Tanzania: Support Architecture Volunteers with The Backyard Hostel, Moshi

The Backyard Hostel

Address: Uru Road box 8817, Moshi, Tanzania
Website: http://backyardhostel.org/

Just about one and a half hours away from Arusha, I took the local bus to Moshi. The ride was terrible and I can never forget those moments when I was off my seat and went straight to the ceiling because of the bumpy roads. Moshi’s weather was a bit chiller than in Arusha but lifestyle ain’t the same. I could see that the amount of tourists wandering in Moshi was much more than in Arusha.

I was invited to come to Moshi and to stay with The Backyard Hostel. It is not so far from the main bus station, about 20 minute walk and pretty easy to find. Unlike other hostels I have stayed before, Backyard Hostel is just a simple hostel with a small scale and a simple design. Entering the colourful painted gate, you find a big backyard with a giant giraffe leading to the open bar of the hostel and the reception. Nothing spectacular, but Backyard Hostel impressed me with its vibrant and friendly atmosphere. They only have 7 beds including 1 double bedroom but the space is pleasant and fully equipped.


What special about The Backyard Hostel?

The Backyard Hostel is under an NGO organisation called C-re-aid.

“C-re-aid mostly works with people living in villages around Tanzania. People are used to built here without regulations or any form of planning. Because of development changes and modern influences, for example decrease of wood use because of deforestation or introduction of the corrugated roof sheet, traditional architecture is disspearing. Currently built houses are not built with the knowledge and cultural meanings of the vernacular architecture but are often built fast, unsustainable, not safe and unhygienic because of the lack of knowledge. This contributes to negative factors that can cause poverty. C-re-aid wants to provide architectural interventions for people in these situations. By smart designs and innovative building techiques using local materials the current houses and buildings can be improved without increasing the costs.”About C-re-aid

Every year C-re-aid brings volunteers from all over the world to come to Tanzania to join hand in developing and renovating houses in this country. The Backyard Hostel is one small business from C-re-aid which supports the organisation.

It is not just a budget hostel for travellers but staying with The Backyard Hostel is also a way to support C-re-aid and their projects on making Tanzanian people’s lives better. So whenever you are in Moshi, why don’t you give a bit of yourself to the country you are travelling in by a small action.

12 Day Safari North East Tanzania Itinerary

So many people have dreamt to be on a safari and I got that chance to do so for 10 days in the beautiful country Tanzania. It was a 12-day wonder with full of excitement, heaps of new things to learn about, getting to know Tanzanian people and their culture, and the most fascinating activity was to be in the wild watching animals running free.

To be honest, if you ever plan to be on a safari to see wild animals, 4 to 5 days are enough to see most of them and to experience the safari without exhaustion. However, if you plan to be in Tanzania for a short period to learn about this country, 12 days ain’t enough. My stay included 17 days and I spent most of the time in Arusha. 12 days of my stay, I was on a safari with Heri Africa Tours and Safari to not only see wild animals but also part of the culture of Tanzania.


Duration of stay: 1 day 

To read: First impressions of Tanzania


Arriving at Kilimanjaro, Heri Africa team picked me up and welcomed me to their lodge. With just a few hours, I was already overwhelmed by how different our cultures are. Spending a day in Arusha to walk around to local markets and visit several quarters of the city, I got great impressions on Tanzania then which were absolutely positive and they made me so excited to explore more from this country.


Lake Manyara

Duration of stay: 4 days

To read: Lake Manyara 

                 Mto Wa Mbu


The next day, we all departed from Arusha to Lake Manyara. It would be about 1 and a half hour drive if you are lucky not to be caught by the ‘police-money’ (a term Tanzanian people use to describe traffic police in Tanzania). Around the area, Manyara National Park is one of popular parks in Tanzania which is known by its great migration of flamingos. The lake itself stands out beautifully that you would be surprised. The lake and its environs is also home to herbivores such as hippos, impalas, elephants, wildebeests, buffalo, warthogs and giraffes

From Manyara, it is easy to reach other places from here. In which, I spent one day to explore a town close by called Mto Wa Mbu and learned about tribes in Tanzania. From Manyara National Park, I also spent a day in Tarangire National Park which is just about 20-30 minutes from Manyara.


Ngorongoro Crater

Duration of stay: 1 day

To read: Ngorongoro Crater


Early morning, we drove further to Ngorongoro Observation Park. From what I had seen so far, Ngorongoro took my breath away. That moment I saw the crater from above, I could not believe my eyes. Til I was in the crater, watching wildebeests running around, elephants crossing roads, the route was like the road to the fantasy world, I had no more words to say. It is certainly my favourite national park I have seen ever.

Serengeti National Park

Duration of stay: 2 days

To read: Serengeti National Park


Located in Tanzania but runs to western Kenya, Serengeti is about 30,000 sqm and is one of the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world. I got a chance to camp overnight there for 2 nights in the middle of the national park where I saw giraffes walking around when I first opened my eyes.


