This beautiful town of 150,000 people lies on foothills of the ominous Mt. Kilimanjaro. The mountain, often draped in a sheet of clouds, is known as the “Rooftop of Africa”. An appropriate title as it is the tallest mountain on the continent, the tallest free-standing mountain in the world and sits at a daunting 19,340 feet (5895m). I start by mentioning the mountain because it is the main attraction for visitors to Moshi. Most tourists that come to explore the northern circuit of national parks choose to stay in near-by Arusha. I am not much for large cities, mostly because I don’t enjoy large crowds and the other details that follow a crowd, the endless car horns, the traffic, the trash, the stench – but if you have never experienced a big city in Africa, then you have something coming. The already overwhelming population is increased exponentially, the stench, the traffic, the trash, the horns, everything you’d expect from a city back home, except…every detail is different.
Now, most of this description doesn’t do justice to Tanzania. Appealing in an entirely different way, spending time in capital cities in West Africa and the Horn leave a more “Mad Max impression”, with the rivers of trash on the side of the road, most windows blown out of big buildings downtown, the crowds of shifty eyed youth searching for an opportunity like the hyenas of the bush. No, Tanzania defies the stereotypical impressions of Africa. Even the large business capital of Dar es Salaam leaves you with a sense of security, welcoming and alluring exotic foreign cultures. Once you have visited the big city and are ready for a small-town adventure and your true outdoor African adventure, Moshi is the place. Moshi is known as the cleanest town in East Africa and is home to a variety of tribes. “The people of the Mountain”, the Chagga people, are a Bantu-speaking people, a patrilineal society closely related to the Pare and Taveta peoples. Bananas (ndizi) are a staple food, along with beans and maize. But the crop the people of this region are most widely recognized for is Arabica coffee beans. The seeds of which were brought by Catholic missionaries at the end of the 19th century. In the 1920’s Sir Charles Dundas founded the Kilimanjaro Native Cooperative Union to allow Chagga coffee growers to compete equally in a European market – The KNCU developed into the most efficient and progressive cooperative organization in Africa.
The town has a wonderful climate rarely dropping below 60 degrees (15c) even in the coldest part of the year. The hottest time of the year is December, January and February with temperatures as high as 91 degrees (33c). This semi-tropical climate is thanks to the presence of Mt. Kilimanjaro, regulating the temperatures for the area. Accompanying the beautiful climate, the small-town atmosphere and welcoming inhabitants of the town will give you a relaxing few days before or after your Safari experience or mountain Trek, making Moshi Tanzania, the place to be.