Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hiking the Uluguru Mountains

This weekend I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go hiking in the Uluguru Mountains. Unfortunately, my horrible pronunciation paired with a terrible attempt at the Tanzanian accent left me calling them the "Uluguluglu Mountains" but people definitely still knew what I was talking about.

This place was so beautiful. I didn't even realize how massive the mountains were just looking at them. But I figured it out as soon as we started hiking... 

Oh man. I hardly made it to the top. Definitely worth it though. That's the city of Morogoro wayyy down below.

I was struggling with these mountains, just for recreation. Most people who live out here have farms on the steep mountain faces. Can you imagine??

I went with a great group of people, including my friend Neil, and a bunch of his friends who I just met on the trip (Chrissy, Ryan, and our Lithuanian friend Vithas). We all had such a great time, and managed to make it through nearly 9 hours of hiking! 

A Maasai guide joined us for the hike. He works with this organization that provides tours through the mountains and uses a chunk of the tour fees for improving the quality of life for local communities. We passed over a bridge that they built to help the mountain people get to the only hospital in the area, so that was pretty cool. It was nice to hear the history of this area and some cultural tidbits about the villages we were walking through. 
I'm really glad our guide was there to help us out. There's no way I would've ever found my way up to our destination, which was called Morningside. 

I'm not really sure why this was our destination, but it was a nice place to chill out for a few minutes and enjoy the view. 

We passed by the first church built in this area called Morogoro. The Germans built it here in 1913. They still hold services here, though there aren't many people who practice. 90% of the villagers up on the mountain are Muslims. 

I was freaking out at the thought of spiders on this hike, though we didn't come across any. It rained the day before, so I guess that means we're less likely to come across spiders. Our guide said there's one bad spider in this area, but it doesn't like the rain, so we don't have to worry. Just to let you know, this 'bad spider' is actually called the "Bull Spider" because it grows to about the size of your palm and has HORNS! A spider with horns.... was he kidding?! That sounds atrocious. 

We came across some really cool bugs along the way. The butterflies were beautiful, but my favorite colorful bugs were these big grasshoppers. 

Not sure if the photo really captures the size of these things. They were about the length and thickness of my thumb. Apparently it's grasshopper season, so they were all over the place, jumping around, jumping on my clothes, jumping off the cliffs... nbd. 

Then we came to my favorite bug, only because I recognized them from Discovery Channel or Animal Planet or something. Siafu is the local name for the Driver Ant. These things are awful. They travel in colonies with millions upon millions of ants. They ravage anything in their course. Their bite is supposedly horribly painful and they have been known to devour anything from small rodents to babies and even goats.  This was so cool! Until my guide said casually, "oh hey, Christina, there's one on your pants!"

Don't worry, I survived.

On the way down, we stopped by a waterfall. It was so beautiful.

I'll only include this last picture so you can get a good laugh at my horrendous farmer's tan. This is the first time my shoulders have been exposed in Tanzania!


  1. Hahaha, I love the tan! Is that a Stags bag I spy?

  2. what tour agency did you go through??