Machame Nkweshoo Cultural Tourism Women Group
Established in June 2008 with the vision of conserving the lushness of the environment through agricultural activities and planting trees, the women of Machame Nkweshoo came together to create; ‘Machame Nkweshoo Cultural Tourism Enterprise’. Machame is a typical rural village located on the green slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro with most inhabitants being farmers reliant on their crop harvests from coffee cultivation, the growing of vegetables and fruits. Its location being strategically located made it more effective to start up a cultural tourism enterprise especially for the clients interested in climbing up the mountain for acclimatization purposes. Besides the area being right t Mount Kilimanjaro, there are other historical attractions such as old Chagga caves, Nkosalulu waterfalls, a hot water spring(Kikuletwa) and the oldest churches among other attractions.
The exclusive purpose of women coming together to form this enterprise was to improve the community’s economic income as well as empowering the women in the society. This was after women for a long period of time, have been looked down upon and seen as incapable due to their lack of education.
With promoting tradition and cultural heritage through cultural tourism, women found themselves roles and responsibilities in the enterprise. Some acted as tour guides to provide village walk services, hikes in the Mt Kilimanjaro forest and give more information about the Wachagga tribe and historical reviews as well as many other activities undertaken within the enterprise. Other women trained and acted as traditional dancers to welcome the visitors as they arrive. Another bunch prepared traditional cuisines for the guests and some focused in the preparation of beads, ornaments and batik fabric for sale to the tourists.
It is not only from cultural tourism that the women get their income from. This is a bunch of hardworking women who came up with resourceful ideas and managed to hack various interventions to earn income from. Besides the above, these women also engage in Bee keeping where they harvest, package and sell honey to the people in the village. Coffee growing and processing was also done by another group of women where they harvest and brew it locally and sell it to the people in the community and the tourists who come visiting in their homestay. Some women in the group practiced farming where they plant inorganic vegetables to reduce the costs accrued from buying food materials to cook for the guests. Instead, they harvest directly from their farms. Poultry and livestock farming are not left behind as the immediate products, milk and eggs, are sold within the community for profits. And yet, another group deals with planting tree seedlings to help conserve the environment.
The income generated from these touristic visits and activities are used in ways such as:
- School building development
- Tree planting projects and initiatives.
- Water sources preservation and irrigation channels
- Women empowerment talks. Especially amongst the young girls on early marriage, early pregnancies and HIV/AIDS prevention.
Welcome all to Machame Nkweshoo Cultural Tourism Enterprise!
Some of the activities includes:
- A warm welcome in a local Chagga household
- Get an opportunity to learn how to prepare local dishes
- A guided visit to Nkosalulu water falls and Coffee farms
- A visit to one of the Oldest Church building
- A visit to the caves used as hides during tribal wars
- A view of the old coins
- An opportunity to learn Chagga relics, stories and old tools that have been used since the ancient times
- A visit to the local market
- Kilimanjaro trekking
- A walking tour through coffee and banana farmlands to the dense Kilimanjaro natural forests for acclimatization along fast flowing streams before climbing the mountain
- A home-stay experience before and after your wildlife safari or mountain climbing expedition
- A visit to view points for Mt. Kilimanjaro
- A visit to environmental conservation project-tree nursery
- A visit to several development projects in the area such as coffee production, bee-keeping, schools, health care and community library
- Extension to wildlife safaris, Kilimanajro trekking and Zanzibar beach holiday programs
Machame Nkweshoo Cultural Tour also engages in tree planting, water sources preservation, education to children, youth and public at large through teamwork, commitment, cooperation, involvement and public awareness campaigns.
A visit to old Chagga Caves (4 hours tour) These are massive underground tunnels (some caves reaching several kilometers) dwellings where the Chagga tribes hide from Maasai warriors during intertribal wars. Appreciate the architectural designs of the caves and listen to stories on how they were effective as hiding tunnels. You will get the full story of this war and the caves from our experienced guide when you arrive at the cave
An insight in local coffee production (2-4 hours tour) Walk through coffee and banana farms to learn how coffee is grown, harvested and prepared into a cup of coffee in local people’s style. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn local skillfull practices of producing the best quality Arabica coffee using traditional ways. While drinking a locally prepared cup of coffee, you will also be getting stories of how local farms are managed and different ways of preparing and processing coffee
A visit to the Local Market (3-5 hours tour) ‘Get a taste of Kalali market’ A walk through a local community market on Mondays and Thursdays will give you a good perspective on how Machame people live, eat and interact to each others. This tour will give you an insight into local economy and daily life activities of Chagga people.
A visit to oldest churches An opportunity to visit places where first German Missionary to Machame area visited many years ago. Explore some of the remaining memorial stones some put in place by Mr. Johannes Rebmann who came to Machame around 1840s where they built the first church in the area. Get an insight on how these missionaries worked to expand the missionary tasks in other parts of Kilimanjaro and the rest of Tanzania. Take a round walk to explore the whole route of the missionaries in the area and enjoy the scenery, people and various old buildings.
A visit to the waterfalls (3 hours tour) Take a walk to Nkosalulu water falls in Makoa River that flows from Mt Kilimanjaro forest. The river with it waterfalls is surrounded by banana and coffee farms where visitors will see the indigenous people farming by traditional means.
A visit to Local Schools (3 hours tour) An opportunity to visit Local Primary Schools (age 7-15) and Secondary Schools (age 15-20). You will be able to interact with both pupils/students and teachers in classrooms and outside.
Other activities; Environmental conservation initiative. Get a glimpse of how the locals conserve their beautiful environment. The guide will explain how the conservation activities such as rainwater harvesting undertaken in the area are ideal for a rural setting. All visitors who visit us will get involved in tree planting activities for at least one or two trees and hence become part of our conservation project. This starts with a short walk to the tree nursery owned by Machame- Rural Action Women Group that is responsible for making Kilimanjaro and the world at large a nice place to live.
A Traditional Dance While enjoying your stay in Machame, Chagga traditional dances will excite yourself and provide a good lesson on various cultural aspects. Amazingly, you will notice that various dances have specific meanings. You are welcome to dance with us.
A Visit to Local Brew Plant A journey of 3 hours takes us to a brewing site where a local drink ‘mmbege’ is brewed. Get to know all procedures for brewing as some will be practised on your presence. The raw materials and utensils used being very local and yet ‘a sweet wine’ is prepared. Welcome for tasting if not drinking. A great secret is in this wine; listen to nice stories about this local brew. You will appreciate its ‘value’ in this community.
Batik making & weaving While enjoying GOD’S miseries on chaggaland, you will be allowed to participate in local art of cloth processing using local procedures and weaving of various decorative stuff using different raw materials such as banana fibres. Pick some batik for friends and relatives.
Tour Guides:- Majority of the tour guides of Machame-Nkweshoo Cultural Tourism Programme are ladies/ women of the Wachaga tribe who knows well the area, their culture & history and speaks English. Bookings for various excursions and tours can be made at Tanzania Tourist Board- Tourist Information Office in Arusha or through your tour operators/travel agents/lodge & Hotel Operators.