Moshi is a small but busy city located in the Northeastern part of Tanzania. You almost forget to look up and notice Mount Kilimanjaro in the background, which gives the city such a a magical vibe. Great place start your trip to Tanzania or serve as a base before making the trek up the mountain.
CURRENCY: Tanzanian Shilling
CLIMATE: Tropical (wet & dry), Oct – March: 30 Celsius, May – August: 25-26 Celsius; Dry season: July – Sept
DRESS CODE: Town: Casual but conservative, longer shorts or pants
GETTING AROUND: Bus, local taxi, boda-bodas (motorbikes)
TIPPING: Tipping is usually 5% in restaurants, tipping taxi drivers is not expected; for climbing or safaris, about $10-20 per day total
SAFETY: Generally safe during the day, Would advise to avoid going out at night, streets are pretty empty and not very well lit
FROM KILIMANJARO AIRPORT (JRO)
Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) connects Arusha to Moshi and is about a 45 minute drive away from Moshi city center.
SHUTTLE: Some airlines/hotels offer shuttles to Moshi town for free or a set rate. Check with your airline and local accomodation for options.
TAXI: A local taxi will cost you around $50 USD
Buses arrive in Moshi from most major cities in Tanzania. The main bus terminal is located in a pretty central area and is walking distance to most places you would like to go. There are a few smaller bus terminals as well, therefore the best thing to do is to check your dropoff point and map out the route to your hotel/hostel beforehand.
FROM DAR ES SALAAM – Dar Express and Kilimanjaro Express bus lines run between Dar es Salaam and Moshi and cost around 33,000 TSH ($14.35 USD). The trip takes about 10 hours. There are also buses running from Arusha, Mwanza, Tanga, Mbeya, Dodoma, and Nairobi. Tickets can be bought directly from the bus operators at the bus station in each city. Be prepared for chaos at the station and be prepared to bargain and you will do just fine.
WHERE TO STAY
Good hostel with a balcony overlooking Moshi city streets, restaurant on site. Although in a busy area, a little hard to find. Make sure to get directions from hostel prior to arriving or write down phone number (and ask your driver to call for you)
WHAT TO DO
CLIMB MOUNT KILIMANJARO
At 5,895 meters, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. There are multiple routes through various tour operators lasting anywhere from 5 to 10 days.
OLD MOSHI RAILWAY STATION
Built in 1911, the Old Railway Station was part of the first railway to be built in German East Africa, now known as Tanzania. No longer operating, many locals walk along these tracks as part of their daily commute. Come here during sunset to people watch or during a clear day for a great view of Mount Kilimanjaro.
KILIMANJARO COFFEE LOUNGE: A sanctuary hidden away from the busy streets. A great place to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee.
UNION CAFE: A cute cafe with an outdoor patio in back, great coffee and desserts as well.
MILAN’S RESTAURANT: Cheap Indian food, very tasty. Good for takeaway as well!
INDOITALIANO: I didn’t eat here but this place is highly rated on Trip Advisor and was on my go-to list had I had more time!
MATERUNI WATERFALLS: Tours pickup from Moshi in the morning and head straight to Materuni Village, located in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. You will then explore the lives of the Chagga people with a coffee tour to see how locals grow and brew coffee. Finally, you will head to the waterfalls to spend the rest of your afternoon.
MAASAI VILLAGE DAY TRIP: Alpha will take you to his home village to learn about Maasai culture, experience life in the day of a Maasai, and understand the history surrounding the Maasai culture today.
MARANGU WATERFALLS: Located directly in Mount Kilimanjaro Park, these waterfalls come directly from a glacier on the top of the mountain! Hike directly to the waterfall and spend the day swimming or taking in the lush green scenery around you.
LAKE CHALA: Lake Chala is located on the border of Tanzania and Kenya and the perfect place to get back in touch with nature. Spend the day here relaxing, swimming, kayaking, or simply animal watching.
MOSHI CITY TOUR: A great way to see all that Moshi has to offer!
KIKULETWA HOT SPRINGS: About an hour away from Moshi town, come and unwind in this crystal clear blue and turquoise water.
While in Moshi, we met a really cool guy by the name of Alpha (pictured below) who we spent the evening with and have stayed in touch since. He runs his own touring company, which I highly recommend and have linked to the trips above. Click here for more information on the tour packages he offers or to contact Alpha directly. You will also find many other tour operators when you arrive in the area as well if you would like to compare packages and pricing.