Backpacking Through Tanzania

Mwenye radhi hasumbuki
He who is blessed is not disturbed.

If you’ve spent some time on my blog, you’ll know I’m no stranger to solo backpacking travel. If you’re new here, however, please feel free to look at my blog posts on Backpacking through East Africa, and my time spent in Diani. I’m a devoted, enthusiastic advocate of travel across East Africa, and if anything, I hope the pictures I show you and stories I tell of my travels will inspire you to get out of your comfort zone.

In December 2020, I haphazardly packed my things and set off on a backpacking trip southwards into and through Tanzania. For most of 2020 we were not able to travel, and this undoubtedly affected me mentally. I say this because I find it rather arduous to sit in the same place for an extended period of time without getting up and engaging in activities that require me to exert energy. I’m still trying to do some introspection to find out why I’m like this, but it may have something to do with not wanting to be alone with my thoughts, and needing to distract myself with the world’s wonders (I’m working on it though, I promise).

Usambara Mountains

Sidebar: before taking this trip to Tanzania, I had also gone on a backpacking trip a few months prior, walking from Diani to the Kenya/Tanzania border with a few friends (that post is soon to come).

I try as much as possible to video document my activities to compile a vlog of some sort, but honestly, video documenting demands an amount of consistency that I do not possess. I do far better with writing, and I hope you enjoy my documentation in blog form.

From Nairobi, I went down to Arusha, then to the Usambara Mountains in Lushoto. Mind you, I spent a cumulative 10 hours on a bus to get to my destination. It was a tedious and tiresome journey, but the end absolutely justified the means, because the views were something out of a East African fairytale. Travelling by bus can be dreary, but if you’re like me and you want to see the views, meet new people, all while saving a pretty penny, then bus travel is something you should get into.

Usambara Mountains

The mountains to me are like the ocean, in that they both make me feel to minuscule, and my problems trivial in the grand scheme of things. Swimming underneath the waterfalls, hiking the mountains for 6 hours (yes, six), and eating the mouth watering local cuisine was the best way I could have ended my year. I spent a few days in the Usambara Mountains exploring the mountains and valleys, reflecting, and doing some writing.

My favorite part about backpacking is immersing myself into the culture of the place. I had one of the best tour guides who showed me around the mountains as if it was his home (which it was). I’m always interested in knowing especially how a place got its name, and what the indigenous name means in the local languages.

I also want to discuss in this blog post the homesickness I felt while in Tanzania. Granted, this was not the first time I was away from home, but it was the first time I almost turned around halfway through the trip because I felt lonely. If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably might have seen my stories showing the picturesque, fertile, vast landscape. What you might not have seen me post, though, was how alone I felt. I was looking at the map and whenever I saw how far away from Nairobi I was, my heart sank. I’m not writing this to discourage you from going on solo backpacking trips, quite the opposite. I’m writing this to tell you that solo backpacking WILL build your character, and it will teach you the art of being alone.

I want to give myself a huge shout out though, because I managed to get it together and finish my trip in Tanzania by getting from the Mountains down to Dar es Salaam (a further 7 hours spent on a bus).

What can I say about Dar? It’s really the sunset view for me. On all my evenings there I went back to this same spot pictured below, and I sat there for 2 hours watching the sun going down.

sunset in Dar es Salaam

I have plans of returning to Tanzania, and this time even making it as far as Zanzibar.

I also just want to acknowledge how beautiful of a language Kiswahili is. Maybe I should translate this blog post to Swahili as well? A future activity to consider. I am most particularly excited about visiting Tz because I know I will be forced to speak Kiswahili 25/8, which is something I always look forward to. It is without doubt the language of love.

Before you go!

Have you listened to my song SAD GIRL HOURS? If not, please give it a listen here, or stream on any of your favorite streaming platforms!

Connect with me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or email me machariamumbi1[@]gmail.com

Published by mumbimacharia

Performing spoken word poet, writer, event curator, East African.

2 thoughts on “Backpacking Through Tanzania

  1. Love what you’re doing Mumbi! Africa needs to be explored more often and I love your showcasing of picturesque destinations in East Africa.

    As for Swahili, I think they’re plugins that can translate content automatically of some sort. Not quite sure if it’s the same thing as Google Translate.

    Cheers to more adventures and amazing “spoken wordness.”

    Like

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