Moshi town - the capital of Kilimanjaro region
The town of Moshi is the second-largest tourism hub of Tanzania, the capital of Kilimanjaro region and the place from where most Kilimanjaro adventures begin. Built in the early 19th century by the German colonists, it has a rich and turbulent history worth knowing about.
Though Moshi is seldom viewed as a travel destination in itself, those who are interested in knowing more about Swahili culture should definitely consider visiting. Numerous local cafes are just right for getting a glimpse into the Tanzanian cuisine, while Moshi curio art shops are among the best places in the region to buy memorable souvenirs with symbols of the country.
Night life in Moshi is always bustling - bars, restaurants and clubs won’t let you get bored, and you’ll always find a place to chill out after a KIlimanjaro hike or safari.
Moshi is also the place from where most Kilimanjaro day hikes start. So no matter who you are - a nature enthusiast or a culture aficionado, Moshi is certainly the best spot to start exploring Tanzania.
Recommended Hotels in Moshi, Tanzania
Aishi Machame Hotel is one of the most popular places to stay in Kilimanjaro region. Nestled on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, just a 20-min ride from Moshi, the hotel is enveloped in lush green. You can spot wild animals and birds from the restaurant terrace, so nature enthusiasts will especially enjoy this place. Helicopter pad is available for the “fast-track” trips from Kilimanjaro.
Though placed in one of the quietest areas of Moshi, Altezza Lodge is always a good choice for those who prefer to stay near the city life. The city center is just a 15-min walk from here. Whether you come to explore the natural wonders of Tanzania or have a business trip in Kilimanjaro, Altezza Lodge will always offer everything you need to feel like home.
Both Altezza Lodge and Aishi Machame Hotel have everything necessary for your stay - comfy rooms are regularly cleaned and ventilated, swimming pools with clean azure water are open the whole year round, and professional staff are on duty to help you with anything.
Restaurant menu offers a wide variety of meals catering for different tastes. Local Swahili, Indian continental and American cuisine is available. The hotels also have vegetarian, gluten-free and halal meals.
What’s more, busy travellers love Aishi Machame and Altezza Lodge because of the fastest and most reliable internet connection in town.
Good taxi service is available at both hotels to perform two-way transfers to the cities of Moshi and Arusha as well as to Kilimanjaro International Airport (40 km from both hotels) at affordable rates.
Weather in Moshi, Tanzania
From late June until late October and from early January through early March the streets of Moshi are bustling with the happy tourists from all corners of the world. Brisk and joyful atmosphere makes this time perfect for socializing, finding new friends and adventures.
The rainy season in Tanzania has two parts: from early March till late June and from late October till early January. Although it is cloudy and damp, this time is nevertheless recommended for those seeking a more reclusive cultural and traveling experience.
Old Moshi is where everything began. After its founding, the German colonial authorities had to rebuild the town closer to the railroad to make goods transportation easier. However, they failed to suppress the booming of the local culture.
Old Moshi is the cradle of Chagga civilization: here you will see the Swahili world at its rawest, with its bustling markets, street vendors, chatting locals and authentic barbeque cafes. It is a must visit place in the bucket list of each and every culture vulture.
Indelible traces of history are everywhere here, and the conservative colonial past mixes with the dynamic present - Tanzanian women in their traditional attires are walking alongside the Rasta youth with dreadlocks, businessmen in suits and missionary priests in robes, all with colonial architecture, modern buildings and lush verdure in the background. It is an extraordinary spot for culture photographers.
The map of Moshi, Tanzania
The capital of Kilimanjaro region, Moshi is one of the most densely populated areas in the country. According to the 2017 census, over 200,000 people live there. Despite its sizeable population, the area takes up only about 60 km2, making it the smallest by size in Tanzania. Administratively, Moshi is divided into 21 wards.
All major shops, travel companies, cafes, bars and businesses are centered along Arusha and Mawenzi roads in Old Moshi. These areas are always bustling with street vendors touting their goods, auto rickshaws and the motley crowd. Here you’ll find the bus station for those departing to Dar es Salaam, Arusha or other cities in Tanzania by land. It’s the place where you are likely to find lots of “fly-catchers” trying to sell you a climbing or safari package at a knockdown price. Though the offer might be appealing, there is always a risk of numerous hidden costs or an outright scam. Better book in advance with licensed operators.
Westwards you will find a much quieter neighborhood known as Shanty Town. The best hotels of Moshi are located there, and the area is ideal to unwind before or after the wildlife adventures in the National Parks.
Tours starting from Moshi
Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro is a one-of-a-kind outdoor adventure. Together with the natural sanctuaries of the country, this is the primary reason why Tanzania is one of the most popular destinations in East Africa. Memorable encounters with the wildlife, breathtaking panoramic vistas, and a feeling of achievement on the way to Peak Uhuru (5895 m/ 19,341 f) are guaranteed!
According to CNN Travel, it is the unmatched wildlife riches that make Tanzania the best destination for an African safari. The Northern Safari Circuit, featuring two UNESCO World Sites - Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area - are especially popular among the visitors.
A day-trip to Materuni waterfalls is an excellent way to unwind from the hustle and bustle of Moshi. After a brief hike to the pristine waterfalls amid the rainforest, you will have a chance to visit the local coffee plantations and explore the local method of coffee grinding and making.
Kikuletwa Hot Springs (also known as Chemka) is a unique natural wonder. Because of underground geothermal activity, the water there is always warm, turquoise, fresh and clear. This Bounty-styled oasis is an ideal place for a day vacation.
The airport of Moshi should not be confused with Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), which is situated 40 km westwards from the town of Moshi and serves as the main tourist gateway to Tanzania.
Moshi Airport is conveniently placed in the western part of the town and is mainly used for domestic flights across Tanzania. It takes just 10 minutes to get there from Altezza Lodge and about half an hour from Aishi Machame Hotel.
From there you can fly to Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Tanga, Mwanza and other local destinations. Also, the only Mt Kilimanjaro helicopter rescue & transportation service is based there. In case you decide to get down from the summit camps of the mountain by helicopter, the airport of Moshi will be the place you arrive at.