Our first day in Africa unfortunately started way too early after the exhausting journey. Since it was not possible to take over the Landrover for our self-drive safari in Tanzania on December 26th (also in Africa Christmas is celebrated) we decided to use the first day relaxed with an excursion from Arusha to the coffee plantations in Moshi and the visit of the Materuni Waterfalls. What we didn’t know when booking is that we need 2 hours by car from Arusha to the starting point.
So we were picked up in the morning already at 9am by our driver. Unfortunately, he had to confess to us that there was another accident with the actual vehicle the night before and therefore we have to take another one. The replacement car was not a MiniBus, but a normal car but still sufficient for the two of us.
We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.
Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers
Arrival in Moshi
Well… finally it started. The first glimpse of life while driving in Tanzania was very interesting. We were able to take a look at houses, front gardens and everyday life on the streets more often as we drove by. However, we were denied a view of Mount Kilimanjaro due to the many clouds. After about 2 hours and thus shortly before the goal, our driver suddenly stopped.
Before we could ask ourselves what was going on, white smoke was already rising from under the hood… But since in Tanzania everybody knows everybody, this was not a big problem. Our driver made a few phone calls and suggested that we continue the tour with another group while he had the car repaired.
For us that was ok, so about 30 minutes later we were collected by the other group, consisting of an American couple. So it finally went on… but only for about 20 minutes. Then a couple of younger men waved us out, talked briefly to the driver, and said that this was the official parking lot and that they were our guides for this tour. So we parked, got out and discussed.
But after a few minutes it should really start. So we headed further up the road on foot. After 15 minutes, the American tourist asked his driver if it was still far to walk and why we didn’t continue by car. The driver did a quick selfie and then quickly ran back to the car to collect us. Ok… there we stood in the middle of nowhere with 2 other tourists and waited… and waited… and waited. At some point we actually thought that the driver was not coming back at all.
Since we also didn’t have the phone number of our driver, we slowly didn’t know what to do. At some point, however, we finally heard the redeeming sound of the car’s engine and were able to continue. After another 10 minutes on an extremely bumpy road we finally reached our destination. By now it was after 1pm and we had been on the road for more than 4 hours.
Kilimanjaro Coffee Plantation
Before we went to our highlight of the day, the Materuni waterfall, we had to visit the coffee plantation, where the traditional way of coffee production is explained. One learns about the individual production steps from the freshly harvested coffee bean to the packaged powder. Individual production steps, such as crushing in an oversized mortar, can be tried out for yourself.
To set the right mood, you will be cheered on with African chants. After the coffee has been roasted and ground, you can taste the coffee you have made yourself. The explanations on the coffee plantation were very informative and the homemade coffee was quite delicious. Afterwards, we were offered to buy the coffee grown there in a fancy package. However, we found this a little too expensive at just under $10.
The waterfall is located in the small village of Materuni, which is located above Moshi in the mountains. The hike to the waterfall starts right next to the coffee plantation and takes about 45 minutes to reach the waterfall. On the way there you get a first impression of the beautiful nature. Arrived at the waterfall we had a homemade stew consisting of potatoes, carrots, plantains and kidney beans.
Looked funny, but tasted good. After the meal we went down to the waterfall. In the small pool in front of the waterfall you can even swim… if you don’t mind the cold water. The special thing about this waterfall is the rainbow that forms from the spray pretty close to the ground right in front of the waterfall. It’s pretty impressive and we haven’t seen that anywhere else.
We walked around a bit and took some photos. Andreas still wanted to let his drone go up, but it didn’t want to connect to enough satellites because of the narrow gorge the waterfall was in. So he rather left it.
After about 1 hour stay we went back to the car. In the meantime we had about 18 o’clock. Actually, we wanted to end the day relaxed on the terrace, but since we still had a 2 hour drive back we were back at the hotel only around 20:30. For us that meant: hectic eating, discussing the further travel route in the national parks, throw over the heap and plan again, packings things and off to bed. After all, the alarm clock should ring at 6:30 am for the adventure safari to begin. We were already super excited!
You can read the report about our self-drive safari in Tanzania in the following articles:
- Our Self Drive Safari through the Serengeti
How we organized our self-drive safari, we have summarized here: