Themi waterfalls Arusha, in the background with the Themi river (near)
Themi waterfalls Arusha, on the far righ with the Themi river (near)
Themi waterfalls Arusha, view of the Themi river (downstream) with falls behind
Themi waterfalls Arusha, view from underneath next to water collecting structure
Themi waterfalls Arusha, view from a distance standing next to the Themi river (near)
Themi waterfalls Arusha, the rock above it - no water
Themi waterfalls Arusha, from a distance (centre)
Themi waterfalls Arusha, another view from a distance
Themi waterfalls Arusha, the river upstream with falls on the right (off view)
Themi waterfalls Arusha, celery farms on the river upstream with falls on the right (off view)
Themi waterfalls Arusha, the river downstream from the falls (behind and off view)
Themi waterfalls Arusha, a small dam for the celery farms downstream from the falls (left and off view)
Themi waterfalls Arusha, celery farms downstream from it
Themi waterfalls Arusha, the celery farms downstream from it on the Themi river
Themi waterfalls Arusha, one of the photo points on the trail back from it.
Themi waterfalls Arusha, reserve forest next to the hiking trail
Themi waterfalls Arusha, part of the hiking trail to it (behind and off view)
Themi waterfalls Arusha, part of the hiking trail leading to it
Themi waterfalls Arusha, hiking trail on the descent to it
Themi waterfalls Arusha, a view of the hiking to it.
Themi waterfalls Arusha, pipe from Meru that carries water up a hill using gravity alone
Themi waterfalls Arusha, at the start of the trail - Ol' Doinyo Sapuk on the opposite side of the river valley
The Themi waterfalls is formed at a point where one of the underground tributaries to the Themi river flows into its valley. It is located in the early stages of the Themi river, near its source mount Meru of Arusha - Tanzania. Unlike other waterfalls, this one flows from an underground stream, flowing through layers of bedrock, until it meets the main river valley, falling more than 15 metres.
However, unlike in the early days, the water from the falls is now being tapped off by the AUWASA for use in homes downstream, as it is considered to be one of the few naturally clean sources of water in the city - uncontaminated by any human activities.
There is a large concrete structure that collects the water, before it is funneled off into a pipe and this is just one of many in the area that carry water without the need for a pump. Amazingly so, there is another one nearby that uses gravity alone to carry water up the side of a large hill - Ol' Doinyo Sapuk, from higher up in mount Meru.
Also near the waterfalls are some celery farms, cleverly using the water of the actual Themi river to grow it. The area around the river and the falls belongs to AUWASA, but Themi falls leisure park have been given permission to conduct tourism activities inside it, in return they maintain and protect the area.
What to do there?First off hike to the actual water fall itself, with the path leading to it being a steep but well prepared one, with steps and wooden rails. It generally can be used throughout the year, with some caution being needed in the rainy seasons. Entry to the park is TSHS 5000 for Tanzanian locals and 5 USD for non residents
Swimming or any other activities that contaminate the river are not allowed, mainly because the water is used in many homes downstream and some parts of the city; However, you can still enjoy the beauty of the place, including the waterfalls itself, the celery farms downstream and the clean - crystal clear cold water of the Themi river itself.
The area around the falls is truly quiet, with the exception of a few birds chirping here and there. There are several beautiful photo points that the guide would be more than happy to point out to you. Also remember to tip the guide, who in most cases is a local of the Olgilai village, even if it is a small amount as it is one of the only few ways that they know if they did a good job.
After the waterfalls, you also can have a tour of the Olgilai villages or climb to the top of one of the neighbouring hills Ol' Doinyo Sapuk, Kivesi and Narengoro, each of which will provide you with amazing view of mount Meru and the city of Arusha, along with beautiful photos to take home.
There also is another much larger waterfall about a 30 minutes walk from this one that you could visit. One thing to note is that paths in area may be confusing to non locals, which is one of the reasons why you need a guide.
For accommodation, you can either camp at Themi falls leisure park for a small fee - TSHS 10,000 for Tanzanian residents and 10 USD for foreigners. Food is also available on site.
Best time to visitAny time of the year that is not the rainy season (march to june). Although it may be hard to hike in the rain, the park does have the necessary equipment such as rain jackets that you can rent for a small fee. The roads to the place are well maintained and may still be accessible even in the rainy seasons.
Location of Themi waterfallThe Themi waterfalls are located a short distance from the Themi falls leisure park, in the rural part of Arusha - Tanzania. It normally takes about a fifteen minutes hike down hill to get to the waterfalls from there. The falls are also within the Olgilai village and on the slopes of mount Meru. For more information on its location, please see the map below (click to start).
How to get there?First, you would have to get to Themi falls leisure park, which has a turning point along the Arusha - Moshi highway. The turning point is located opposite the mount Meru hotel (a little to the east) - heading north and is the same road that takes you to the Arusha district council offices. Themi falls is about 5km past the council, up a steep hill so make sure your engine and car in general are in good condition before actually going there. At a T junction on this road take a left, or if lost, then use the map or ask around for directions.
There are minibuses headed in that direction, but these do not go all the way to Themi falls. So if you do not have your own transport, then a taxi might help preferably from the highway or better yet, the park may provide transport to the area (from the main road) for larger groups of people. If you do happen to take a taxi, then please remember to arrange transport from the place.
ReferencesMost information on this page is from an actual visit to the museum
AbbreviationsAUWASA - Arusha Urban Water Supply Authority