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Top 6 things to do during your stay at Salinero Hotels, Moshi

If you missed my post on how I traveled by bus from Nairobi to Moshi worry not, you can read it here.  After my arrival at the Salinero Millie Lodge, Machame, the next item on the list was to immerse myself in the fun things to do during my stay. To my surprise, the hotel had already planned all these activities out.

Here is a list of the places to see and the things to do.

1. Take a day hike inside the tropical rain-forest of Mt.Kilimanjaro National Park.

During my visit, the peak season of mountain climbing was almost coming to an end and groups of hikers were at the park for the six-seven days affair. The park was a bee hive of activities. Porters, tour operators, hikers, day hikers… The hike is about eleven kilometers to the first camp. The same route used to go up is still the same one used to come down.

Registration at the gate.
Starting point of the hike.
Dozens of hikers that make approximately 50,000 annual visitors who attempt to summit Kilimanjaro.
They make you think summiting is easy.
Well…now you know.
Mad respect to porters. They are the real winners in any expedition.

Salinero also offers packed lunch for its clients(On full board basis). So hunger should not stress you one bit!

Ze lunch box 🙂

2. Visiting Bonde la Huruma to understand the history of the Chagga people better

The hotel can organize a trip to one of the most interesting places within Machame;Bonde la huruma, which is a 180m deep valley that has a waterfall, geometric volcanic steep cliffs and caves. The curator at Bonde la huruma; mzee Dickson ,is deeply knowledgeable about the history of the Chagga people.

History has it (From mzee Dickson) that the caves at the bonde la uhuruma have an interesting story that dates back to the colonial era when Germans colonized Tanzania. The Chagga people of Machame used to hide their chiefs, wives and children in the caves as they went to fight. After the colonial era the war shifted to the Maasai and the Chagga. Across the river, there was yet another cave. This was used as a ‘cell’ to instill discipline to the villagers who went astray. For example, in the event that someone was caught cheating on their spouse, they were put inside the cave and given only a banana that was meant to last them for seven days. The cave was heavily secured with the village army. If the perpetrator survived the seven days, they are integrated back into the society. If not, they were thrown into the river, wrapped in banana leaves! Interesting huh…..

Mzee Dickson driving the point home.
Bonde la Huruma waterfall.
To the caves.
Inside the caves.
The river across which the ‘cells’ are.

3. Take a coffee tour

This by far was the most interesting part of my trip (well, coming from someone who hadn’t seen coffee beans before except in text books). In this trip the host takes you through the process of roasting coffee, crushing it and making a hot cup of black coffee for the guests. The whole process is done locally. The beans are roasted in a sufuria with firewood and crushed with pestle and mortar. While having coffee mzee takes you through the history of the people,their sub-tribes, cultural practices etc.

New skills learnt.

4. Drink ‘mbege’ at a local shopping center or village

Mbege is a traditional alcoholic brew made from banana and ‘ulezi'(finger millet).The whole process is through fermentation, preparation then filtration/mixing. Mbege is then served in large yellow plastic  containers called chibuku. Initially it used served in guards.

Mbege O’clock.
That is just some kind of froth at the top, it is not as thick as porridge.
Chibuku. They are sold in the supermarket.

As you travel across Moshi, you will notice locals drying the finger millets in the field for this process .The spirit of unity is propelled in the evening as people sit down to enjoy mbege. This can be an equivalent of Muratina in Kenya.

Ulezi or finger millet. This is how they dry the ulezi.

5. Take a two hour trip to Marangu to check out Kilasiya water falls…

This is a bit similar to the bonde la huruma trip, only that the water fall here is bigger, more scenic and dramatic. Also, you will get the see the second of the six routes used to summit Uhuru peak of Mt.Kili.

Spoilt for choice? well, we also were…
To good friends along the way. Babu from Kilasiya waterfalls.
The furious Kilasiya waterfall.
Hey…let me go!

