Arusha Waterfalls Day Trip
brief overview T his excursion is best suited for friends of hiking. The waterfalls are located just below the border of Arusha National Park, on the slopes of the extinct volcano Mount Meru. The river has carved itself a deep and narrow valley, on whose steep slopes the original rainforest with monkeys and birds has remained almost untouched by human hands.
A spring of crystal clear mountain water lies above the waterfall and is the drinking water supply for the University of the Tanzania People’s Defence Force in Monduli, ca. 30km away. The hike offers varied impressions and is highly recommended. You will start in Arusha city and experience modern Tanzanian city life, but when the path eventually starts to get steeper and you ascend towards the waterfalls and Mount Meru, the scenery changes and you experience a more rural lifestyle with mud huts, farming and animal husbandry. During the tour your guide will give you insights into the daily life of the farmers, far away from the usual tourist paths.
Arusha Waterfalls Tour / Day Trip
In the early morning you meet with your guide in the Arusha districts of Sanawari or Sekei and start the hike from there. After a short time the tarmac road ends and the city life notably decreases. From now on the path gets steeper and you experience the typical African village life. Almost everything happens outside here, small shops sell vegetables and fruit, farmers drive their herds of cows and goats to the limited grazing areas, small children play with their improvised toys and African mamas bring fresh produce from the shambas (farmland) above to the markets in the city.
Depending on the chosen route and physical condition, the ascent to the waterfall valley takes about 3 to 4 hours. The ascent offers numerous opportunities for magnificent views of Arusha town and the surrounding area (see photo above). If you wish you can stop for a short rest in a small village for a chai maziwa (sweet milk tea with lots of ginger) and some mandazi (typical breakfast pastry) or giabatti.
When you finally reach the waterfall valley in the late morning, the most difficult part of the hike begins, a short but steep descent into a narrow valley. After the descent you will be rewarded with a tropical jungle with steep rocky slopes and a small river. The air is cool here and countless birds and small monkeys provide a free concert. After another 10 minutes the waterfall comes into view. This is the perfect place for a rest and thanks to the early start of the hike the midday sun can warm the valley and the visitors. Afterwards you will hike back to Arusha and depending on your itinerary you will be taken to your accommodation.
Good shoes and weatherproof clothing are recommended, as in the Alps, the weather here can change quickly (the highest part of the excursion will take you to over 2000 metres above sea level). The hike has a few short steeper or more challenging parts, so a little mountain experience wouldn’t hurt. Due to the critical drinking water supply for the Tanzania People’s Defence Force, the area is guarded by a platoon of soldiers and a registration fee with entrance fee has to be paid (will be done by your guide).