Water… water… water! There is something about water that takes me to a happy place so this weekend to complete my week of epic happiness I thought I would visit a few water spots in and around Arusha, Tanzania. After some googling I settled on Lake Duluti and the Chemka hot springs.
It is fairly easy to find your way to Lake Duluti from Arusha CBD. You can either use Daladalas (taxis) or you can get a private car. If you are taking a Dala you will catch the one heading towards Usa- which usually has a green strip on the side- it should cost you 600 Tanzanian shillings (R4); get off at Tengeru stop by the market. Walk back up the main road until you see a sign written “Lake Duluti Campsite”, this should be directing you down a dirt road to your left. It is then about a 15 minute walk to the lake. The road gets a bit busy- I suspect it is also because of the construction happening there- so I wouldn’t suggest doing it on your own, especially for female/mzungu (white) travelers. You can also take a private car, which was the option I took as I was going alone and had already been warned about the dirt road. I paid 30 000 Tanzanian shillings (R180), an extra expense that is an unfortunate disadvantage of being a solo female traveler. Also there is an entry fee of 500 Tanzanian shillings (R3) to get into the site. Once you are there you can have a braai (BBQ), buy a few drinks and enjoy the great selection of music from all around Africa. One can swim here but it is all at own risk; There are a few lodges around the lake and you can also canoe if you use one of the alternative entrances.
On Sunday I went to the Chemka hot springs with some of the other volunteers from my house. The hot springs are located about 2 1/2 to 3 hours from Arusha and 1 1/2 to 2 hours from Moshi in a village called Chemka. The extended duration is largely because you have to drive a long distance on dirt road through the village and it had rained the night before. We each paid 30 000 Tanzanian Shillings (R180) but the more you are the less you will pay. There is also the option to catch the bus from Arusha to Moshi and get off at Boma Road; this should cost about 3000 Tanzanian Shillings (R18). If you take this option you would then have to negotiate for a tuk-tuk or a boda-boda (a motobike taxi) to take you to the springs from the main road. It is possible to ask the driver to wait for you, which may cost you a little more. Once you arrive there is an entrance fee of 5000 Tanzanian shilling (R30). There is a minibar and they sell chips mayai, fries cooked in an open omelet, but you can also bring your own food and drinks which is what we decided to do. This is a great place to bring the family or to spend a day with friends. The water is the perfect temperature and is so clear that you can see the bottom. There is also a swing that you can use to get in but if that is not for you then you can just slid into the springs off one of the edges.
This was a great combination of water locations because the lake gave me some time to just relax, read and catch up on some writing while the hot springs were more of an active outing. There is also the Meru Waterfall, which is at the foot of Mount Meru. This trip requires a little bit of a hike so if you are keen on doing that then this may be a great alternative or addition to what I did. It is possible to get a package to do one or all of these with an organisation but this could work out to be more expensive and possibly less flexible in terms of how much time you can spend at each location. Arusha has a lot of beautiful locations and is often overlooked for travel but I would say if you have the opportunity make it a stop on your list.