Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mnambe Falls, Tanzania

The first stop on our itinerary from Tarangire National Park to Canada was a two night visit to Moshi; a beautiful town located below the magnificent Mt. Kilimanjaro. 

We were welcomed at Kiliview by Moses’s mother, Martha.  One hour after we arrive Moses pointed out a picture Martha had on the wall. It was a photo of the most beautiful waterfalls. I asked her where they are located and if it is possible for us to visit them. She explained the location and got on the phone right away to start making arrangements for us to visit the following day, I was very excited!  The falls are located in the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, I had no idea that I was in for such an amazing experience.

Martha, Moses, Godi (our guide) and I took the morning bus from downtown Moshi and headed to Uru.  If you have ever taken a local bus in Africa you know you will be in for a cozy ride. The small vans comfortably hold 12 people; however there are no specific rules as to the number of people they will attempt to squeeze into the buses!  This is an experience in itself, but I am always up for a little adventure and learning the ways of the locals. 
We drove for a few minutes before we turned left and headed up the hills of the mountain. These hills are where the Chagga tribe live and make a living from their field and fields of crops of fruits and vegetables.  Stepping out of the small bus I was amazed with the height we had already climbed, at 1700 meters it was a wonderful site to see Moshi town below. 
The hills were so green, it amazed me how the Chagga men and women made use of every inch, (and I mean every) of the land.  We hiked through fields of bananas trees, peaches, walked by passion fruit and avocado trees.  The smell of fresh eucalyptus plants was a pure delight!  Coffee plants, fields of lettuce and corn- everything was growing in these amazing hills.

As we climbed higher we passed by several schools and tiny villages, the children enjoy their life on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. There were local shops and bars scattered throughout the hills.  As we passed by a field of coffee plants we were greeted by a friendly local who was harvesting some of his plants, he offered to prepare for us a fresh cup of coffee.  As we were determined to reach the falls we expressed our desire to continue on.  The kind man let us know of a short cut to the falls that went behind his property; we let him lead the way.  

We walked up and down hills, around bends and over shaky wooden bridges.  The babbling brook that ran beside the narrow path was a peaceful sound as we headed towards the 87 meter falls.  Our newest guide pointed out plants and herbs which they used for medicine, he explained legends and tales which have been passed down for generations.  One story he shared was how the locals had believed that the falls where the tears from God.

As we turned the last bend, I was in awe at the magnificent sight before my eyes, the sound of the water rushing down over the rocks and the energy within the beautiful hills was much more then I was expecting. The water was cool but refreshing after the long hike.  We all jumped into the water and I thanked God for the beauty that surrounded me.  
There really is no way to deliver the beauty of this experience. I have attempted to share the magic that lies within these hills with my video of Mnambe Falls; however,  I recommend the best way to really discover the beauty is to visit them for yourself.