A Budget Backpacker's Guide to Moshi
Jul 15, 2004

I spent a month in Moshi and thought I'd share some of my favorite places.

1100 Shillings = 1 US dollar (approx.)

(1) New Tamamu Bar and Guesthouse - Huge double rooms with private bath and balcony for only 3000 shillings.  There are no blankets, the hot water only works sporadically, and the bar downstairs is loud until 11pm, but the hotel is great for the price.  The staff is super-friendly.  Order traditional Chagga food from the restaurant.  Try the cows leg soup ("Makongoro").  It's only 300 shillings, and it's an experience you won't forget.  Where else can you find adventure for the price of a soda?

(2) KKKT Umoja - Good clean double rooms (shared bath) for 5000 shillings.  A quiet location, and a nice place to stay.  The only problem is that it's a Lutheran guesthouse, so it's a bit dull. The restaurant has good solid meals starting at 1000 shillings.  The fish is usually excellent.  Mashed potatoes are not on the menu, but you can substitute them for your rice or chips.

(3) Dirt Pit - The cheapest place in town!  Chai, chapatis, and bread for only 50 shillings.  I don't have another name for this place, but "dirt pit" describes it well.  The women selling the food are friendly and excited to have tourists dropping by.  The sanitary standards may be a bit questionable, but none of my friends got sick eating here.

(4) Ethiopia Restaurant - If you're on a budget and tired of rice, ugali and chips, the Ethiopia restaurant is a nice change.  Their deep fried rolls, containing eggs and meat make a nice small dinner for 400 shillings.

(5) Big Bite - Tasty grilled beef kabobs ("mishikaki") for 100 shillings.  The mishikaki are small, so you should order at least 3 or 4.  For a late dinners, I recommend mishikaki "to go" and then walking around the corner to eat them with All-Night chapatis. 

(6) All-Night Chapati - The best chapatis in town, and very reasonably priced at only 100 shillings.  Chai and coffee are 50 shillings.  It's a bit hard to find, but look for guys standing on the sidewalk around a small fire.  They open at 8:30pm and don't close until sunrise.  It's the perfect stop after drinking at Pub Alberto.

(7) Chagga Grill - A slightly upscale, local restaurant with friendly service.  Bring a small group and order the chicken platter; It's damn good.  With a couple of sides, dinner is about 1300 shillings per/person plus drinks.  The prices never seem to match up with the menu, but don't let that bother you, as the total is always very reasonable.  Slow service, so show up well before you're hungry.

Guacamole recipe:

2 large avocados
1 tomato
1 small onion
1 small lime

De-seed and peel the avocado.  Mash it with a spoon into a cup or bowl.  Chop the tomato and onion.  Mix them into the avocado.  Add lime juice and salt to taste.  Fantastic with chapatis.

(8) Safari Supermarket - To save money on a safari, or mountain climb, bring your own food.  Safari market is a convenient place to pick up some of those supplies.  Mmmmmm....  peanut butter and jelly.  Buy fruits and vegetables across the street at the market.

(9) The Market - Fantastic fruit and vegetables are very cheap in the market.  Venture into the middle of the market for local prices.  For some reason, the ladies selling vegetables on the street overcharge tourists by 3 times the local price.  Avocados are a steal for only 100 shillings.

(10) Fahari Cyber Cafe - The cheapest internet in town - 800 shillings per hour.  Sajjad, the owner, is a nice guy.  He can can help you with computer problems, and also burns photos to CD for 2500 shillings.

(11) Fatma Centre (The _other_ coffee shop) - This place is great.  It's where the locals drink coffee ("Kahawa").  Good, strong coffee served in espresso sized cups for 25 shillings.  Open from 6am to Noon, and 4pm to 8pm.

(12) Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project - These people do good work.  Drop by and talk to them about their projects, and make sure that your tour operator does not abuse porters.  They also have opportunities for interesting off-the-beaten path adventures.  They'll arrange home-stays, very short term (1+ days) volunteer opportunities and cooking lessons.  There is a 5000 shillings per day charge for these activities, but 80% of the money goes directly towards helping people.

(13) Shree Hindu Mandal Clinic - The doctor here is good, and speaks perfect English.  There is no reason to go outside of town for medical services.  A consult costs 500 shillings.  A stool test or malaria test is only 300 shillings.  East Africa has a lot of Malaria.  If you have any reason to suspect that you have malaria (flu like symptoms, fever, joint aches), then you should get a malaria test immediately; at 300 shillings there is no reason not to.  The pharmacy here also seems to be the cheapest in town.

(14) Police Mess - I recommend this place mostly for the bizarre L-shaped pool table.  You should come by and play a couple of games (300 shillings/game).  The food is not the best in town, but it's decent, and reasonably priced.  Beef and rice is 700 shillings.  They speak no English, so bring your phrase book.  It is a good scene - full of people every day. 

(15) Pub Alberto - It's not budget, but I can't leave Moshi's one dance club out of this guidebook.  If you're in Moshi on a Friday or Saturday, then you must go to Pub Alberto.  Everyone, tourists and locals, shows up.  Cover charge is 2000 shillings.  Beer is 1000 shillings.  Be warned; there is a dress code.  Sandals are also not allowed.  Neither are men with cutoff shirt sleeves. 