6. Take a dip in Kikuletwa  Hot Springs

Kikuletwa is the most beautiful natural swimming pool I have ever seen and swam in. It is nestled in the middle of a semi- arid land and is naturally fenced with fig trees. Contrary to popular belief, the water is not hot, just warm. It is the underground caves that supply the pool with lots of water that gives it the bubbling impression that many locals liken to boiling water hence the name hot spring. Never before had I ever seen crystal clear, still, blue waters. As you step into the water, tiny fishes tickle your feet while giving a natural  fish pedicure. The water gets deeper as you swim towards the center. There is yet another end of the pool that is more chilled. Most swimmers choose to swim the front side.Dunno know why…

The semi-arid route to Kikuletwa Hot Spring.
More lone trees and dry land.
Approaching Kikuletwa.
The fig trees behind which the best kept secret lies.
Doesn’t get clearer than this…
Best feeling in the world…

 

Dreamy…
Heading to the abandoned end.
Let us stay here forever…
Well, hide and seek perhaps?

All the magic unravels when you wear diving glasses .The water has small fishes, turtles, bigger fishes and deep caves from where the waters come in. It is only then that one can comprehend the depth of the waters.

You have to visit Kikuletwa to understand what I mean!

 

Get in touch with me today to get a package to Salinero and experience these and more.

Like my facebook page and lets keep the conversation going!

 

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Getting to Salinero Millie Lodge, Machame;Moshi(Tanzania)

…via road from Nairobi

A small getaway out of town during the Mashujaa weekend sounded like a good plan. Following a recommendation by Duncan of Xtyrm Adventures,I was ready to stay at Salinero Hotels and explore Tanzania.

The ritual when it comes to places I am visiting, is that I have to get as much online reviews from other travelers as possible before setting out. But on this occasion, I did not find it necessary. Duncan’s word was final.(I trusted his judgement when he took us to Summit Mt.Kenya, and it turned out just fine. I couldn’t doubt this one.)

Getting to Salinero Millie Lodge from Nairobi

To get to Salinero Millie Lodge in Machame,you leave Nairobi using Mombasa road,branch to Kitengela; Kajiado, then straight to Namanga; the Kenya-Tanzania border. After clearance at the border the next town is Arusha followed by Moshi which is the destination. However just before getting to Moshi town there is a stop at the Machame Road Junction that is just a few Kilometers to Moshi Town Center. The whole trip takes about six hours,depending on the time taken at the border clearance.

Tahmeed the bus

I got in touch with my host from Salinero Hotels who advised that I travel with Dar Express(A bus company that plies the Nairobi-Dar Route). However when I went to book, the first bus company I saw was Tahmeed and well, I did the complete opposite. Besides, I was once told that Tahmeed buses were comfy,modern and  just like Dar Express they also use the same route.

Check-in time at the bus station was 5:30am and departure was 6:00 am, I was impressed with how they kept time because by 6:10am we had already left the city center. The bus stood out for a number of reasons: It had functional air conditioners, enough leg room,its reclining seats almost promised a flat back,the inside was spotless, adjacent seats were made to give passengers sufficient space because the design was that of tiny private compartments. Their entertainment was on point as well, each passenger had a small screen at the front all supplied with movies,music and games.

AC and lights…
Spacious compartment.
Leg room.
Space.
Entertainment.

Apart from a few security checks along the way and a burst tyre, the trip to Moshi was smooth. It took us three hours to get to Namanga.

Tahmeed crew fixing the burst tyre.

Long queues and two annoying Maasai herdsboys at the Namanga border point

One of the most frustrating experience during my trip was being cleared to enter Tanzania in Namanga. At the time, more than ten bus companies had arrived and released their passengers  for clearance. It took a whole one and a half hours before I could be attended to.

Namanga border

Just when the lady who was right in front of me went to the counter, two  Maasai herdsboys boldly and unapologetically came right in front of me and forcefully refused to line up like the rest of us. I tried talking to them and explained to them that the least they could have done is ask politely but they couldn’t hear any of that. When I discovered I was fighting a losing battle, I kept my cool and waited patiently for another 25 minutes, immediately after they were served,the officer in charge decided to take a short break. Yep!

The Maasai herdsboys

Scenic Namanga-Arusha-Moshi route.

After the hiatus, the journey towards Moshi kicked off smoothly. The air was cooler and purer;maybe the hilly country side made it better.The green rolling hills, the low hanging clouds that hugged the series of mountains along the way, the healthy cows, sheep and goats that grazed cheerfully, clusters of the Maasai Manyatas, livestock markets, dry pebbled  riverbeds of seasonal rivers and happy country men made the ride lively all the way.

