This is not a tourist destination. There are no trials for the tourists, no curios, and no young people wanting to give you a guided tour for a small fee. I take only a very few of our guests here who have a day to spare; who want to see the real Africa and it is especially good for people who want to get out of the vehicle because they are tired of sitting and they want to stretch their legs.
From Moshi town the best way to experience this mountain village is to journey here with the local people on the local transport. Not as daunting as you may think. Otherwise, just drive here but you do loose part of the adventure; and besides this is cheating.A local bus is taken from Moshi and only five minutes from the centre of town the bus begins its assent upwards and onwards towards Uru.
As we are on Kilimanjaro it rains a lot and so is green and fertile ? there are lots of banana and coffee trees here. Just before the bus finally gives up, we pass a huge, ancient, Roman Catholic church, which seems so out of place in this setting.The bus finally shudders to a halt but the journey is not yet over.
From here, there is another fifteen to twenty minute walk. Ever upwards, there is no flat ground here it is either up or down and on this leg of the journey this normally means walking uphill.There are some spectacular views to be glimpsed through the trees of Moshi Town far far bellow. It is cooler up here and so very quiet. I love to visit this place no tourists at all.
Everyone is so friendly and you really feel you are experiencing something special; something that not many tourists get to see.There are still some large traditional houses here, made from dried banana leaves ? no windows, one door only and a chimney up through the centre of this traditional house. Usually there will be four rooms inside; it is dark and very smoky.The higher you go the more the trees begin to thin as you approach the tree line. It is hard to take it all in.
The culture, the greenness, African mountains are just so very special. Be careful to look where you walk and where you stand. Avoid the lines of large ants you may see scurrying back and forth ? they travel in straight lines and should you inadvertently stand on one of these lines - the ants [large ants] will climb up your legs and begin to chew. Just keep an eye out for them.
A few hours spent here, exploring the small paths that wind up and down the mountainside is well worth the effort of the walking. It is also an enjoyable experience to have lunch with a local family before returning down the mountain. This is a cultural visit but without being contrived in any way. You experience this cultural without realizing you were ever on a cultural visit.The only cost incurred is a gift to the family with whom you share a meal. In the west, we give flowers or chocolates ? here gifts that are more practical are appreciated.
Life is hard so giving something practical will be remembered and cherished..Bethel Adventures is a non-profit making charity who work in the communities of Northern Tanzania. http://www.betheladventure.
co.uk we use tourism to change lives. A photograph of a house made from banana leaves in Uru village is on our website on the contact us page - thanking you for your continued support.
By: Ian Williamson