Moshi is home to two main cultural groups, the Chagga and the Maasai. However most Maasai are employed as watchmen or are selling traditional medicines, their real homes are further north.
Usually you will be able to find people with a decent command of English, but people appreciate it if you are able to use a bit of the native language, Swahili. It is recommended to invest in a Swahili phrasebook.
To get into Tanzania you will first need to obtain a visa. This can be done in your home country by finding an embassy or consulate, or when you arrive in the airport or at a border crossing.
Kilimanjaro National Airport (IATA: JRO) is approx 30 mins from Moshi and Taxis and Buses are available from each. An approximate cost would be 60,000 TSH, though this all depends on your bartering skills! Flights come from various non-domestic destinations, and this is how most tourists arrive.
Flying into Nairobi, Kenya (NBO) is significantly less expensive than Kilimanjaro, however you will need a Kenyan transit visa and it is an 8 hour bus ride to Moshi.
Buses arrive in Moshi from all of the main cities in Tanzania, and this is the cheapest way to travel. Dar Express bus lines run from Dar es Salaam to Moshi (and beyond/vice versa) at a cost of 17,000 TSH one way and takes around 8 hours. There are other bus lines such as Scandinavian. Buses also go to Arusha, Mwanza, Tanga, Mbeya, Dodoma and Nairobi. All prices are worth bartering for - be aware that the locals will get massively lower prices! The bus station is extremely chaotic, however this can be used to your advantage as it means many drivers are vying for your fare.
Scandinavian bus lines has a website with detailed information regarding routes and prices.
No need to do anything other than walk within the city, though it is advised not to be walking around at night for your own safety. There are Taxis, but they are almost always stationary. As always, negotiate a price before getting in (most fares shouldn't cost more than a couple of dollars). Dalla dallas can also be used to go to the outskirts, or to all the villages in the surroundings, to Machame and Marangu for instance, and are very cheap (less than a dollar). You will be sharing the minibus with up to 30 other people though.
To hire your own Land Cruiser and driver is around 100,000 TSH a day.
There are several banks and ATMs located along Boma Road leading from the Clock tower and the major bank, NBC, is located directly opposite the Clock tower, however NBC usually has long lineups and frequent power outages. They all accept international debit cards accredited with the plus logo, and accept VISA credit cards. They deal in local currency, the Tanzanian Shilling (TSH). An approximate exchange rate is $1 USD = 1200 TSH. To convert currencies there are several foreign exchange offices near the banks.
This is probably the cheapest place to buy any souvenirs, as the big 'out-of-town' places for tourists hideously overprice things. There are lots of fabric shops up and down the main street, as well as tourist shops selling carvings and paintings. If you do get hassled by street sellers, do not be afraid!! Their only interest is to sell you something, and the best deals can usually be got from them.
The market is fantastic, and should be thoroughly explored. It consists of many narrow alleyways selling fruit, vegetables, meat, dried fish, general household stuffs, tapes, clothes, and of course the cheapest souvenirs (A drum costing TS30,000 in the main streets would cost TS5,000 here). Located on the double roads near Chagga Street
There are several bookstores but most deal primarily with school and religious texts. There are many stationary shops with everything you could need.
Make sure to pick up some cassettes of local music, though you'll probably appreciate them more once you're back home.
Generally speaking there isn't a lot buy, but a lot to look at. If you've just been up Kili, the 'Just done it' t-shirts are probably worth a look! Or if you've spent a lot of time drinking, you might want to pick up a Safari or Kilimanjaro Lager tshirt!
There isn't very much to see in Moshi, the market can be fun to visit, even if you're not interested in buying something.
There are many religious temples, most notably the mosque near the center of town.
Visit the Commonwealth War Cemetery located opposite the magistrates court.
Visit the former German administration office located between Kilimanjaro Co-operative Bank and BP petrol station on Mawenzi Road/Nyerere Road. You can still see the metal pillar which was used for hanging the unfortunate.
There are several smaller communities outside of the main town of Moshi that are worth taking a look around.
Following Kibo Road north out of Moshi you will come to the YMCA and will be in Shantytown which is an area of relative wealth. Several restaurants are located out here as well as a few hostels and hotels.
Following Station Road out of Moshi to the east you will be in Majengo, a significantly worse off area than main Moshi.
Following Boma Road out of town to the west you will be in Soweto which has many more expensive homes, and is also home base for a large European volunteer organization. There is the FalconCrest Hotel and Pub, as well as the Scorpion Pub for a night out. There is a good market near the Scorpion Pub.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is the obvious reason for being in Moshi. Safari is also essential, and Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara National Park and Arusha National Park are within a fairly easy distance. Tours can be arranged through several companies, and it is advisable to use common sense when finding a company. Your best bet is to ask other tourists who they used. Do not deal with a random person on the street, look for a real office! There is Eco Tours located near the Clock Tower on the main road. Also there is the Porters Association located near the Kindoroko Hotel on the double road at Chagga St. Ask your accommodation for a referral to a safari company. You can also book ahead of time but you will be spending a lot more. Foot 2 Afrika and Maasai Moja have websites to check out.
Cultural trips to Maasai villages are very worthwhile and informative, but be aware most of the villages are not authentic.
Day trips to Marangu Waterfalls are often fun, you can stand underneath the waterfall, even jump off one and go swimming. Day trips to Lake Nyumba ya Mungu can also be interesting, lots of local fishing culture, aloe vera plantations and sugar cane plantations. There is also a snake park and camel riding centre in nearby town Arusha. These can be arranged individually by taking a bus or organizing with a safari company.
Walking tours across the rice paddys make for a nice day and you can also visit the local forest to see some monkeys! These are usually arranged through a safari company but are significantly less expensive as you are only paying for a single guide.
Remember that when you pay for safari most goes to cover park fees, lodging, food and gas. The guide gets little money, especially when working for a large organization; most of their income is from tips. Also, if you are traveling with a cook it is a good rule of thumb to tip them as well or to incorporate their wages into the overall tip. For example, on a 3 day safari an estimated tip would be $50 for each, though if you're traveling with more people this amount is to be divided amongst everyone and if traveling for an extended period of time it would be recommended to tip more. A well paid guide is a happy guide, who will try their hardest and give you the best experience.
Skydive Kilimanjaro, Tel/Fax +255 (0) 27 2751013, Cel +255 (0) 787 640511, . A popular skydiving company run by a nice married couple.
Even if you aren't getting a bus, the bus station is worth visiting for it's chaoticness. It is highly recommended to take a daladala just to be able to say you have, and no doubt you will have an adventure.
Moshi is also home to several volunteer organizations though they tend to be very overpriced and badly managed. However, there are many opportunities to volunteer in orphanages, schools and women's centers without being connected to these organizations. Light in Africa is a locally managed orphanage (separate for babies, girls & boys), school and dispensary, they have a very informative website, but be warned, you must be dedicated if you are to help out here! Moyo Mmoja is a women's center open only to fellow women to volunteer.
If wanting to just have a relaxing day in Moshi it is recommended to head to the Impala Hotel where you can relax by the lovely pool (in your bikini and whatnot without fear!) and also enjoy a meal pool side. The cost to hang out by the pool and to go swimming is 3,000 TSH. Meals cost around 5,000TSH.
Another good place to go swimming is the YMCA located a bit north of town, and has a large, deep pool. However this is owned (curiously) by a Muslim man and women must dress very conservatively (no bikinis! must wear shorts & tshirt).
Most restaurants offer a variety of food and range in price from 2000 TSH upwards to 8000 TSH for a meal.
Restaurants in Moshi:
IndoItaliano, in town opposite the Buffalo Hotel. Good pizza, nice balcony location for lunch or dinner,
the Salzburger Cafe, Kenyatta Street. Somewhat like a steakhouse, decent food but limited menu. restaurant has volkswagen decor and waitresses wear leopard print outfits, quite interesting.
Deli Chez, Hill Street. Usually a lunch time destination but is open for dinner, a bit expensive, located on Hill Street
Coffee Shop, Hill Street (in the center of town near Deli Chez). The favoured lunch time location for tourists, good soup, spaghetti, milkshakes, very fair prices, and near internet cafes; the coffee shop will also bake cakes on order (for birthdays and such)
Tanzanian Coffee Shop, Chagga Street. The alternative lunch option, very good bagels and fruit & veggie plates, excellent smoothies.
There are also many other nameless restaurants that serve as decent lunchspots, you should look for a busy restaurant, that's always a good sign. If wanting to try the local food ask for ugali (translates as stiff porridge, a bit bland but harmless) or wali (beans and rice).
Pub Alberto offers bbq at night inside the pub near the dance floor but it is a bit sketchy.
Heading along the road of the banks and Immigration office there is Abba Ali's Hot Bread Shop that sells excellent bread, honey, donuts and other deserts, especially nice cakes. Opposite the bakery is Aleem's Grocer, a decent grocery store.
A great place to buy groceries is at the local market, which can be found easily from the double roads or the alleyway by the Tanzanian Coffee Shop on Chagga St.
Restaurants outside Moshi:
Panda Chinese, off Lema Road in Shantytown. Run by the only Chinese family in Moshi, decent food, ideal for large groups, a favourite of tourists for dinner.
El Rancho, off Lema Road in Shantytown. Indian food, good dinner location.
Italian Passion, near town. Good wine, decent food, dinner.
Impala Hotel Ideal for a Sunday afternoon of sitting by the pool and taking lunch.
