Arusha Project

Hiking to a Mt. Meru Waterfall
June 25, 2007, 10:42 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

group pic

Sunday was a trek… We left early in the morning for a short hike on Mt. Meru to see a waterfall. “Short,” we soon realized is a very subjective term. The drive was quite long up a dirt road that is usually only traveled by pedestrians and big safari cars with four-wheel drive. Alongside the road are small dirt waterways that serve as the rural population’s main water source. These ditches often cross the road and make it very challenging for a low chassis. Our driver, Gilbert, did a pretty good job with our dala dala, but we still got stuck in a dried out water ditch. After a while, with everyone out of the car, a local man with a pick-axe digging out the back wheel and all of the guys pushing, we got out and continued for another hour or so to an unmarked path that apparently takes you up to Mt. Meru. We followed a sequence of paths in between Maasai Bomas and plots of cultivated land, acquiring a slew of local children and a few dogs that followed us long the way.

Pushing the Dala Dala

There are no directions to get here and no marks of a tourist industry, but in this rural village, the kids are still quite accustomed to visitors who come to climb the mountain or hike to the waterfall and obviously practiced in asking for money: Money to take a picture of them, money to carry your things, money to show you something, or just money for money. The disparity of wealth is so vast here that it shouldn’t be too shocking that “money” is one of the few, if not the only, English words rural children learn to say, but it’s still a blunt reality check.


Next door to the sprawling farms, the forests on this side of Mt. Meru region are used by Tanzanian military for training and the creeks are regularly patrolled, but tourists, with a valid permit (purchased from another unmarked location), and their guides are for the most part unrestricted. After a couple hours down a path scaling the slightly slippery wall of the riverbed, our guides told us the waterfall was just around the corner of the creek. “just around the corner” doesn’t really mean the same thing I guess. Another hour later, after walking in calf deep water and passing smaller, beautiful waterfalls, we made it to the big kahuna. Probably about 150 feet tall, the waterfall sprayed us with a massive force that made the area feel like a helicopter was landing.


The way back through the picturesque landscape and foreign vegetation (a mix of tropical ferns, leafy plants and pine-like trees) was much shorter. Our followers were waiting for us at the top of the hillside, and persisted in their requests for money. Starving, we finally reached the car, but felt too bad to eat our packed lunches in front of the most likely malnourished children and instead distributed some cokes to the group before taking off down the bumpy hill home to Kwa Idi.



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Kaia — You are doing a wonderful job of sharing with us! I so appreciate your updates and pictures. Keep up the good work — it’s a joy to read and see! Wishing you all the best! Hugs from “Mama Hutch”

Comment by Shirley

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