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.
(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.