As Moshi is situated on the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro it is largely populated by members of the Chagga tribe. Chaggas are known for their keen business sense, their warm hospitality and their love of a good drink, so getting a beer in Moshi is rarely much of a problem! In the daytime and early evening you can head to the Police mess, The East Africa Bar, the KNCU restaurant (up on the top floor of the KNCU building) or the Siesta inn (a 15 minute walk from the main street). All these places serve food so you can keep your stomach lined as you sip a few of the fine local beers (don't bother with european imports - they're no better than the local stuff, but considerably more expensive).
Some of the local beers are Kilimanjaro, Safari and Tusker. The most common local liquor is Konyagi.
Glacier is a nice outdoors pub usually with local music nights. Mostly meant for group nights out to sit around the fire and a favourite spot for tourists. Located off Lema Road in Shantytown.
If you feel the need to keep the party going into the small hours then you'll need to make your way to Pub Alberto opposite the KNCU building on Kibo Road. Open until around 3:30am, Pub Alberto enjoys a reputation as something of a seedy dive. Indeed, the dance floor is usually a writhing mass of tourists, local people having a good night out, and ladies of negotiable virtue touting for business! If you do go to Pub Alberto then leave your valuables at home and only take the money you'll need for a good night's drinking. It's not as bad as some people make out and as long as you're sensible you'll have a fantastic night!
Hostel Hoff, +255 (0) 787 225 908, . ($15 /night) Only Western style hostel in Moshi, run by an Irish woman. Very clean rooms, price includes dinner. Also provides links to local places if interested in volunteering without paying steep costs. Partnered with safari company Foot 2 Afrika.
Kilimanjaro Backpackers, Double Rd near Chagga Street, +255 27 2755159, . ($4-14 /night) Formerly known as Hotel Da Costa. Clean, simple, and cheap rooms. Avoid eating there, but stay as long as you can.
Kindoroko Hotel, +255 27 2754054/2750082, . ($15-48 /night) Located on double road. Good view of Mt. Kilimanjaro from roof-top bar. Internet cafe.
The Keys Hotel, +255 (27) 275 2250, . Fantastic place to stay, rates are negotiable, but the staff are really friendly, and they do great packages for climbing Kilimanjaro and safaris. Worth a stay with them.
Impala Hotel, just outside Moshi, +255-27-2502962, . ($80-213 /night) Very modern and is a recognized chain across Tanzania. Has a lovely pool and wonderful food.
Buffalo Hotel, Tel: +255 27 2751754, . ($10-15 /night) Cheap but decent. Try to get a room on one of the upper floors, on the lower floors people can walk in through the bar, so your stuff isn't so safe inside your room.
Sal Salinero Villa Kilimanjaro ($65-$120 /night) has most facilities, good relaxing beautiful gardens with pool.
Protea Hotel Aishi ($120-145 /night) outside of Moshi in Machame
There are several hospitals and dispensaries, most notably KCMC. However to even see a doctor you have to pay around 50,000TSH. There are other clinics in Moshi but again there is usually a charge just for admittance. If you travel just outside Moshi to the village of Soweto there is St. Joseph's Hospital (10 minutes by taxi), run by nuns, and you only pay for tests and medication.
There are many different religious centers, a large mosque is present in town, there is a prominent Catholic Diocese, a Sikh Temple, plus many others. There are many churches which have both English and Swahili services.
There are dental services in town, just look around. There are also optometrists with very decent prices for glasses!
The Immigration office is located up Boma Rd from the Clock Tower, just a bit further than the banks. You can renew visas here.
Moshi does not have a large Muslim population but it is also a popular tourist destination so most will not be offended by your clothing choices. However, for women, it is recommended to cover up for your own sake because you will get bothered by local men.
There is a post office near the Clock Tower on Market St. for mailing letters and packages, you can also rent a p.o.box. Stamp prices to Europe are 600 TSH, to Canada/US they are 800 TSH. There is also a DHL office opposite the Dar Express office on Station Rd.
There are several internet cafes in town, two are located Hill Street near the Coffee Shop, Duma (beside The Coffee Shop) and Fahari cyber cafes. Located near the Clock Tower is one called EasyCom. Rates for usage vary, but usually around 1000 TSH per hour.
If your phone operates on GSM 900/1800 and uses a SIM card then you can buy a Tanzanian SIM card (Vodacom or CelTel) (cost is 1000 TSH). You can also buy a phone locally for around $50. You have to prepay for minutes by buying credit.
You can get to Zanzibar in one day, if you take the early bus (6.30am) to Dar es Salaam, operated by Dar Express, and from there take the ferry at 16.00pm to Stone Town. The Dar Express office is located near the clock roundabout on Station Rd, opposite the Kahawa house.
Don't save too much money on the bus, since the cheaper companies often don't have so high safety standards, and you don't want to risk having a drunk driver.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!