Sure Tanzania has amazing nature. But it is not all just Safari. When I was in Tanzania, I decided to make Moshi my base site, and from there, I would go on trips. One of them and perhaps most spectacular one was my day trip to Kikuletwa hot springs. Anyone might think that Africa, as hot as it can be, doesn’t need to have hot springs. In the northern part of Tanzania, it can get very cold especially at the end of the rain season. And since from there, the sea is pretty far, hot springs are quite a nice place to visit.
Kikuletwa hot springs day trip
Moshi is a base town for most of everyone who wants to climb Kilimanjaro. But locals like to offer a variety of day trips around. And believe me, there is a lot of places to discover. If you have a spare day, Kikuletwa hot springs should be on your list of day trips to take from here. This clean blue water in the middle of nothing is just asking for a visit.
At the same time, it is also possible to visit hot springs from Arusha. But it is significantly longer. But still, whether you are planning to go there from Moshi or Arusha, it is a great experience.
How to get to Kikuletwa hot springs?
There are a couple of ways on how to get there. But it will significantly differ, depending on your requirements and which city are you staying in.
Moshi is an easy city to get to Kikuletwa. You can choose either taxi, company tour or even public transport.
By public transport
One of the advantages of traveling to Kikuletwa hot springs from Moshi is that you can just easily catch a local bus here and go directly there. It is the cheapest way to get there, but it might not be the most comfortable since the local busses are very often overfilled with people.
But anyways, if you decide to go with public transport, you will pay only 2000 TZS one way. The bus is stopping in a lot of places but you should be ready to bathe in hot springs in 2 hours.
Tanzanian local buses are called dalla-dalla and they are safe to travel with. But at the same time, they are a little bit chaotic which means that there are rarely coming on time and they stop on unpredictable places. The best thing you can do is to ask at your hotel where can you catch dalla-dalla to Kikuletwa.
That would be the second cheapest way to get there. There is only one little problem. You will need to find a taxi driver that will be fine with driving you there, waiting for you while you enjoy yourself and then drive you back to your hotel.
All in all, it might not be that difficult, people would do it for the money, but you will need to bargain for it. This way is a little bit more expensive but it is not worse. It should cost around 50 dollars whether you are traveling solo or with a group. So if you are there with your friends, it might become quite a cheap way of traveling.
With a car, you should get to Kikuletwa in an hour, hour and half the latest. It very much depends on what kind of car are you in. The roads around the hot springs are very bumpy.
With a company
This might be the most comfortable way to get to Kikuletwa. There is a lot of local companies around Moshi that would offer you high-quality tours to this little oasis. So what is included?
Hotel pick-up and drop-off, a lunch box, English speaking driver who is also most likely your guide, entry fee, and a bottle of water. So basically you are well taken care of once you step in their vehicle to Kikuletwa and back.
Sounds great right? I bet it does. But it is not the cheapest option ever. The price very much differs depending on whether you are a solo traveler or if you are going with a group. Of course, if you are going with a group, it is going to be cheaper, since the most expensive thing would be the drive.
Companies that are offering tours to Kikuletwa hot springs
Tanzania budget safari – When it comes to day trips, this company has a lot to offer. Kikuletwa is one of their most favorite tours. If you are a solo traveler, you would pay 120 USD to get there. This sounds kind of expensive but you can always ask them if you can join some other group. If you are traveling with a group of 5 people or more, you would pay only 25 USD.
Twaga touring – Another local company that would effortlessly guide you through Tanzania. Their services are a little bit cheaper if you are a solo traveler. Then you would pay 80 USD per the whole trip. But if you are traveling with 5 people or more, you would get a price of 35 USD per person.
Mawenzi adventures – Locals who know what they are doing! Their prices are somewhere in the middle previous companies. If you are a solo traveler, you would pay 95 USD, but in a group of 4 or 7 people, you would pay only 45 USD.
Arusha is a little bit further from the hot springs than Moshi. This means that getting there from Arusha is not as easy. For example, you cannot get there by public transport – it would take around 3 hours and you would need to switch buses several times. But don’t be all sad just yet, there are more ways of getting there than just a local bus.
I would never say that taxis are travelers’ best friend but in this case, it very well could be. Taxi is also the cheapest way to get from Arusha to Kikuletwa unless you want to spend a lot of time on a bus.
You will still need to pursue the driver to stay there with you and then get you back, but that might not be such a big problem. Taxi to Kikuletwa from Arusha should cost around 100 USD and you will get there in 2 hours. And again, if you are traveling in a group, the price is the same.
