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The Snows of Kilimanjaro

semi-overcast 26 °C

Our flight from the Tanzanian capital to Arusha in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro was on a plane small enough to have flown inside an Airbus A380...
However, we had left behind the hot humid air of Dar-es-Salaam and were rewarded with fresh mountain air and vistas of blossoming bougainvillea and jacaranda...
It is always summer in this tropical land and the trees are laden with bananas, mangoes and all manner of fragrant blossoms. In contrast, the streets of Arusha are dusty and potholed and the numerous minibus drivers seem to rely on God to get them and their passengers safely to their destinations...
Although Arusha is Tanzania's third largest city, and centre of its lucrative tourist industry, the veneer of modernity is spread thinly over its crumbling streets.
There are some recently built stores and banks, and many expensive hotels, but much of the commerce takes place in the chaotic Central Market that has changed little from pre-colonial days. The shoe sellers still hang out their wares under the banyan trees...
The women still spend their days selling local fruits and vegetables under colourful umbrellas...
And the main market is crammed with all manner of goods. However, most foreigners here are like us – tourists on safari or trekkers heading up Mt. Kilimanjaro – so vendors have little chance of selling us baskets of dried fish or household wares...
Away from the city centre the modern buildings quickly dissolve into a mish-mash of humble adobe homes where, apart from cellphones and satellite TVs life carries on much has it has done for generations...
Arusha market has probably changed little since Ernest Hemingway came here in 1936
and wrote “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”. In the book, his main character, Harry, attempts to put his life back on track after living a life of sloth and luxury. A safari is supposed to bring him back to the virtues of hard work. We, on the other hand, are going on safari for the opposite reason - we are rewarding ourselves with a little sloth and luxury after a life of hard work. Harry had an accident, contracted gangrene and died – and that seems a very good reason for us not to follow his path.
Perhaps the most striking thing about Tanzania so far is its people.
This was our first sighting of handsome Maasai warriors in flowing robes as they strode purposefully through Arusha...
And we met this statuesque young woman as we walked back to our hotel on the edge of the city...
Reda has a face and physique that would catapault her to the pages of Vogue and have her gracing the catwalk at any Parisian fashion show Yet here, in the shadow of Kilimanjaro, she is just a young unemployed women with dreams.

Posted by Hawkson 08:57 Archived in Tanzania

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Thanks for the new adventures and sights of warmer climates as ours become cooler with snow in the future.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Kilimanjaro: a cake-walk to serious mountaineers but always on their to do list. Highest point on the continent. Can't see any snow in your photo but maybe it's off season.

by R and B

What a contrast between the natural and human environments! Tropical weather photos a welcome respite from the rain on Gabriola today.

by Tom

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