Iringa

Iringa is typically used as base before driving on to the Ruaha NP. We stopped here a few days ago for the same reason. But now on our way back from Ruaha NP want to spend a bit of more time in Iringa. We stay again at the “Little Riverside Camp Site” close to Iringa. A great site that we can really recommend. Pretty location, excellent food and very friendly and helpful people. They also have what they call tended bandas which we take this time instead of just putting up our tend.

 

The camp site also offerings Swahili classes and most of the people on the camp are here for this. For the students they have organized a cultural evening with quire from a village close by. They sing traditional songs and perform some dances. What better opportunity  to learn more about the culture here.

 

The four students in return have prepared something for the locals as well. In their own languages and of course very different from what the locals have performed. Everybody is having a really good evening. We end up sitting with Gero, a German pilot, Albert also being German and Amanda until late at night. Amanda is the manager of the camp site and full of interesting stories and advise.

The next morning, after a fantastic breakfast, we make our way into Iringa. Its main attraction is for sure the local market. What you shouldn’t miss however is “Neema Crafts” run by the Diocese of Ruaha and driven by Andy and Susy from England (at the time). It’s a center that provides handicrafts training and employment for deaf and physically disabled people in the Iringa region. The small cafe which serves delicious coffee, tea and snacks is entirely run by deaf people. Being disabled in Tanzania means most likely to be expelled from the community as most families are too poor to support them. Neema Crafts successfully contributes to change this behavior in the local community.

 

Amanda from the “Little River Campsite” kindly organized a tour for us through the workshop. A great experience and something we can highly recommend in case you are in that area. In 2009 they finally opened their new building because the old one was becoming far too small. We hope to go back at some point to see what it’s like.

Before returning to the camp we make a side trip to the Isimila, one of Africa’s richest Stone Age sites. In the small museum we see stone tools dating from 60,000 years ago. Close by is a small but spectacular canyon with bizarre  sandstone needles.

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