BootsnAll Travel Network

Warming up the legs in Machame Village

Yesterday my friend Lisa and I went up to Machame Village and hiked around in the hills for about 5 hours. The day trip was arranged for me by KPAP, and when we got to the village we were met by Frederick, one of the porters on the Machame route up Kili. Our plan for the day was to hike from the village up to Machame Gate, back down to the village for lunch at Frederick’s house, and then hike around the village for a while before catching the dalla dalla (a minivan bus) back into Moshi. Most villagers here walk everywhere, and each village seems to have hundreds of kilometers of footpaths. On the way up to the gate we hiked through acres and acres of gardens growing beans, sweet potatoes, corn, cabbage, and who knows what else. Growing among the gardens were thousands of banana trees, coffee plants, and avacado trees. The hills around Kilimanjaro a full of little rivers and streams that run off the mountain, and the soil is very rich and dense. Things seem to grow like crazy here.

After hiking through the garden valleys, we started to ascend into the mountain forests. It was surprising how much it reminded me of hiking through some of the timber forests back home in Oregon. Only you don’t see too many Eucalyptus trees in Oregon. We also saw Cypress, Camphor, and Caravallio trees. Some of these trees are very valuable as timber for building. After hiking for almost two hours, we arrived back on the main road at Machame Gate, one of the entrances into Kilimanjaro National Park and the beginning of one of the main routes up Mt. Killimanjaro. The large gate and surrounding buildings stood in sharp contrast to the plain and simple homes in the village below. We spent a few minutes at the gate, then continued our hike back down into the village. On the way to Frederick’s house we stopped and saw a couple of the waterfalls nearby, and near one of the falls we stopped to see a Chagga cave that had been carved into the hillside. I’m not sure how old these caves are, but I was told that these caves were built by the Chagga tribesmen (the Chagga tribe is the dominant tribe around Machame and Mt. Kilimanjaro) as a place to hide when they were invaded by the Masai. The cave we visted was small in size, yet large enough to stand up in. They were built to hold entire families and some of their animals, and were positioned by the waterfalls so that the falls would help disguise the smoke from their fires.

After seeing the falls and the cave, we went to Frederick’s home, where his mother, Mama Nsia, had prepared us a nice lunch of rice and beans. To go with lunch we had Chai tea, and some bananas and avacados fresh from the tree. We visited for a while, then took of again to head back down into the village. From Frederick’s house, we hiked into the village again and saw some of the town. We passed several houses, most small and modest, others larger and fancier. We walked across a soccer field where several cows were grazing, and in the corner was a tall cell phone tower. Strange, but understandable. While we were walking down one of the roads, a chicken ran out from under a bush and took off across the road in front of us. I watched it for a moment, hoping to finally get an answer to that age old question.

Before leaving the village and catching the dalla dalla back to Moshi, we hiked down to a nearby river and back. Again, looking at the river and surrounding forests, it was crazy how much it reminded me of home. However, I’m sure once I go on safari in a couple of weeks and am surrounded by hyenas and wildebeest, I’ll feel a little different.

Village Gardens

Tiny Bananas and Big Avacados

Mama Nsia & Frederick

They’ve got great cell phone reception in Machame Village

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Looks a lot like Oregon, doesn’t it?

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