Alluring Arusha: A Gateway for the Free Spirited!

Arusha

Arusha, the fourth biggest town in Tanzania offers more than a conducive, almost predictable climate; it is the safari capital of northern Tanzania, and acts as the gateway to Mt Meru and Kilimambogo, expeditions to Arusha and Tarangire National Parks, wild safaris in Serengeti as well as experiencing Lake Manyara and the enchanting Maasai culture. The town, originally built in the 1900s as a German garrison has since grown to catch up with other popular Tanzanian cities, and now hosts the East Africa Community Headquarters as well as the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Jovago’s Top 3

Apart from serving as a gateway to most of northern Tanzania’s tourism circuit, Arusha in itself is a multi-faceted city with every contradiction that comes with a rising urban center. The architecture depicts a somehow balanced mélange of colonial, western and local that seem to have long reached a non-written consensus on co-existence. The people are warm and friendly, and whatever the town lacks in infrastructure, it does compensate in its camaraderie and welcoming weather.

Hiking Mount Meru

Mt MeruMount Meru is Africa’s fifth highest mountain at 4,565 meters and renown for charming views and postcard photography for those bold enough to scale the volcanic rocks to the summit. Geography explains the mystique of the intriguing horseshoe shape as stemming from a massive eruption thousands of years ago, leaving a crater in the middle of the once Kilimanjaro-sized giant. This hike can take 3-4 days depending on one’s fitness and ability to acclimatize.

Arusha National Park

Arusha NPArusha National Park is one of the smaller parks in Tanzania, good or bad thing? I’d say it’s an advantage for the Safari enthusiast with limited time and big heart for game! The one-day trip makes for a hustle-free rendezvous with buffaloes, elephants, primates, and many more. Bird watchers will be entertained as well. The topography is just as rewarding with a thick tropical forest, ice-cold turquoise lakes and the popular Ngurdoto crater, all making beautiful picnic sites.

Shanga Shangaa – Africa House

Shanga ShangaaThis is the ultimate, stop, shop and snack hot spot in Arusha. The name is a fair translation to mean ‘amazing necklace’ an item no shopper will leave Shanga Shangaa without. This fantastic place was set up to help people with special abilities earn a living as well as morally support each other. Every product is made of recycled materials, glass, beads and stones giving birth to an authentic and exquisite collection. There’s a café that serves delicious local and Swahili cuisine, you can also wine and dine on the lovely lawns forming a perfect way for a leisurely spent afternoon.

Restaurants

From Chinese dumplings to Swahili mahamri and Italian Pizzas, Arusha does not disappoint. Most of the restaurants are centrally located in the business district with just a few locations in the residential. Njiro road as well as Moshono area are popular for night clubs, but as an experienced club hopper, the locals know best; make friends, and test the cues!

Shopping

The Tanzanite Experience is a must-go zone for best cut stones and some extensive crash-course on the precious pebble. The shop by Maasai Women Development Organization (MWEDO) is great for high quality beadwork. Kase on Boma road has good maps and books on National Parks and Heritage, for the self-caterer, Soko Kuu will do great favors to your kitchen!

Hotels

Whether on a budget-conscious trip, or seeking luxury on the slopes of Mighty Mount Kilimanjaro, Arusha has great considerations for your ledger books! Log on to Jovago-Arusha-Hotels for all your accommodation needs.

Fun Fact

Arusha Clock TowerArusha’s clock tower is believed to mark the midpoint between Cairo and Cape Town-there is a huge deal of disputing bar talk as well as Geographical evidence. Not to worry though, this vibe keeps the locals going, and the region happy to take directions from one of Africa’s most popular clock tower!

Safety: Whether in London, Libreville, Amsterdam or Arusha, being street smart is critical for every newbie. Walk confidently, avoid unnecessary crowds, negotiate like a native and don’t display expensive jewelry, cameras and accessories downtown. You’ll be fine.

Money: Tanzanian Shilling, All International Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard) are accepted in the ATM.

Exchange Rate:  http://www.xe.com/currency/tzs-tanzanian-shilling

Country Code: +255

Main Airport: Arusha is served by two main airports; Kilimanjaro International Airport and Arusha Municipal Airport. The former has a good number of international flights, while the latter is mostly domestic.