Scenic countryside

No communication,unsure of my exact stop

The reason my host recommended Dar-Express was because they knew the exact time the bus would be passing the Machame Road junction where we were meant to alight and they could also track and see where we were along the way. I did not remember to buy a local SIM card and that meant trouble. I made many trips to the conductor just to remind him to stop at that junction. I kept reminding him because at some point I felt like he just wasn’t paying attention to what I was saying. Surprisingly when we got the junction, he called out. When we got out of the bus, one taxi driver came to us to ask  for business, but I told him I needed to speak to my host to get more info first. He was kind enough to lend me his phone.

He was so keen on my conversation that by the time I was handing back his phone, he told me that he saw the hotel van at the junction, and even one of the staff asked him whether he had seen us. We headed to a kiosk, ordered for soda and decided to wait patiently to be picked in about twenty minutes as agreed.

The Machame road junction and our helpful taxi guy
One soda down…next?

 Pick up by a jovial staff

In less than the stated 20 minutes, two gentlemen came straight into the kiosk where were waiting from. One wore a white half sleeved shirt, beautifully branded with the words Salinero Hotels, the other wore the warmest smile I have ever seen. They introduced themselves as Moses and Mudi. They explained how they’ve eager to meet us since noon. They showed us to the hotel’s Land cruiser.

Just like that, I felt an instant connection and true to my own persuasion, we become family. I didn’t understand the magic, but hey, it happened! From the Junction, we started our 20km stretch to the lodge…

 

 

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Meet Rebecca Amo,the unapologetic globe trotter!

Who is Rebecca Amo?

Amo is a free spirited chic, easy going with lots of energy, selectively bubbly and on the lookout for intriguing adventures. I am super athletic and easy going when in the right mood ~extrovert. I also have this introverted side to balance the equation; That is get immersed in soul food books, solo back packing travels around the world, meditate and soul search in the mix of it all.

Ubud,Monkey Forest in Indonesia.

What inspires you to travel?

My forever young spirit and attitude,history,a yearn to learn new cultures,desire to try different foods, explore villages, meet different people,discover myself and most recently, books!Last but not least, the satisfaction I draw from putting Kenya in the map! Am that patriotic! I enjoy explaining where in Africa Kenya is and yeah, we girls travel solo too!

Egypt.
Jakarta.

Has travel changed your life?

So much! Travel has uncovered in me resilience, risk taking, spot on financial management, patriotism, love, peace, gratitude and awakened my consciousness on living in the now-present moment (Most difficult thing we suffer as humans),can’t leave out the love for soul food books.

Yoga retreat,Bali.

How many countries have you been to?

30 Countries so far adding 4 more this year!

India

What is your scariest travel experience?

Crossing Okavongo delta on a dilapidated ferry that looked like open rafters / dhows used by traders on the Indian ocean in ancient times,with the knowledge that if the caricature of this transport medium gave in, nothing and nobody would survived! Keep in mind, I am not a great swimmer.

What is the most underrated travel destination in your opinion?

In Kenya? Takaungu

Elsewhere? India, especially by Kenyans.

What is the riskiest thing you’ve tried during travel

Shared a room with a stranger (A man) in a dingy hotel at the Zambia border while back packing to South Africa, my first amateur excursion as a solo traveler! This was after I offered my room to a gentleman who was in the same bus,enroute to Zimbabwe, also stranded but couldn’t share a room with another guy! I was so naive! This stranger tormented me with sexual advances that I had to sit up all night watching football.Looking back? This guy could have actually raped me.For some reason, I was soo composed and stuck to my gun and fought back. Crazy! I can’t do it ever in my right mind…

How do you afford travel?

I literally save up for my travels.I work for my travels amongst other priorities…I also have a great network of friends around the world who help in playing host in some of the destinations I have been and will be in future.

Dubai.

What are some of the disadvantages of traveling the world as a Kenyan?

Mmmmh, generally, destinations that need visas can really make it hell because you need good financial proof to obtain a tourist visa, if you do get one, it does not guarantee entry to the destination country.The immigration of the destined country has a right to deny you entry.The other thing is,if you are female, there are some assumptions on why you are traveling alone that can be annoying if not condescending. Being black puts you on drug trafficking scrutiny among other annoying checks that you might just miss a connecting flight if scheduled for one and lastly, the assumption that I am Nigerian?While my passport reads Kenyan?….doesn’t go well with me!

Strangest food you’ve eaten abroad?

Snail and raw meat.