Duration of stay: 2 days

To see: The Rocky town

After a week on a safari, we headed to one of the biggest towns in Tanzania – Mwanza. It is known by the name the Rock City which it is just like it is known for. The city is absolutely beautiful and what got me love the most was the sunset. Mwanza is also known as a fish town and Lake Victoria is the main attraction there.


Duration of stay: 1 night

It wasn’t a full day stay but what I learnt was more than those 10 days on the road. I stayed in a local house in Singhidad, central Tanzania. I got to see how locals live, their traditions, their living standard… It was a precious experience.


On the 12th day, we all went back to Arusha. Even though the trip was speedy but I had seen and learnt so much. From the eastern part of Tanzania, to the north then centre, what I saw was amazing and it was great to get to know another culture.


Tanzania: Serengeti National Park – Camp in the wild in the endless green park

The road was long and it seemed endless. We arrived late in the afternoon when the sun was almost set. I still could not have the hang of that bumpy road but somehow I gotta get used to it. I was nowhere to be called familiar because surrounding was nothing else than two long stripes of green. The grass field ran all the way from where we started to… actually I was not sure where it ended.

It took more than an hour from the gate to our campsite of that night. It was pitch black when we reached our destination but got the flash light on to build our tents. I had camped several times for the last few years but nothing was like it. We had no electricity besides the public kitchen space and public toilets, there was no connection on the phone either. That night was strange because you could not do much in such environment but I was happy to have found some ‘neighbours’ that we could talk the whole night about our adventurous safaris. What strange about it must be knowing that wild animals were around that you wouldn’t know if a lion could jump out of a bush at anytime. That funny feeling I got whenever I went to the toilet and definitely I was scared a bit.

Morning arrived and the sun shined through the thin tent’s curtain. Getting out of my small tent, I spotted a giraffe chilling on the side of the public kitchen having his breakfast. It was real, in front of my eyes, a living wild animal was just right beside me without any hesitation. He startled when I started coming closer and slower walked away. Then, I was ready for my last safari day.

Facts about Serengeti:
Located in Tanzania but runs to western Kenya, Serengeti is about 30,000 sqm and is one of the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world. 

Maybe after being on safaris to Manyara National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, it got quite tiring to sit in the jeep for another few hours being driven around. Serengeti is pretty much different from those two because it is an enormous green field, the surface is flat, and it is extremely big. It is said that it takes at least a week to explore the whole place. Unlike Manyara and Ngorongoro, Serengeti is quite rocky. On those rocks, that’s where you find loads of lions chilling around. Under the warm heat in the middle of the day, lions did not even feel bothered by tons of tourists surrounding them. They were still in their deep sleep.



Website: www.heriafricatours.com
Email: info@heriafricatours.com


Tanzania: Ngorongoro Crater – The magnificence of nature

Just like other day, I woke up early that morning to get ready for a game drive. The sun was hidden by a thick layer of fog covering the view to Ngorongoro from my lodge room’s windows. Too bad, I would never know what it looks like from there. However, it was exciting that I would be in it and see it with my own eyes. ‘What so special about it?’ – I questioned. That destination had come up in several travel sites and all I knew about it was the safari to the crater.

It is said that Ngorongoro is the most expensive National Park. I understood why once I got to one of the view points. On the way, fog covered up the jeep and we could not manage to see the crater from the highest point. The white layer was thick that I barely saw trees around me. But the further down we went, the fog got thinner and the crater was showing up slowly. It was an incredible image that you could not close your mouth when you first see it. Myself could not help but making several videos just to capture Ngorongoro Crater in different dimensions and from different angles. Further away, I saw a group of wildebeests and zebras running on the enormous grass field, elephants were crossing the roads and gaselles were standing in a group enjoying their supper. That was truly a picture of what I had always imagined in my head about the wild – free and wanderlust.

The drive through the crater was wonderful that kept me saying ‘beautiful’ each minute. The grass was green, flowers were growing all over in different colours that made the view in front of me a perfect painting. The water reflected the pink colour to the whole picture that blended a magnificent master piece. And there was a lion lying down on the grass  but she was not tempted by the available food around her or she was sure full enough to be bothered. But how insane was that having all different kinds of wild animals running around in one place and I was a little self in the jeep having my head out of the roof watching them like watching a surreal TV show? Unlike the TV show, I was in it. We kept driving on from one spot to the other. I felt surrounded by the nature that I would wish to be in everyday, and I letted myself go to enjoy that moment.

They say that it looks slightly different in the dry season. Everything would turn grey and sandy. “Then I am happy that I am here during this time. I wouldn’t want to miss this view”. There might be more animals running around but what I had seen was satisfied enough. I didn’t care how many I could see, it was all about seeing the circle of life, the plan that mother of nature has for every single creature.