Visa Requirement:

http://tanzaniaembassy-us.org/?page_id=76

Jovago.com is an online hotel booking service with offices in Nairobi (Kenya), Lagos (Nigeria), Dakar (Senegal), Doula (Cameroon) and Abidjan (Ivory Coast). The company is founded by Africa Internet Holding and has MTN as one of the investors. Jovago.com, Africa’s No.1 booking portal, facilitates the booking process for its users to provide them with the best hotel booking experience with fast, transparent and easy-to-use services. Jovago.com has over 25,000 local hotel listings across Africa and over 200,000 hotels around the world.
Follow on Twitter: @jovagotravel
Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jovago.com

In The High Dwellings of the God: Climbing Mt. Kenya

Lying unjustly in the shadows of Mt. Kilimanjaro is Mt Kenya, the second on the least of Africa’s tallest mountains. The mountain, once recorded to scale 600 meters above sea level has seen dramatic changes through the years to its current imposing jagged massif. These are the weathered remnants of a large extinct volcano that whos last activity was recorded millions of years ago. The mountain is circled with glacier and capped with snow, despite having straddled the equator on its rise.

Trekkers and climbers can look forward to dramatic vegetation; from bamboo stretches, afro-alpine moorland, tropical forests, grassland, rare giant lobelias and shrubs.  There are five known routes to the peaks, twin peaks of Batian (5199m) and Nelion (5,188m) and the no less dramatic Peak Lenana (4,985m), each calling for tough fitness as well as altitude experience.

Jovago’s Top 3 Routes:

The Naromoru Route

Naromoru RouteThis is the fastest, thus most popular of the routes. Climbers will take between 3-5 days to complete the ascent, mostly having scaled the Lenana Peak. The climb is quite rapid with sharp uphill climbs, which makes it unsuitable for climbers who wish to gain extra time for acclimatization. Although it’s a recommended route for climbers without pressed for time, it’s not as scenic as the other tw. There are several camp sites on the route as well as bandas and huts that should be booked ahead of the climb with the guide’s assistance. Worth of note is the legendary vertical bog, a 9 km stretch of muddy moorland that can get quite unpleasant after the rains.

Chogoria Route

Chogoria RouteLaying to the East of the mountain, Chogoria route has long been considered the most scenic and dramatic of all the three routes. Among other notable features along the route include Lake Michaelson and the spectacular Gorges Valley. The gradient is less sharp, making it more of a hike than an arduous climb. The route is also not as popular, thus a great option for trekkers keen on avoiding the crowds. You may choose to camp along the route, remember the temperatures will go down to -20 or even below, be ready to counter this. The last night just before you scale the summit will most likely be spent at Shipton summit hurt before taking a different route – Sirimon route – on descent to maximize on the experience. Note that Chogoria is the longest route and may take up to 7 days depending on your fitness and time allowance, you will however enjoy the benefits!

Sirimon Route

Sirimon RouteSirimon route is the least trekked path of the popular three, but offers the best acclimatization opportunity. The route can be anything between 54-60 kilometers with very picturesque lining of yellowwood forest. The very gradual trail then leads through moorland patches, beautiful and rare high altitude flowers and lots of wildlife including buffaloes and elephants.

TIPS

Getting Ready

If travelling into the country, you may need an extra day in your itinerary for arrival at Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi and a two-hour drive to the starting point of your climb. Effect this on your departure schedule as well.

Regardless of your preferred route, ensure that you are fit and healthy enough for the challenge. There are numerous reported cases of pulmonary oedema and related ailments by climbers. In case your body says otherwise along the climb, it would be prudent to not take the risk above the clouds.

Your Gear

You can get sleeping gear, camping wear and other odds and ends around the townships. Your guide should also be able to link you up with reliable porters, cooks and any other service staff you may need.

Hotels

Book your hotels on Jovago, and enjoy Book enjoy the township as well as other activities such as the Mount Kenya National Park. Check available hotels on

www.jovago.com

Fun Fact

Agikuyu HomeThe Agikuyu tribe of Kenya, who live around the mountain have a firm belief that God – commonly referred to as Ngai lives on the mountain. Thus, they traditionally built their huts facing the hallowed mountain.

