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MOUNTAIN BIKING IN ARUSHA, TANZANIA

Arusha is a city located in the north-eastern part of Tanzania, just below Mount Meru and close to the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara National Park, Olduvai Gorge, Tarangire National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, and Arusha National Park on Mount Meru. Due to its proximity to all these popular locations, Arusha is often used as a base for adventure travelers.

Unfortunately, I visited during the rainy month of October (because of cheap tickets), so it rained for almost 80% of my time in Tanzania, destroying any plans I had of going to the national parks. But I wasn’t too bothered about it because I was also going to Kenya, where safaris are generally cheaper.

Instead, I spent my time in Arusha going mountain-biking and kayaking.

How to Get There

Arusha
Source: Agoda

By Plane

The easiest way to get to Arusha is by flying directly to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), which has regular flights to Amsterdam, Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, and Nairobi. It is situated approximately 60km (45 minutes) from the city center. A taxi ride should cost USD 50, but many airlines offers free or cheap shuttle service.

Alternatively, you can fly to Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam and get a connecting domestic flight to Arusha Airport (ARK), which is just on the outskirts of the city.

By Coach

Arusha can also be reached by express coach from Nairobi, Kenya (6 hours), Dar es Salaam (12 hours), Kampala, Uganda (17 hours) and other regions in Tanzania, such as Mwanza, Tanga, and Lushoto. Many coach companies offer first-class tickets, which are very comfortable.

Namic Bike Adventures

Namic Bike Adventures is solely owned by a nature enthusiast by the name of Carissa. She is very passionate about animals, the environment, and being in nature that she actually moved to Arusha to be surrounded by forests (it requires some hike to get to her house).

In fact, her company name stands for “Nature Miracles” and C for Carissa. It was founded when she discovered that she could combine her passion for nature and mountain-biking, and turn it into a career.

The company now has a team of guides who are determined to give you the best and most affordable mountain-biking adventures to all beautiful destinations in Arusha.

Namic Bike Adventures: Two Wheels to Places

Tour Options

Namic Bike Adventures offers many different tour options to suit your personal preference and skill level. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park
Bee Eater and Honey Guide Safaris

Go on a guided bike tour inside Arusha National Park, where you might get to see different animals such as giraffes, monkeys, buffaloes, zebras, and various bird species. During your ride, you will be accompanied by an armed ranger and a support vehicle to ensure safety.

Arusha National Park covers 137 sq km and has three significant features, namely Mount Meru (4566m), Ngurdoto Crater, and alkaline Momela Lakes.

Total distance: 21 km (7 hours)

Lake Duluti

Lake Duluti, Arusha, Tanzania
Source: Explore East Africa
Lake Duluti tour is an easy 3-hour ride, during which you will get to see the local farming villages in the outer parts of Arusha. The ride is mostly on flat lands and gentle slopes. The lake is a 700-meter deep crater lake that has water throughout the year from the ground and seasonal rainfall.
 
The tour may be combined with hiking in the surrounding forest (3 hours) and canoeing in the marsh areas of the lake (1 – 2 hours), and a visit to Tengeru market (Wednesday and Saturday).
 
Total distance: 14 km (2 – 5 hours)
 

Arusha City

Arusha City
Source: Land Lopers

This tour will take you on tarmac road to Arusha Declaration Museum, Arusha Declaration Monument, the city bus terminal, Arusha Central Market, and the Maasai Market where you can find handicraft and artwork including batik, traditional clothes, and sculptures.

The tour will end at Arusha clock tower, which marks the exact midpoint between Cairo and Cape Town, as well as the center of Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Total distance: 35 km (3 hours)
 

Materuni Waterfalls

Materuni Waterfalls
Source: Civitatis
This very impressive waterfall is one of the tallest in the area, spewing crystal-clear glacier water 70 m into its basin. The beautiful path leading to the waterfall is located 2,500m above sea level, in the northern part of Moshi town. You will cycle through Materuni Village, which is the last village before Kilimanjaro National Park.
 
Expect to see some valleys, hills, tropical rainforests, and coffee, banana, and avocado farms. On a clear day, you can see great views of Moshi town and Kilimanjaro.
 
Total distance: 14 km (full day)

How to Book

Booking can be done via:

Phone: +255 684 735 774

E-mail: info@namicbikeadventures.com

Website: www.namicbikeadventures.com

What to Expect

I first met Carissa online, through Couchsurfing. She kindly offered to host me for two nights in her home in Arusha. As any female traveler who has ever used the platform can attest to, it is very, very rare to get an invitation from a female host, so the moment I saw her message, I was almost jumping with joy.

She also told me that she had a tour company that takes people cycling around Arusha on mountain bikes. I had never been on a mountain bike before, and in all of my adult years, I had only been on regular bikes for about eight times in total. But I told her I’d give it a try anyway.

Image may contain: bicycle and outdoor

On the day of the tour, she took out the bikes and let me try them. Well, let me tell you one thing: mountain bikes are nothing like regular bikes. First of all, they’re bigger. My feet barely touched the ground. Secondly, they have those horizontal bars in their frames. And lastly, they have all those gears. I was so used to simple city bikes, whereby the only things I needed to know were how to pedal and how to brake.

Carissa’s company uses only Trec bikes. I knew nothing about mountain bikes, but apparently Trec is the best and most expensive brand out there. They have wider handlebars, which means your arms don’t get tired so easily.

Image may contain: Raja Ummi Nadrah, smiling, riding a bicycle, bicycle and outdoor

We cycled on the dirt roads near her house, through banana plantations, and on a field where I could practice my rusty cycling skills. After about half an hour, we both decided that I wasn’t ready to tackle the real track to Lake Duluti. So, we hiked the rest of the way. On our journey to the lake, we passed by a village, saw how the people there lived, interacted with the kids, and tried some local snacks.

Image may contain: Raja Ummi Nadrah, smiling, sky, cloud, outdoor, nature and water, possible text that says '10/13/2019 21:44'

We walked around the lake and then rented a canoe. The lake was so calm with only the sound of birds. But it started pouring right when we were in the middle of it, forcing us to find shelter under some trees. There were also a group of local boys stuck in the rain. By the time the rain stopped, we were all soaked.

The Verdict

Would I recommend the experience? Yes, definitely. Although I didn’t actually get to cycle all the way to Lake Duluti, it was still a memorable experience in a Tanzanian countryside. The route to the lake itself is worth exploring if only to see the local lifestyle.

Carissa is a great guide.  Don’t let her size fool you. She is very strong and capable.She truly cared about my safety and comfort that she made sure I was confident enough on the bike before she’d let me cycle any further. When it turned out that I wasn’t, she didn’t even charge me for the half hour that I spent using the bike.

More than anything, I enjoyed her company during my little tour of Lake Duluti. She even helped me negotiate the price for the canoe rental. If you’re in the area and would like to support local business, make sure to give her a call.

Image may contain: Carissa Eddie Muga and Raja Ummi Nadrah, people smiling, grass, outdoor and nature

Have you been to Arusha before? Did you try mountain biking or canoeing on Lake Duluti? Share your experience below.

Posted in Adventure, Tanzania

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2 Comments

  1. Carissa Eddie

    Omg, thank you so much Ummi for taking your precious time and write this, this is so great I truly appreciate, I’m so happy that you enjoyed your time here despite the weather and everything, we are missing you in Arusha and can’t wait to have you here again, I enjoyed your time here and thank you for trusting me.
    Enjoy your travels.
    LOVE

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