Known also under the name of Chemka Hot Springs, a day trip from Moshi to the Kikuletwa Hot Springs is a well-deserved treat after hiking Kilimanjaro or after returning from a safari. It is a very relaxing experience, especially that you can spend as much time as you want in the water, to sooth your muscles after a long trek.
I visited the Kikuletwa Hot Springs in December, on a pretty rainy day. However, this didn’t spoil the experience at all. I arrived in the afternoon, at around 2PM, and there weren’t many people around. In fact, there was only one other lady in the water. Soon after I got in another group of three people joined and that was about it, until the time I decided to leave. It was pretty nice to be inside the warm water whilst it was raining.
How to Get to Kikuletwa Hot Springs
Firstly, you should know that there is no public transport to Kikuletwa Hot Springs, the only ways to get there is either through a private tour or by using a dala dala + taxi/boda boda combination.
Usually a day tour to the Chemka hot springs from Moshi, which includes transport from Moshi, entrance fee and lunch would cost around 60$ or £45, booked in town. This fee does not include tips and, as everything else around, is negotiable. The price is lower is there are more people, so find some travel companions in the hotel if you want to pay less. If you book a tour, you have about four hours to spend at the spring, which is plenty of time for a proper relaxation session.
If you don’t want to go tour shopping in Moshi, you can always take a look online at the Moshi day trips listed on Viator by clicking here.
Going on your own to Chemka Hotsprings is more stressful and time consuming, but much cheaper. From Moshi, you will have to take the dala dala towards Arusha and get off at Boma. This should cost you around 1500 shillings (£0.5). Once in Boma, you can choose between going further with a tuk tuk or a boda boda (motorbike taxi). Depending on your negotiating skills, you should pay about 30,000 shillings (£10) for a return trip to the hot springs. The entrance fee to the Kikuletwa hot springs is another 20,000 shillings (£6). In total, if you do it on your own, you should be looking at spending around 50,000 shillings (£17), after you include lunch as well.
The way to Kikuletwa Hot Springs is in bad shape, so prepare for a good half an hour to an hour on a bumpy, unpaved road, full of holes and sometimes flooded.
What to Expect From a Kikuletwa Hot Springs Day Trip
A day trip to Kikuletwa Hot Springs is a very relaxing experience. The water at Kikuletwa Hot Springs has a beautiful turquoise color, almost unreal. The lagoons are surrounded by banyan trees, with roots cross over the shore and descent deep towards the bottom of the springs.
There are two options to get into the water: either you use an old wooden staircase, or you jump in the deeper part of the lagoon. As soon as you step onto the ladder, little fish will “attack” your feet and start nibbling the dead skin on your feet. It’s like a free fish spa treatment. If you have never done it, you will probably feel ticklish and maybe even uncomfortable. But no worries, as soon as you start moving around, the fish will leave you alone.
The water is so clear that you can easily see its bottom, strewn with big boulders and tree roots. Even if Kikuletwa is called a hot spring, you should know that the water is not hot, but lukewarm. It is refreshing, especially if the temperature outside is high. Also, there is a current inside the water which will pull you away. There are two ropes to hold on to, if you want to rest.
The water is deep, so if you can’t swim it would be a good idea to rent an inflatable device to keep you above the water. Don’t accept the first price given, negotiate.
For adrenaline seekers, there is a rope swing which you can use to jump in the water. The locals like to show off by doing different tricks before jumping in the pools.
Facilities at Kikuletwa Hotsprings
There are not a lot of facilities at Chemka Hot Springs, so it is recommended to arrive with your bathing suit on, ready for swimming. You can leave your changing clothes in the car, with your driver. I have been to the ATM just before visiting the hot springs, and my driver kept my backpack with him, making sure that it’s safe.
The changing room is kind of hut without a roof where with gaps between the wooden branches and no flooring. It’s better to change in the car if you have this possibility or wrap a towel around you.
The toilets are very basic, the squatty type, but clean. You do need to bring your own toilet paper.
On site there is one restaurant from where you can buy local food such as chips with eggs or barbecued meat, and cold drinks.
There are a few picnic tables where you can enjoy your lunch or the picnic you have brought with you from Moshi.
What to Bring With You When You Visit Chemka Hot Springs
Besides your bathing suit and a change of clothes, make sure to pack a towel and a pareo as well, which you can use as a blanket to sit on, if the picnic tables are not available.
If you have an underwater camera such as a GoPro, or a waterproof case for your phone, bring them on. The underwater landscape is pretty cool to take photos of.
Wear flip flops to avoid getting mud on your feet. The area close to the water can get muddy.
What to Eat at Kikuletwa Hotsprings
As I mentioned above, there is one restaurant at Kikuletwa hot springs which serves basic but tasty Tanzanian dishes, such as chipsi mayai or barbecued meat. I had the chipsi mayai, which is a delicious Tanzanian dish translating pretty much as omelette fries. It is eaten with loads of ketchup on top and a fresh vegetables salad on the side.
If you have an extra day to spare in Moshi, I highly recommend taking a day trip to Kikuletwa hot springs. I shopped around Moshi for a private tour and I chose to go with Matata Tours, after I negotiated the price for two full days of activities around the area. My day trips around Moshi were great and included pick up from We Travel Hostel where I was staying, but I can see on Google that they do have some bad reviews for hikes on Kilimanjaro.
Have you been to Tanzania before? Have you been to a natural hot spring before? Do you like hot springs? I would love to read your opinions in the comments below.
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