I tried to research some more companies that would offer the tours from Arusha, but generally, there aren’t too many of them, at least not on the internet. So what I would recommend would be to ask at your hotel. They usually know a lot about things like this. Besides in a big city like Arusha will be local tour operators that are just not on the internet but their tours are just as good as anything you can find on google.
Viator – It is not even a little bit local but it is the only company that would offer tours to Kikuletwa hot springs from Arusha. Viator usually has high-quality tours with a nice guide. In this case, they don’t care if you are alone or not, the price for the tour is 210 USD whether you are going alone or in a group.
I know that this is not the cheapest option but once I find more companies, I will add them here. Otherwise, I would recommend asking at your hotel, I’m sure that they can help.
Entry fees and opening times
This might come as a surprise since the place looks like in the middle of nature but the Kikuletwa hot springs are maintained by locals and therefore there are entry fees and opening times when you can enter.
The entry fees are here mainly if you are coming on your own. A lot of people are saying that there aren’t any entry fees but that is changing. They will ask you for 10 USD for an adult person and 5 for a kid.
You can enter the hot springs from 8 AM to 6 PM. So there is plenty of time for fun, bathing and generally enjoying your self.
Kikuletwa hot springs facilities
The great thing about this little hidden gem is the fact, that even though it seems like this place is in the middle of nowhere, it still has everything you might need. Don’t expect the highest quality, but it will do the thing.
Food stand – One food stand but a food stand never the less. And because simplicity is the key, they also offer only one meal. It is not a bad thing it is yummy typical Tanzanian fast food dish. It is called Chipsi Mayai and it is an omelet with french fries and if you like pieces of beef. Noms!
Rental place/ shop – The second and last stand that you can find here. These guys are offering to either buy or rent swimming glasses, towels, snorkeling equipment, or even sunglasses and sunscreen. Also if you like they would give you a swimming lesson.
Toilets – It might seem like something that would be there by default but this is Africa and it is not always the case. The toilets here are quite alright if you are fine with a company of lizards and some insects. When I was there, the light on the toilet was not working, but it is not a big deal.
Dressing cabin – There are two of them so you can comfortably jump from your clothes to a swimsuit. The cabins are relatively open but they will do the job and will give you the needed cover.
Swimming in the hot springs
Before you get all excited and jump into this little oasis there are a couple of things you should know about swimming in Kikuletwa hot springs.
The water temperature – There is this word “hot” right, but somehow it doesn’t mean that it will be boiling water or just a really warm bathing place. Here in these hot springs, the temperature rarely exceeds 30°C. So it is warm, but more like refreshing warm than just a warm like a bath that you are used to in your home.
Current in the water – Yes, there is a current in the water. Not super strong current that would drown you. But because of it, swimming in the Kikuletwa hot springs can be a little bit more difficult than you would think. Some parts are more for experienced swimmers. But if you need a little help, there are branches everywhere that will help you to get in place.
Fishes – Those little bastards! The water is completely clean which is giving a great opportunity to swim but not just for humans but fishes as well. Don’t expect big ones though. There are only little fishes that you might have seen in some saloons. They will nib on your skin. It doesn’t hurt, it just pinches.
Jumping rope – For making you feel a little bit more like a Tarzan. There is a rope that you can swing on and jump to the water. It is widely popular and people would usually line up for it.
Crocodile in Kikuletwa hot springs – You might hurt about a woman being killed by a crocodile here. The story is that when hot springs were discovered, there were a lot of crocodiles and they killed someone. Currently, it is a very safe place to visit and the only lizards that you can see here would be iguanas.
My review: A day in paradise
I first get to Kikuletwa hot springs around 11.30 on that day. By that time, there were already around 30ish people. A big group of Kilimanjaro climbers who came there to relax. Once I get into the turquoise water, there was a first thing that I found out. There are little fishes who likes to nom on you. You might know these fishes from Thai massage places in every bigger city. Well, here you have them for free. Here is a fun thing about them: It doesn’t hurt to be bitten by them, however, note that legs are not the only place where they would go for a snack. My butt and belly were also viciously attacked by those little creatures.
One of the greatest things about these hot springs is possibly the fact, that it is not only for relaxation. This natural pool is big enough for everyone to swim, and locals build here a swing to the water. The swing here is perhaps most of the fun, as most of the tourists, would just hold it and jump when the time comes, but locals are trained in this thing, so they would show quite a lot of acrobatic gigs.
When it comes to swimming – part of these hot springs does have a stream. This means that if you are not a good swimmer, it is fine if you stay in the base pool, where most people are anyway. If you want to feel challenged, you can try to swim against the stream to the deeper part of the pool, where isn’t too many people. Due to the stream, it is harder to get there, but easy to swim out of there.
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