Bush or beach?

Bush!Now that I leave by the beach…..everyone needs a beach front address!

Best book or movie you’ve read about travel?

Motor cycle diaries .

Warmest country you’ve ever visited?

Indonesia.

Angor Wak,Cambodia.

What sacrifices have you made in order to travel?

I don’t have assets like land as most of my peers, at present, I don’t want anything that ties me down physically, I can pack up any time.I believe there is time for everything.Now, travel takes precedence.

What are your future travel plans?

Well, I have split my travels in the 4 quarters of the year and as per my leave days.

For 2017, I plan to go to;

1.Europe- France and UK in May/June for pleasure and watch sevens rugby team in the mix.

2.Pilgrimage-Jordan &Israel in October, this is a treat for me and my mum.

3.Festive season end year-Australia in December, time to make merry right?

I just started working on Jordan & Israel itinerary this month…..it is a challenge to get a Jordan visa while in Kenya.

2018;

1. Tembea Kenya- Lake Turkana

2. Paragliding in Switzerland

3. Explore Barcelona ,Madrid & Party in Ibiza-Spain

4. Explore Morocco and attend Africa largest salsa dancing congress

5. Machu Picchu trek in Peru.

Best items you have checked off your bucket list?

Hahahaha…….

1.Egypt pyramids.

2.Cruise on River Nile.

3.Snorkeling in the Red Sea.

4.Axum and Lalibella BC under ground orthodox churches in Ethiopia.

5.Taj Mahal in India.

6.Auroville in Pondicherry- India.

7.Stayed in an Ashram in Vellur, South India.

8.Climbed and summited Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

9.Ngongoro crater and Lake Manyara in Tanzania.

10.Back packing Road trip from Nairobi to South Africa.

11.Empire State building ,statue of liberty and wall street in New York.

12.Desert safari and desert camping in Dubai.

13.Ferrari world in Abu dhabi.

14.Ango Wak Temple in Cambodia.

15.Full moon party in kho pagan island -Thailand.

16.Floating market in Thailand.

17.Rice fields  and Olowatu Blue point in Indonesia

18.Yoga retreat in Bali

19.Garden by the bay in Singapore.

Tricks and tips for young people who want to travel?

1st. Master your context: This is with regards to your life obligations and what you know is your reality.Be realistic and flow…..Nature will conspire and make your travel dreams achievable.

2nd.  You will never have enough money! So, with the little that you have, move! Start small, domestic tourism,then regional and international travels thereafter. Time is now, remember nothing happens in the future!

3rd. Once you get bit by a travel bug:-Trust me, anything is and will be possible and with the law of attraction, you will surely pull lots of positive vibes to your travel dreams!

 

 

I hope you are fired up to travel as I am!! Rebecca is serious travel goals!

Enjoy till the next post!

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Meet Laura Lazzarino,The Argentinian Globe Trotter.

During my recent trip to the coast for my birthday, I had a unique opportunity to meet Laura. How we started off was simple, we were cooking up a storm with our new friends J and Ferdinand. Ferdinand was so curious about the octopus meal that everyone was so excited about. Ugali was also in the menu.Across the swimming pool at Distant Relatives rumours quickly spread that we were preparing octopus meal and ugali. Soon after our guest list swelled. Part of the guests was one Laura. As we got to know each other and shared our travel experiences, one of my friends called out my name to ask what amount of water was enough for our Ugali…Quickly Laura picked the name and asked with a lot of excitation, “Is this Bonita? Bonita on Safari?” She went ahead to say how she found the blog useful especially a blog post I wrote about Kilifi and Distant Relatives, as they say, the rest is history…

We caught up again during her stop over in Nairobi with her boyfriend Juan as they headed to Nyahururu and here is how our interview went  as she got to tell me more about herself and her travel experiences across the globe.

Me: Who is Laura?

Laura Lazzarino (31) is an Argentinian travel writer and the free spirit behind www.losviajesdenena.com; a personal travel blog which has been active online since the year 2008. My adventures across 50 countries has inspired a new generation of independent travelers. I am also  a National Geographic Viajes Magazine contributor and author of two travel books, including the best-selling Caminos Invisibles. Right now I am crossing Africa overland, from Cairo to Cape Town, looking for new stories to be featured in my next book.

Is this your first time in Kenya?

Yes!

