Deciding to stay at Arusha Backpackers was an easy choice. I had heard good reviews and knew some people who had stayed there from the safari. I decided that I would stay there for a night or two, preferably two, to relax after the safari and prepare for the next leg of the journey to Mwanza, 10hours west of Arusha by Lake Victoria. When I arrived they were very welcoming and my dorm room was very clean and the beds were also very clean and comfortable. The dorm was only 4 bed which was great and was $8 including breakfast and free wifi, which occasionally worked but was better than Haria Hotel in Moshi for sure. It was by chance that while at the rooftop bar/restaurant that evening, that I bumped into two Canadian guys, John and Dave, who were alps on the safari the same time as us and who we had seen at most of the stops along the way.
We spent the evening chatting and drinking Kilimanjaro beers one after another. The evening proved to be great and I was super glad that they were here. We had such a laugh that evening and planned to wake up for breakfast and explore Arusha the next day. The next morning with heavy heads, we presented for breakfast which was actually all eaten by people who had just left, so it proved to be a waste of time getting up early. Nevertheless we got our stuff together and headed out to book our bus tickets.
After we successfully found the Kilimanjaro express office and got the guys tickets sorted, we happened to come across the central station where buses to mwanza leave from where I got my ticket for the next morning. After that, we made the mistake of asking local on the street where we could find an Indian restaurant to which he guided us to without us asking (which always happens) and then after we ate he approached us again and became verbally aggressive when we wouldn't tip him.
We are in Big Bites restaurant which was one of the best places I've ever eaten purely because of the vibe there, the workers welcoming kindness and of course the food was totally made with love. We admired the shirt shaped napkins on the tables, all the funny memes around the place and noticed it had been recommended on trip advisor and rough guides too. The manager there Rahul, who returned from London to help his mother fun the place explained how this is the only place doing home delivery and that he plans to eventually have drone delivery to even reach the top of Kilimanjaro. He explained all the details about the goal and that the restaurant is all about personal experiences and being very unique in the way they run things. It was really refreshing to see someone care a lot about a business like this and I was sure I would write a review on my blog about it which in return, Rahul would display my WorldTravellerz business card.
We all couldn't believe that this place existed and was so hidden that if we didn't meet the guy on the street we would probably have walked right by it. We ordered three differ met curries with naan, rice and drinks and the price was reasonable and worth every shilling. After we ate, Rahul gave us a small gift each which he said he gives to all the customers which was a lovely touch. Afterwards we ignored the verbally abusive tout on the street following us and headed first to a beautiful sunny garden ('mistaking it for the museum we were looking for) and then finally to the Natural History Museum. The museum was such a highlight and with an entrance of 8000tsh/$4 it was worth it. The multiple buildings were full of information of evolution, ecology, geology and even had stuffed animals showcased. There was an art studio at the back where local artists painted and sold their paintings.
We strolled through this side of town which was very cool and collected and seemed to be the high end part of town with expensive western cafés and boutique hotels. We stopped in the recommended 'Africafe' where we had a relatively expensive smoothy which was really delicious and then headed back to our hostel to chill out. We had some food later on the rooftop and chilled out before hitting the sack early to prepare for our 5am start. It was a real pleasure to have had the guys here to hang out with and it was a pity we were going in different directions, but I was sure they'd have as great of a time in Zanzibar as I had.
Thank you Arusha for letting me experience it all.