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  • Day9

    Mtae to Moshi

    August 15, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    After waking up at 6am to watch the sun rise - me from bed and Jack from a cold bench outside, we wanted to make our way to Moshi to get a glimpse of mount Kilimanjaro.
    Jack and I carried our bags from Lushoto to Mtae, hoping to continue on to Moshi without having to backtrack. Yet everyone we spoke to along the way has told us the only road that will take you to the "highway" for Moshi is back through Lushoto. Jack would not have it. She was determined not to go back over our steps. So we took a walk, basically more hiking, to the "downtown" of Mtae. It was one street with a mosque and bus ticket office which was closed. The walk though was beautiful - going along the mountain top ridge, gorgeous views from both sides.
    Of course, Boda Boda drivers were quick to tell us there would be no bus today (we knew otherwise), and so they tried to sell us a motorcycle ride back to Lushoto. So we took the opportunity to bargain for Mnazi, a town were we hoped to get a bus to Mkomazi where we could then get a bus on the main road to Moshi. This may sound like many steps, but it's pretty normal for Africa. You basically get on any bus until you're done going that direction, get off, walk to the next direction and grab the next bus.

    We got on the Boda Boda for 15,000TZS (6.50$USD) total - both Jack and I with both our bags on one motorcycle. Again - so thankful for a small bag! To say it was a steep downhill is an understatement. It was what once was likely a much better road, gravel bumpy and twisty road with at times what seemed like worse then 45 degree descents. I started out nevous, and ended terrified, but we made it! There were so many turns that could have gone so much worse. 12 kms took an hour and a half. This is one of those experiences that once its done, you can think back and say "that was really cool", but I likely would have chosen a safer route had I had a better idea of what to expect. But gorgeous views all along the way, friendly driver, and the town we were dropped in was one of my favorites in all of east Africa! Mnazi clearly is not often visited by us Muzungus. It has one main road. A few shops. A few local eateries. Not too many people, all of which were staring at us, kids yelling "muzungu!" in an authentic surprise to see us. We sat down and had a drink at the shop who's only advertisement was "cold drinks". The older gentleman had some limited English, and we chatted while 5-6 kids gathered around to play my fish game on my phone.

    We walked around town, not much to do, no traffic at all, so we decided to make our way to the Y junction just outside of it to see if traffic would be bypassing the town. After sitting down and reading our books at an intersection were not a single vehicle passed, we understood that if we wanted to get to Moshi today, we'd have to buy private transport. Boda Boda it is!

    We walked over to the man with a motorcycle, assumed he was for hire (which he was) and bargained for Mkomazi. Again, 15,000TZS for an other hour and a half ride! That's 3 hours in one day on a dusty motorcycle, holding our backpacks, with whoever was in the back's bum banging against the metal bars normally used to tie cargo. This time though, no hill, just a decent conditioned dirt road. Once at the main road, it took no more then 10 minutes for a big bus to pass, and a nice man from the town waved it down for us. At this point, we were running very low on cash, having paid for our hike cash and now our 2 transports. We actually had to negotiate the big bus price since we had nothing left on us. All worked out great, and once in Moshi, after a long and dusty day, we checked out a few places and settled on a dorm of 4 beds for 6$USD each per night, which we of course negotiated to 25,000TZS just to have a round number. A warm shower well deserved!
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