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Moshi is located in the mountain region of northeast Tanzania and has about 150,000 inhabitants in total. Moshi is a smaller town than Arusha, and is actually closer to Kilimanjaro than Arusha. It is generally a safer and friendlier town with less beggars and harassment. You can see Mount Kilimanjaro on most days, and there is a good hotel called Kinderoko where you can watch the sunset and peep at Kilimanjaro all at the same time. As soon as the sun has set the bugs come out. There are a few chilled out cafes, and internet cafes and there is a pizza place where you can get take-aways too. There is also a local swimming pool where 'half-nakedness is not allowed'. The town is relatively affluent by Tanzanian standards. In addition to being the most popular town to base a Mt Kilimanjaro climb, it is the base for many volunteer organizations. Because of the heavy volume of foreigners, English is pretty well understood by many shops and restaurants. Also, in spite of approximately 35% Islamic population, it is tolerant of foreign lifestyles and dress, although dressing and behaving according to local customs is always advisable. The town is growing quickly and has many more conveniences compared to just a few years ago.
Moshi has a tropical climate with a distinctive dry and wet season. Average daytime temperatures range from around 25 °C in June and July to 33º in January and February, with nights mostly in the 15-19 °C range. The average annual amount of rain is about 1,000 mm, nearly two thirds of that falling between March and May.
The nearest airport to Moshi is Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). The airport is located off the main road that connects Arusha and Moshi. Expect about a 45-minute ride between Moshi and JRO. Airlines serving JRO include:
Air Tanzania offers its passengers a free shuttle service between JRO and Moshi (departs from/arrives in central Moshi at the Air Tanzania office). Precision Air offers a similar shuttle service for about Ts10,000. Shuttle services are timed to coincide with flight departures and arrivals. Taxi service between JRO and Moshi costs about $50 USD.
There is a railway station in Moshi, whether or not any scheduled passenger trains even operate is unknown.
Known shuttle/bus operators include:
Not applicable for Moshi.
Moshi is small enough to navigate by foot, but most roads do not have sidewalks so caution is advised.
Drivers in this region are noted for their recklessness so be careful. Driving is on the left side of the road. There are no traffic signals in Moshi even though the town is in need of some in certain locations. With many bicyclists and pushcarts in town, keep your concentration. Ample parking in town, expect to pay Tsh 500 to park (one payment is valid for parking anywhere in town for the rest of the day). In the past few years, the number of motorcyclists has sky-rocketed. They tend to create their own traffic rules and not very many of them have a valid license, therefore driving defensively is a must.
Taxis do not have set rates. Be sure to negotiate the price in advance. Most trips in town can be had at Tsh 3,000 or under. Tipping drivers is not expected.
Dala dalas are the public means of transport. Incredibly crowded an uncomfortable if you have long legs and overcrowding of the vehicle is absolutely unbelievable. Be careful of your belongings at all times since pickpockets love the dala-dalas, this included the conductors. Cost for in town trips is Tsh 250.
Boda Bodas are motorcycle taxis. They are so notorious for their reckless driving that some hospitals have an entire ward set aside for boda boda injuries. There are numerous incidences where boda boda drivers have taken customers to remote areas to rob and/or rape. In other words, choose another form of transportation.
Boda-bodas are public transport motorcycles. They are known for being extremely dangerous, not only for their lack of helmets and no adherence to traffic laws, but numerous people have been taken to be robbed and/or raped by the drivers. Many hospitals have their own ward for boda-boda injuries.
Moshi is easy enough to negotiate by foot but don't expect too many side-walks outside of the city centre. It takes a bit of concentration walking since the roads and side-walks include numerous opportunities to turn an ankle.
There are numerous local bicyclists in Moshi. Expect nothing in the way of bike paths. Concentrate on defensive driving and you will be ok. Don't expect motor vehicles to yield to your right of way. There are several tour companies who offer day bike treks in the area. If you go, make sure that you inspect the bicycle well, since I know of some treks that have been cut short due to poorly maintained equipment. Some companies will show you a nice bike but when you arrive for the actual trek, what is waiting for you might be quite different.