(16) Imperial Restaurant - There is nothing "imperial" about this restaurant.  But, they do serve good food at very cheap prices.  Beef with rice, vegetables, and beans is only 500 shilling.  The menu is only in Swahili, so bring a phrase book.

(17) YMCA - A bit outside of town.  The food is good and cheap.  On a clear day, there is a great view of Kilimanjaro from the restaurant.  I'd especially recommend the jam pancake for 300 shillings.  Be warned though, service is ridiculously slow.  By prepared to wait almost an hour for any food.

(18) Hollywood - A good local bar and restaurant.  The chips egg scramble ("Chips Mayai") is excellent for only 500 shillings.

(--) Moshi View & Uhuru Hostel - I haven't tried these.  However, multiple people have recommended them to me.  I thought I'd pass along the recommendations.  I've been told that they have excellent food at very cheap prices. 

Banana Beer - One final word of advice.  I'd recommend not trying the Banana Beer ("Mbege").  It seems to be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and amoeba.  Two of my friends tried it and almost died.  Marianne got spinal meningitis after trying some Mbege.  Tim got an intestinal amoebic infection which months later turned into an extremely dangerous amoebic liver abscess.

Bill Welsh - Sept 15, 2004

Great site Adam.
I taught at Moshi Tech.  School for two years - a long time ago.
One of my sons was born in Mawenzie hospital.
I would like to re-visit.


Yeah, Moshi is a great little town. 

Well...  other than all the coke and pepsi signs.  *sigh* [ Link ]


yigavicent - Oct 15, 2004


George Bush - Nov 25, 2004

world domination is close at hand

zuni - Feb 11, 2005

Thanks ..  GREAT info and I will take some of your advice in hand when i go there.  At 100 shillings to a US 1.  It certainly is NOT so cheap.  I am a 20 + veteran traveller of SE Asia and India....  so it comes shocking to see the costs of Africa.  I only know West Africa from a few years ago. 


Oooops.  There was a problem with the formatting on this page which made the exchange rate look like 100 shillings to the dollar.  The exchange rate is actually 1100 shillings to the dollar and local food is _very_ cheap in Moshi.


ben rood - Mar 01, 2005

awesome site mate,
have you heard of royal crown hotel?


Sorry....  never heard of the Royal Crown hotel. 


Walter - Mar 25, 2005

great guide of moshi.  unfortunately i discovered only after my stay in tanzania.  my experience in tanzania (kilimanjaro, serengeti, ngorongoro, moshi, dar es salaam), made in february 2005, was great and i certainly will go back.

good luck for your adventure, i will follow it in order to find my next destination for a trip. 


yan - May 29, 2005

Great information!  I am planning to go to Moshi in Octomber this year.  I am going to stay for 20days.  What is the minimum amount of money I should bring?  Can I find an accomondation below 10pounds pernight with clean room and bathroom?  Really appreciate your reply...

mzibo - Jun 09, 2005

also try el rancho and impala hotel for upmarket restaurants.  Though they are expensive (most dishes are approx 4000Tshs)

Yan - most hotels in town are cheap and surprisingly very clean and have tourists staying there the following come to mind:
-the eland - clean and lively
-newcastle hotel
-theres a hotel across the street from pub alberto whose name i forget...

for 10 pounds you can get a suite :)...complete with satellite tv, and lounge annex.

If you go to arusha and dont mind camping stay at masai camp (especially at the weekends) and go to the colobus after...youll have a hell of a good time.

ANTOINE JM - Aug 23, 2005


I enjoy reading your articles.  Please post more.
Any similar info on Kampala.  Will be there for 2 weeks in October.

Stefan Hannevig - Feb 28, 2006

the information provided will come in handy.  We are setting out for kili and have planned a five day stay in moshi when we are done.  Do you have any thoughts on arusha, we might go there for a day or two.

thanks again


Sorry, but I didn't like Arusha very much.  It had none of the small-town-charm that Moshi has.

Enjoy your climb!


judi - Aug 20, 2006

Thanks for a clear guide to Moshi.  I am planning to visit next year and will now spend most of my time in Moshi, not Arusha.  How many clear days are there for viewing Kili from Moshi??

Jean - Sept 13, 2006

Well done!  Sounds like tips from a friend.  I am going to Moshi for 2 weeks in January 2007.  Happy travels!

PATEL HITESH - Dec 14, 2006

Give more detail information about MOSHI
I am comming in Moshi 24th December
Who like to play bedminton ?  I like
Who play chess in MOSHI ?  I play or like
Give me more Sentence in ENGLISH TO SWAHILI
I study SWAHILI language

PATEL HITESH - Dec 14, 2006

Give more detail information about MOSHI
I am comming in Moshi 24th December
Who like to play bedminton ?  I like
Who play chess in MOSHI ?  I play or like
Give me more Sentence in ENGLISH TO SWAHILI
I study SWAHILI language
MY MAIL ID malvaniya143hitesh@yahoo.co.in

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