Since we've changed our program - so too have our excursions changed. As our orientation is now one full week in Dar - we have a number of associated excursions on that end; in addition to the ones we have throughout the rest of the semester. Here's what we got for ya...
Mbudya Island is an uninhabited island in Tanzania, north of the country's (economic) capital city, Dar es Salaam and is one of the four islands of the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve. The island is reachable by means of a 20 minute motorboat ride from the mainland.
Dar es Salaam City Tour: This day trip includes tours of local craft markets, city center, the bustling fish market, the National Museum, and a visit to the Makumbusho Village Museum.
Cooking with Bibi: “Bibi” is Swahili for ‘grandmother.’ Each semester during orientation students are welcomed into Bibi’s home where she and her extended family teach students how to make a traditional Swahili meal. We spend the day cooking with Bibi before sitting together for a family meal.
Bagamoyo: During orientation, students take an overnight trip to the historic coastal city of Bagamoyo. The town was founded at the end of the 18th century and was the original capital of German colonized East Africa, was one of the most important trading ports along the East African coast (spices, ivory, and slaves), and is home to the first Catholic church of German Colonized East Africa.
Bagamoyo's history has been influenced by Indian and Arab traders, by the German colonial government and by Christian missionaries. The cities ruins and recorded history trace back to the 13th century, and the port city is most well known as being the final destination for the slave trade caravan who were forced onto ships at Bagamoyo’s coast. The name “Bagamoyo” means to leave one’s heart – which is a reference to those Africans who were forced to leave their hearts here as they boarded cargo ships.
Iringa was built during the 1890s by the German Army as a defensive base to be used against the Hehe uprising led by Chief Mkwawa. The fortress and headquarters of Chief Mkwawa was situated in the nearby village of Kalenga. The Germans managed to attack the Hehe fortress at Kalenga in October 1894 and Chief Mkwawa successfully escaped and engaged in the German forces in guerrilla warfare for a number of years before he committed suicide.
In 1898, after nine years of harassing the Germans in a series of guerrilla skirmishes, Mkwawa was cornered by the German troops, and on realizing that he was about to be arrested, he committed suicide rather than being caught by the colonial German troops. As the German troops advanced, they found him dead and cut off his head which was sent to Germany, and repatriated back to the then Tanganyikan territory in 1954 during British colonialism. Mkwawa’s skull now forms one of the main exhibits in the Mkwawa Memorial Museum at nearby Kalenga village.
Isimila Stone Age Site: Is the oldest historical Stone Age tool site in Isimila village Iringa region Tanzania. The site located about 20 km from Iringa town along Iringa Mbeya road where tools stone artifacts and bones found in a dry bed that was once a shallow lake.
The stone tools used by ancient people during the early Stone Age period about 300,000 years ago , was discovered in 1951 with other fossil bones including those of related to the modern giraffe. Isimila stone age site preserves important evidence of early hominid activities dating back to over 60,000 ago; the nomadic hunters and collectors used the shores of an ancient small lake as the place for hunting, though today the lake no longer exist.
The isimila museum presents the ethnographic historical and archeological material from southern highlands of Tanzania purposely to highlight people’s ingenuity as manifested by material culture showing the technological continuity and innovations.
Isimila central valley consists of a deep canyon characterized by imposing pinnacles and erosion towers creating an environment of extraordinary charm.
Ruaha National Park: Is the largest national park in Tanzania. It covers an area of about 13,000 square kilometres (5,000 sq mi). It is located in the middle of Tanzania about 130 kilometres (81 mi) from Iringa. The park is part of a more extensive ecosystem, which includes Rungwa Game Reserve, Usangu Game Reserve, and several other protected areas.
The name of the park is derived from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its south-eastern margin and is the focus for game-viewing. The park can be reached by car via Iringa and there is an airstrip at Msembe, park headquarters.
Matema Beach / Lake Ngozi: Matema is a town in southwestern Tanzania which is primarily a fishing village with some agriculture. It is located on the northern tip of Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and is 90 kilometres (straight line distance) south-east of Mbeya.
Matema Beach is a beautiful beach on the coast of Lake Nyasa located about 45 km from Kyela town. This is where German missionaries established a hospital in the late nineteenth century that is still running today. Nearby attractions are the Nakyala ritual cave, Mwalalo falls, and the Lyulilo pottery market.
Lake Ngozi is the second largest crater lake in Africa. The shimmering green waters of the Ngozi Crater Lake are backed by sloping emerald forests and lush vegetation. Natural waterfalls tumble from the crater rim and into deep and dark plunge pools beneath. Visitors can also trek across the nearby, naturally formed Kiwira Bridge, known locally as the Bridge of God. The air is scented with the sweet taste of wild bananas and the drifting dense leaves of the Rungwe Tea plantations close by.