to Mt. Kilimanjaro, game drives exploring the wildlife in biggest national parks on Earth or a relaxed vacation on the tropical Islands of Zanzibar also famous for the marine bounty.
Dar Es Salaam
We were six friends on our absolutely unexpected expedition in Tanzania and Dar es Salaam was the convenient option to gather at a place. Also, this place is a metropolitan city and the former capital city and one could easily spend 2-3 days experiencing the first glimpse of Africa. It is surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches, multi-cuisine restaurants, local markets and much more. One thing not to miss if you are a seafood lover and can bear that typical fish smell in the Dar fish market. The best time to visit this fish market is early in the morning at around 7 am – 8 am, when usually the fishermen are out from the waters to sell their fresh catch. You can also buy fish of your choice at a very good price if you are good at bargaining.
Out of India, the best Indian food I had till date would be in Indian restaurants in Dar es Salaam; 56 Bhog, Mambooz Sigrill, to mention a few. For an amazing top view of Dar es Salaam one can also head on to High Spirit Lounge. Mbezi beach, 10km from Dar es Salaam is an amazing location to have a beachside beer.
We hired an uber taxi but ended up on the wrong beach which was exactly the opposite of what we were expecting. But after an hour-long beach walk, we ended up at Mbezi beach which had typical African shacks. Quenching the thirst with Serengeti and Kilimanjaro beers with the beautiful view of the sunset, couldn’t have asked for a better end to the day. Just be sure to make use of Uber taxi services, which is very convenient and are available at a very good price. If you want to just spend time strolling in Dar Es Salaam then you must definitely visit the local Kariakoo market, which shows the authentic Tanzanian style shopping.
After getting accustomed to Africa it was time for the African attraction of Wildlife, most importantly the Serengeti. There are numerous companies offering wildlife Safaris. But I was lucky enough to travel with “Hekima Safaris”. This is one of the tour agency who would make you feel at home away from home. I had never seen a tour agency owner accompanying the troop on the safari just because he liked it. Everyday of the wildlife Safari was miraculous and unexpected because of our safari guide Juma. We could experience the actual life in Savannah right from watching the cheetah sitting in the grass 10m away from you, leopard coming down to hunt ghazel, humongous hippo parks, big fives etc. and the migration of wildebeests he made it sure that we get what we paid for. I have a lot to talk about the Safari which I will cover in another blog.
After the Safari we were back to Arusha at the base camp and from there the next plan was to head for Moshi, the base of Kilimanjaro. But the guys at Hekima Safari were so nice to us that we ended up staying at the base camp for two more nights. On the way to Kilimanjaro, we made a stop at Kikuletwa hot water springs. We had hired a taxi to drop us to Moshi via Kikuletwa and there was this funny (not really) taxi driver. He was taking us to some hot water springs. But when we asked him, are we going to Kikuletwa? (probably it has some other name) he would answer “ No Kikuletwa…pause…hotspring!!” And after asking the same question differently and getting the same answer we couldn’t control laughing. That was one of the funniest moment. Also, with him, there was one other guy in the taxi and till date, we don’t know who that guy was and why was he coming with us to Moshi, he never spoke a word. But as soon as we reached the spot we never really cared if it was Kikuletwa or not because it was just breathtaking with blue waters. From there we even had a first glimpse of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The town Moshi also has its own multicultural identity and authenticity. It is famous for its coffee farms and hence there is a good chance that coffee lovers are able to find amazing coffee shops.
Dar es Salaam:
Stay: Hunch Backpackers hostel, good hostel with swimming pool and a terrace to chill at an affordable price.
Restaurents: 56 Bhog (Indian Veg Restaurent), Mamboz Sigrill
Stay: Climbers Corner Hostel, again very affordable hostel with a good location. It is famous among the Kilimanjaro climbers. You would definitely find some company for your adventure there.
Arusha: Base for starting the Wildlife Safari. Although there are many companies operating through Moshi as well. I strongly reccomend Hekima Safaris for your wildlife adventure.
The next destination of our African trip was Zanzibar. That I will cover in the next article.
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