Geita, Here I come

Upon arrival, I checked into Fitty Hotel at the foot of Geita Hill. After lunch and an hour-long siesta, I was ready to tour Geita town. Geita is the administrative capital of the mineral-rich Geita Region, found in the northwestern part of Tanzania.

I walked out of the hotel and took a photo of its signpost before flagging down a random tricycle taxi. Popularly known as Bajaj, the three-wheelers are commonly used in Tanzania. My rider, a young man who introduced himself as Elly, knew exactly where to take me when I informed him that I needed a tour of his hometown.

Our first stop was the roundabout that connects all four major roads of Geita. The traffic circle is the most popular landmark in the area. From the roundabout, we headed to Geita Hill. My rider and tour guide refers to the elevation covering huge gold deposits as Mlima wa Dhahabu (Gold Hill).

We stopped briefly near the entrance of Geita Gold Mine (GGM), also known as Geti La Mzungu (White Man’s Gate). GGM is a subsidiary of Anglo Gold Ashanti, one of the most established gold mining companies in the world.

Shortly thereafter, we parked the Bajaj behind the premises of GGM and hiked the hill for about twenty minutes. One step at a time, I got a glimpse into the day-to-day life of a small-scale miner.

When we returned to downtown Geita, we rode past the Gold Market. Since this tour took place on Sunday, we couldn’t visit the most organized gold market in sub-Saharan Africa. I did so when business resumed the following day, but that’s a story for another day.

After admiring the architectural splendor of the new church at the Catholic Diocese of Geita, Elly pulled the throttle to Classic Street. Known for its vibrant nightlife, the bustling street is a cluster of bars, nightclubs and eateries. Speaking of eateries, I had dinner in one of those food joints before popping into Club Bever. Although I am no longer a party animal, I do visit clubs once in a while to poke my nose into other people’s affairs.

When it was time to leave, I boarded another Bajaj, only to realize that I had forgotten the name of my hotel. It is at this point when the photo of the signpost taken before meeting Elly became useful.