Maasai tribesmen stand in front of a bajaj in Arusha, Tanzania, on Tuesday (02/04). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Arusha: the Heart of Tanzania
BY : YUDHA BASKORO
APRIL 03, 2019
"Jambo, jambo bwana. Habari gani. Mzuri sana. Wageni, wakaribishwa Tanzania yetu hakuna matata!"
Jambo Bwana was the song that Mr. Eugene Malle, a marketing officer of the Tanzania Tourism Board (TTB), sang to greet Jakarta Globe's photographer Yudha Baskoro the moment he set foot at Kilimanjaro International Airport in northern Tanzania on Sunday (31/03). It's a welcoming song for everyone who has arrived for the first time in this heart of Africa.
The song was written by Teddy Harrison in 1979. Its lyrics, written in Swahili, Tanzania's national language, mean "Hello sir, how are things going? Very well." The last line, "hakuna matata," a phrase made famous by the Disney film The Lion King, means "no problem."
Eugene said visitors to Africa should take the song's message to heart: that most of the continent, and especially Tanzania, ia a safe place to visit and travel around in.
Eugene then took the Jakarta Globe team by car to Arusha, the largest city in Tanzania. After an hour drive, Mkoa wa Arusha began to show its magic: the stunning landscapes and colors of the foothills of Mount Meru, the second highest mountain in Tanzania.
Arusha had a population of more than one and a half million people mostly made up of members of the Iraqw, Wameru, Sonjo, Chagga, Pare, Nguu and Maasai tribes.
Arusha is smack bang in the center of northern Tanzania's safari and game drive tracks. The area also hosts three national parks: Kilimanjaro, Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
The city's main landmark is a clock tower, a legacy of the British colonial administration that ruled Tanzania until 1961. Today, the tower is marked as the midway point between Cairo and Capetown and is a popular meeting point for locals and tourists.
Charles Mpanda from the Tanganyika Ancient Routes travel bureau said Arusha used to be a mining town where the beautiful and rare Tanzanite stone was found. Tanzanite got its name from Tanzania because the blue sapphire can only be found in Arusha.
The locals in Arusha are full of smiles, and would often greet tourists with a "Karibu" ("welcome") or "Asante sana" ("thank you very much").
Khatibu Makenga, the first secretary of the United Republic of Tanzania Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, said Arusha is the "sweet heart of Tanzania" and that it's a must-visit town if you want to find the true soul of Africa.
Jakarta Globe's photographer Yudha Baskoro has been sponsored by Canon Datascrip Indonesia to capture the beauty of Arusha in Tanzania. All photos in this story were taken using Canon's brand new compact size mirrorless camera, Canon EOS RP with a Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM lens.