Eat, Drink, Explore: Iringa

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College Study Abroad

College Study Abroad


With more than 120 different ethnic groups, Tanzania’s cuisine is unusually diverse. However, there’s one food you will find almost anywhere in the country: ugali. Ugali is a starchy, stiff dough prepared with cornmeal, cassava flour, or millet. (Think incredibly thick cream of wheat.) Like a basket of bread in the U.S., ugali accompanies most meals as a supplement to the main course (which might be fish, meat, vegetables, or beans). Typically, ugali is shared from a large bowl for everyone to enjoy. Dig in!


East Africans start and end their days with a cup of masala chai tea. There are slight regional differences in flavors, brew time, and ratio of ingredients from Kenya, to Uganda, to Tanzania, but the basic flavor profile remains fairly consistent. Expect a cup to zap your taste buds with a fusion of flavors including black peppercorn, clove, cardamom, and fresh ginger. The Tanzanian recipe calls for one long cinnamon stick, enough milk to render it caramel colored, and enough sugar or honey to sweeten the taste. Masala chai is best enjoyed hot – steaming, actually – so savor a cup fresh from the pot!


For only 30,000 TZS (roughly 13 USD) you can take a guided tour of Igeleke, a cultural heritage site located six miles from downtown Iringa. Igeleke was once used by local communities as a sacred place for rituals, but today its archaeological remains are gated to protect 40,000-year-old rock art paintings. If you partake in this 3-hour tour, come prepared. Bring your own snacks and water and wear comfortable shoes. (Note - there are no restrooms on the hiking trail.) After ascending a steep hill covered with indigenous plants and trees, you’ll reach a fence you can only access with a guide. From there you can marvel at more than 30 well preserved hunter-forager style paintings drawn with red ochre that feature figures of humans, giraffes, eland, wildebeests, elephants, and candelabra trees.

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