CULTURAL TOURISM PROGRAMME – ARUSHA REGION TANZANIA ILKIDING´A
The people of Ilkidingà at the foot hills of Mount Meru offer you a view into the culture of the Wa-arusha tribe and welcome you to their local households. Take relaxing walks through the crop fields, enjoying the bird songs. Hike along narrow footpaths, crossing canyons and climbing small hills. Eat a delicious traditional meal and tea prepared by Mainyoito Women Group. Come and hike around the village at the foot of Mount Meru where the sound of the rivers, birds and people are in harmony.
TRADITIONAL TOUR – HALF DAY
Start with a visit to Sembeo´s Boma where several traditionally built roundhouses give you an idea of how an extended family live together. Sembeo will show how traditional Maasai knives are made. Walking through the fields of crops and enjoying the view overlooking Arusha town at Ilkisongo, you will reach the house of the traditional healer. He will be ready to answer all your questions and give you advice if you need it. From there you head on the narrow Njeche Canyon where abundant tropical plants cover caves and rocky walls (see pictures).
After the walk it is time to rest with a refreshing cup of the traditional tea made by Mama Naomi, it is so delicious that you must taste it. At the end of the tour a visit to the Mainyoito Women Group is worthwhile. They produce traditional Maasai jewellery and mitungi, the clay pots used to collect water.
FULL DAY CULTURAL TOUR
Take a shorter trail through the fields, stop at Sembeo`s Boma and after crossing the Ngarenaro River, reach Leloto hill viewpoint, which overlooks Arusha town. Hike through the villages to reach Leina view point on the boundary of the forest reserve. From there you head off to visit the boma of Masai Craftsmen group, the members make small wooden stools and knives. Taste the local honey and be given a step by step demonstration of the local methods of honey collection from beehive.
This tour is a must if you are a birdwatcher. Many different species of birds can be seen along the trail, including the beautiful Hartlaub`s Turaco. For both tours the Mainyaito Women`s group prepare traditional hot meals at the campsite.
SOUTH WEST MERU CULTURAL TOUR – 3 DAYS
If you enjoy hiking, this is the ideal tour for you. Crossing small rivers and walking through the forest reserve, this is the best way to explore and enjoy the quiet atmosphere of villages in the foothills of Mt. Meru. The nights are spent at local bomas, where you can pitch your tent. The friendly people make you welcome. Bring your own camping gear and porters will help you carry all the equipment. Hot meals are prepared at Martim and Ngoibelie`s Boma and at Ilkurot Campsite. Fruit can be bought along the way. Drinking water is not for sale in the small shops along the way, but other drinks, such as coke are available. The tour ends in Ngaramtoni, where the local buses, the daladala take 1 minutes to reach Arusha.
The guides are all youngsters born and raised in the village. They all graduated from secondary school and are familiar with English. All the guides of the Cultural Tourism Programme can be recognized through an identity card. Please avoid walking with unauthorized guides. Most of the guides are members of the Traditional Dancing Group of TAMACTO (Tanzania Association of Maasai Art and Cultural Tourism Organizers). The group started its activities in 1996 and now is very popular throughout Tanzania, it was honored to be chosen by the Tanzanian authorities to welcome the US President, Bill Clinton at the airport during his visit to Arusha in 2000. They are often requested to perform at special occasions or traditional ceremonies. One-day advance booking is requested if you wish to see them perform.
The Programme started at the end of 1999 with advice from SNV-the Netherlands Development Organization, TTB-Tanzania Tourist Board and now TACTO-the Tanzania association of Cultural Organizers. The profit is used to improve the Kioga and Ilkiding´a primary schools. Your visit helps to give the children a better education, which is a base for leading a good life. Please, ask your guide to bring you to visit those schools.
Ilkidingà is a 20 minutes drive 7km North of Arusha Town. The starting point for every visit is the Ilkidingà Camping Site, Where you can safety park your car and choose the tour you wish. Ashe naleng.
Three days advanced booking is required.