There are many good places to eat in Moshi. The local diet is healthy, there is an abundance of fresh locally grown vegetables and fruits year round. The local diet is heavy on meats (mostly goat and chicken) served usually with ugali (similar to polenta) or rice. There are many restaurants that cater to tourists with pizza, American fare and Indian food. As for beverages, there are Tanzanian beers widely available. Coca Cola and other sodas are very popular and diet coke is becoming more commonly found. Bottled mineral water is common. Moshi is the headquarters of the Tanzanian Coffee Board. Local residents seem to prefer instant coffee but there have been a pleasant increase in the past two years in the number of coffee shops serving espresso/ cappuccino. Tipping in restaurants is not done by locals but restaurants catering to tourists have become accustomed to small tips.
Among the popular restaurants in town are:
|Green Hostels||P.O. Box 1697 Moshi||Hostel||-|
|Kindoroko Hotel||P.O Box 8682||Hotel||78|
|Kilimanjaro Crane Hotel||1496 Moshi||Hotel||-|
|Twiga Home Moshi||Soweto Area P.O. BOX 1293 MOSHI||Guesthouse||83|
|Honey Badger Lodge and Safaris||Msaranga Moshi||CAMPSITE||-|
|Mount Kilimanjaro View Lodge||PO Box 886||HOTEL||-|
|Kilimanjaro Style Inn||PO Box 8787, Soweto||Hotel||-|
|Hostel Kili||Mbokomu Village Rau Ward||HOSTEL||-|
|Karibu Hostel||P.O. Box 2143||HOSTEL||91|
|Jacaranda B&B||Plot 17AA Shuleni Street||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Rafiki Backpackers||Uru Road, Moshi||HOSTEL||-|
|Osy Grand Hotel||P.O.Box 8206||HOTEL||-|
|Amans Boutique & Breakfast||Rau||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Kibo Executive Lodge||Moshi||Bed & Breakfast|
Major tourist areas and cities have internet cafes and many hotels offer (free) wifi nowadays. Connections can be slower at more remote places.
Also safari oriented places offer some sort of internet connections as well, by computers or wifi.
See also International Telephone Calls
The International Dialling Code for Tanzania is +255, followed by area codes (e.g. (0)22 for Dar es Salaam, or (0)27 for Arusha). Calling from Tanzania, you dial 00 plus the relevant country code (44 for the UK, 1 for the USA).
There are four cell providers in Tanzania: Zain (the major one), Zantel, Vodacom and Tigo, who all offer roaming facilities. Connections are good in Tanzania, even in places such as Tarangire, Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, and some parts of the Serengeti (the western and northern region of the Serengeti not). You can buy the prepaid cards in amounts ranging from $5 to $50. You can even buy a cell phone while in Tanzania. The price for a simple cell phone ranges between $55 and $80.
Avoid roaming charges with you home cellphone and turn it off. Instead, use a local SIM card or just wifi.
Tanzania Posts Corporation is the national postal services of Tanzania. There are post officies in most major cities and towns throughout the country, which are generally open Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm and Saturday from 9:00am to noon. Services are generally quite reliable though not very fast. Prices for international airmal services start at around 500-600 TSHS to other countries in East Africa and 700-900 TSHS to Europe and North America for postcards and letters up to 20 grams. Small packages start at around 2,000-3,000 TSHS, but it's generally better to do business with international parcel services like TNT, UPS, DHL or FedEx.
Confirm the payment methods for any treks before you reach Moshi, as getting access to the sums required for Kilimanjaro treks can take excessive time once in town. In Tanzania, there is a daily ATM withdrawal limit of Tsh 400,000. Traveler's cheques can be difficult to change - don't bother asking at the local banks, the few foreign exchanges that will exchange them won't provide good rates. Regular currency exchange is limited to US Dollars or British Pounds (don't try to sneak any Scottish Pounds by them!). Only newer issue US notes will be accepted. You will get a higher exchange rate for US$100 notes compared to smaller notes. There are several Exchange Bureaus in town. Many places will also accept USD and in fact may be requested for safaris instead of Tanzanian Shillings (Tsh). Immigration and airports will accept only USD instead of Tsh. As o f Oct 2013, the exchange is approximately US$1 buys Tsh 1,600. By comparison, if you do find a place to exchange travelers checques, expect US$1 to buy Tsh 1,300.
Credit cards are not commonly useful except in a few hotels and some gift shops. Most tour/safari companies do not accept them. Those that do accept them are generally foreign owned and are therefore more expensive priced.
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I am an American who has been living in Moshi since 2007 doing volunteer work. I am married to a native Tanzanian.
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