Safety: It’s important that you get an experienced guide as recommended by your booking company. Lone climbers must be very experienced, although part of the park rules insists on never climbing alone. You may also not get very popular with the locals for denying them their source of income!

Money: Kenya Shillings, All International Credit Card (Visa; MasterCard) are accepted in the ATM.

Exchange Rate:  http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/convert/?Amount=1&From=USD&To=KES

Country Code: +254

Main Airport: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi

About Jovago.com

Jovago.com is an online hotel booking service with offices in Nairobi (Kenya), Lagos (Nigeria), Dakar (Senegal). The company is founded by Africa Internet Holding and has MTN as one of the investors. Jovago.com, Africa’s No.1 booking portal, facilitates the booking process for its users to provide them with the best hotel booking experience with fast, transparent and easy-to-use services. Jovago.com has over 20,000 local hotel listings across Africa and over 200,000 hotels around the world.
Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JovagoTravel @jovagotravel
Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jovago.com

Six Ways Technology can Help You Save on Travelling Costs

Since the advent of mobile payments, online travel agencies and quirky applications that almost allow you to see into the future, the Silicon Valley fellas have not gone a day without churning a surprise for the user. Not a bad thing at all, except that while we all go gaga on just how smart the next invention will be, sometimes we lose the core objective of these innovations: convenience. Still, savvy travelers can always count on technology to save them both time and money when planning and on trip/vacation. Below are six areas as listed by Jovago that travelers can maximize on for that elusive money-saving scheme.

Taxi Ride Share Services and Taxi Apps

Whether travelling overseas or taking a break to the coast, we all admit that tagging your vehicle will not only cause you headaches with authorities and clearances involved, but may also incur a deep dent on your bank account. To counter this, and for the sake of a few notes, you can chose to enjoy a taxi ride with like-minded flight mates, or simply download taxi applications such as Easytaxi , with a reputation for agreeable charges as well as security.

Flight compare Sites, and Early Reservations

Flight fares can be awfully unpredictable and especially for last minute travelers who may not have much of an option. However, the moment you have an inkling on exploring some new destination, your first step should be to get up and get on with flight comparing apps such as Skyscanner. Select a period you are most likely to travel and keep a graph on the updates. As a common observation, weekends, public holidays and school holidays will attract a sizeable hike in flight fares. Travel websites are great go-to as well, for instance www.jovago.com has scheme called Best Price Guarantee, which promises to always the lowest rate for accommodation or refund the difference if guests find the same at cheaper rate elsewhere on the web!

While technology has its own demerits like the new era of robotic humans! We cannot ignore the savvy convenience. Once you set your travel budget, remember any trips to the flight agent, Travel Agencies and even immigration offices will consume both your time and money. Where possible, always do your travel prepping online; sites such as Jovago.com, Expedia etc. have thousands of updated information on hotels in every other destination, making it very convenient to choose, compare price and services, check out reviews by previous guests as well.

Cooking Apps and Kitchen-Whizz Sites

So you may be wondering what thyme and the asparagus has to do with your dreamy vacation? Well, these could turn out to be your best beach buy of the season! If you are planning on a camping trip, self-catering cottages or homestays, then it’s time you expanded your app store for such apps as Big Oven and Food Network. This could make a great turning point for discovering otherwise underexplored gourmet skills while saving on that over-priced three.

Budget Apps and Expenditure Trackers

Although these savvy inventions will never literally stop you from getting from making that unneeded purchase at the duty free shop, or ordering that exotic wine beyond your means. However, a glance at the trend might at least give you a much needed slap back to reality. Budget apps also come in handy when establishing a saving plan for your next trip; with a bit of keenness, you can trace records for a clear tracking of what you need, what you want and what From baggage charges, to pitiful exchange rates and airport transfers, the last thing any budget-minded traveler wants to hear is roaming charges! With the advent of Skype, Viber and now Whatsapp calls, you can stay connected with friends and family without breaking bank. All you have to do is download the app, and make use of it.