Me:How does Kenya compare to your country? What are some of the similarities, and obvious differences?

L:Well…some landscapes remind me a lot of Argentina, but only for a moment. When a colorful bird or a giraffe appears in the picture, then I know I’m not home! Nature is overwhelming here, people and their traditions are different too. But I think we have something in common; we are friendly and we love visitors.

Me:How do you decide on the places you visit when you go to foreign countries?

L:We read a lot. We investigate, surf the web for hidden spots, plan an itinerary. But we are flexible too and always open to last-minute changes, or recommendations on the spot.

Me:How many countries have you visited so far?

L:Fifty, including Antarctica.

Me:How long have you been travelling for?

L:I started travelling eight years ago, but it was not full time. In 2010, I decided to make my passion my lifestyle. I’ve been traveling and writing ever since.

Me:How do you afford your travels?

L:Mostly, by selling my books online. In 2013, I self-published “Caminos Invisibles” a book about our 36,000Km  hitch-hiking trip through South America. After that, I published a Hitch-Hiking Guide to a Spanish publishing house and other projects. Also through collaborations with travel magazines like Revista Viajes de National Geographic.

Me:What inspires your travels?

L:Cultural differences,their challenges and new scenarios, I like how every travel changes me and the lessons I pick on the road.

Me:Did you plan to travel the world and write about it or it just happened by chance?

L:I never really planned it, but I would be lying if I  said I have never dreamt about it. I just did not think it was possible, at least for me…a simple girl from the countryside, with no contacts, no influences and no experience. It was not easy at first. I had to knock on so many doors, to learn a lot and work for free. But it was totally worthy it! I would have missed a lot if I never gave it (and myself) a chance!

Me:What are some of the highlights in your travels?

L:Before visiting Africa, sailing to Antarctica was one of the most intense experiences I have ever had. Now I have to say that watching free wildlife in Kenya and Tanzania is also something I will never forget. Hitchhiking in Iceland, getting lost in small Colombian villages in the Coffee Axis and looking for my great grandfather’s town in southern Italy would complete the list.

Me:Do you have any life lessons picked along the way?

L:One of the first times I hitch-hiked in Argentina, I met a truck driver who, after carefully listening to my story (I had just given up my job to start traveling and was so full of doubts) told me: “Never regret what you have chosen for your life”.

Me:Do you ever get homesick?

L:Who doesn’t? But tech has shortened distances, right?

Me:What is the longest you have stayed without going home to your family?

L:Fifteen (15) months. It was too much. Not only because of my family, but also for myself. I learnt that after one year of traveling, I lose interest. I get tired and I get to appreciate more a good kitchen and a hot home shower than a new adventure, landscape or story. This is when I go home to get the travel excitement back.

Me:Have you ever been in a situation abroad when you feel like your life is in danger? If yes, how did you overcome?

L:Not really, but I got robbed in Venezuela and was harassed in Egypt. It was not nice, of course, but I always keep in mind that those are random situations which can  even occur back home and that if I leave, then I will always have a bitter memory that might be unfair judgement to the people of that country. So I taught myself to get over it by taking time off,chilling out, not thinking about it and then go for that adventure again.

Me:What are some of the challenges you’ve gone through as a foreigner abroad?

L:I think that interacting with cultures where women take up most responsibilities in the society is always a shock. I can’t help but wonder why I, on the other side have so many opportunities and choices yet they don’t…if we were to be the same.The other Challenge is learning how not to judge,especially when you are confident with your principles.However, I think it is good practice.What we consider “normal” is just a convention. I have learnt to appreciate what I have more and also to question some statements that I have always considered to be true.

Me:What is in your bucket list?

L:I have a bucket list of over 50 items! Just to name some: Fly in a hot air balloon, participate in a flash move dance, camp in Lake Turkana, visit Christmas Island and  live in Colombia for a season.

Me:What are some of the things you’ve checked out of your bucket list?

L:Cutting my hair drastically (I even wrote a post about it, it was so empowering) and paragliding (so exciting)!

Me:Do you miss normal life?

L:Not at all. This is the best I could do with my life, the best decision I have ever made. I don’t regret it, not even in the bad moments of traveling, not even for a single minute.

Me:Airbnb or couch surfing?

L:Both. I like balance. Please add  camping to the list too!

Me:How do you balance life and travel?

Laura!

L:Traveling is my life…

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