Wake up in Arusha! Take in your surroundings…an ancient and now dormant volcano, Mount Meru stands as a striking backdrop beside downtown Arusha. Dense villages and farms cover Meru’s verdant foothills, whose volcanic soil provides fertile grounds for scores of banana trees, coffee fields, flower plantations, vegetable gardens, and other farms. At 14,977 feet, Meru is Tanzania’s second tallest mountain next to Kilimanjaro and the fifth tallest in all of Africa. It takes its name from the Meru tribe that has long lived on its slopes. It is sometimes endearingly called “Kilimanjaro’s little cousin.”
Today is an R&R day and yours to fill as you choose: relax at the lodge (take a dip in the pool and enjoy the gorgeous verandahs with views of the lush surroundings) or inquire about the many activities the Arusha Coffee Lodge can organize for you. Some may want to explore the city – we will be going to visit the Shanga workshop, an art center that empowers people with disabilities. Local people with a diverse range of special needs are employed at the workshop. This socially conscious business creates new jobs and a sense of purpose for local people who had few, if any, employment opportunities elsewhere. As disabled employees learn new skills, they are able to become active members of the community and to make contributions to their families' wellbeing. As more people learn about both the art and the mission of Shanga, the demand grows for their hand-made wares. In turn, Shanga can hire new staff members from the local community, ever-expanding their mission.
In the late afternoon, we will meet up at the Coffee Lodge for a talk by Adam on the history of Tanzania, chat about our safari ahead and then tuck into a delicious dinner.
ARUSHA COFFEE LODGE (Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D))