Website: www.heriafricatours.com
Email: info@heriafricatours.com


Tanzania: The life in Mto Wa Mbu through pictures

It was an eye opened for something that I had never ever known. The whole image of Tanzania is already a big different picture from where I am from and wherever I have been. There in Mto Wa Mbu, that was the first time I got my first lesson about tribes and how they all live. Maybe I could never learn all 120 tribes which are locating in Tanzania but what I know is these tribes have made this country so beautiful and interesting, and they create a great cultural dimension that people are dying to learn about.


Walking through the town and seeing different tribes, it fascinated me by their culture. Some could be quite strange for me but I admire how they have grown their community to be there in Tanzania. From handcraft, art, labour, each tribe contributes what they do best to this country. In such, Makonde tribe has brought a great talent of making wooden sculptures  that I was amazed to look at. Their skilful hands carve several detailed pieces of art that are well-known worldwide. Each sculpture tells a story of their lives which is to be embraced.


What I love the most was running around with kids there. I certainly looked like a tourist to them and made them so interested in me but their smiles put a smile on me too. No matter what tribe they have but they are together giving the town’s atmosphere a breeze of freshness and full of love.


Tanzania: Lake Manyara National Park – Into the wild

It has been my dream to see wild animals running free. I believe that dream is hidden in each one of you too. Having my eyes on Planet Earth all those years and somehow I wondered it was real. And there I was, standing in the jeep watching out from the roof and being overwhelmed by the surreal surroundings because I was in the middle of the jungle where monkeys, impalas, elephants live and stay friends.

That first time seeing animals not being in zoo’s cages, I felt free myself. Spotting zebras running wild in a big grass field made my heart jump indescribably. Either they got the freedom that they deserve, or I was looking at such a beautiful creature for real instead of in front of the television. It turned me into a little child with sparkling eyes staring at them for the longest time. The clock froze and letted me stand still for that second to look at that surreal picture.

A whole day I spent in Manyara National Park and seeked for as many animals as possible. That excitement came continuously when a species passed by. However, this place does not just have animals. Lake Manyara itself is a beautiful creature of nature that stunned me at the first sight. Looking over the lake from Panorama Campsite, I could only say ‘wow’. The mixture of colours, green, pink, yellow, all blend in to make the picture incredibly magnificent. Getting closer to the lake at Hot Spring Manyara, it was a zoom-in to the reality. That view was non-fictionally real after all.




Website: www.heriafricatours.com
Email: info@heriafricatours.com


First impressions of Tanzania

24 hours in the air stopping by 3 airports, I arrived finally in the land of Tanzania. I was prepared to get the cold from Tanzanian weather but the sun was shining bright and warm when I arrived. I landed in Kilimanjaro Airport and there is nothing like I have seen. Planes parked in the middle of the road and we got off and walked to the lobby. 50$ paid for the visa and I was good to go through the custom. People from Heri Africa Tours were waiting for me outside and welcomed me nicely. We took a drive from the airport to Arusha where I would have a night stay before the safari and I couldn’t help but show my excitement when I saw things around there. Fascinating enough, I could not wait for my adventure the coming 2 weeks in this country.

For sure, I felt welcomed here in this country and people there made me so. There were so many things I had learnt just on the first day of my stay that people have to come to Tanzania to see otherwise all your assumptions are just a myth.

Tanzania is green



That fact you can see the moment you was hanging on the air of Tanzania. From the airplane, I was amazed by how endlessly green their country looks from above. Of course, I was told that it would look different when it is in dry season. So let say, I was lucky to come when it was at the greenest. Big parts of the country are national parks which I would be joining in a safari tour to see. However, you would find grass, rice fields, trees growing all over.

Tanzania is wild


Most people come to Tanzania for the safari, to see wild animals. You can call Tanzania wild because of that. But actually, I mean nature made and no touch of modernity. Everything surrounding you is simple with no luxury. Maasai people walk around luring their goats and cows, kids running around their houses giggling with each other…

Tanzanian people are friendly


Maybe because they see me as a tourist but they are welcoming and warm hearted. They always try to make you feel at home and that what I got from Heri Africa Tours. Right on my first day in Tanzania, I got welcomed with the famous dance from Maasai people. Everyone has his or her smile on the face. At that moment, I felt overwhelmed by how special they made me feel and my heart was warm. I felt great to land my feet on this country.


Hospitality and service are over the top


I have travelled to several countries in different continents, nowhere have I got such great hospitality and service than here in Tanzania. No matter where you are, they will help you as much as in their capabilities. And staying in their accommodation, they make you a home, which will always put a smile on you.

Bumpy roads are common


Before landing in Tanzania, be prepared for the roads there. They call it ‘The African massage’. Besides their main roads, Tanzanian roads are most of the time very bumpy. Highways can be smooth but ‘til you entering your accommodation, there your bumps are gonna dance on those seats so get ready for the ride.


People tell me that Africa is dangerous. People tell me that Tanzanians are full of scams. Let me tell you: people in Tanzania are down to earth, they do not care about luxury and they will always welcome you with open arms. Come to Tanzania and see it yourself!