Feb 1, 2014 - The real Africa?
This morning has been really eye opening as several of us have been into Moshi and it was an experience to say the least. If the scene at the Mweka gate yesterday was bad then today has been even worse. When we were waiting for people outside a craft shop the bus was literally besieged by people trying to sell us the same things that we were offered (and refused) outside the gate yesterday: t-shirts, bracelets, hats and flags. The touts really need to work on their sales pitch as when we weren't buying anything, their sense of entitlement...Jump to full entry
Jan 31, 2014 - Long looked for luxuries...
So we have finally finished trekking and are back in the luxuries.of the Weru Weru River lodge where I am again sat relaxing by the pool under the hot African sun. The walk down from the high camp where we spent last night was good, passing down through the tropical jungle that surrounds the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro. With each passing step people were starting to recover from varying maladies that have been aquired as a result of the reduced oxygen levels of high altitude. Unfortunately the descent was tough as we lost 2,000m in about 9...Jump to full entry
Jan 30, 2014 - rising, like Olympus above the Serengeti
So here it is, the big part of the trip. What can I say? Seeing Kilimanjaro from the hotel on Saturday with its glaciers rising high into the African sky brought the sheer lunacy of what we were about to attempt was visibly brought home to us. We were told that the "dead" hours between 3-5am would be the worst as it is when the night is at its coldest and the really vital thing is to keep a positive attitude, again Dave's "attitude not aptitude will get you altitude" was proved incredibly accurate, in his briefing last night Dave said that...Jump to full entry
Jan 29, 2014 - checkmate?
So all the pieces are all in place and we are now all safely in Barafu camp, which will be our base camp for our ascent of Kibo which starts at midnight, and we will hopefully get to Uhuru Peak about 8am. Today's trek has been really interesting, starting with the Barranco wall which was great fun - proper hands on at times, and the Kissing Rock had you literally kissing the rock surface for protection. My intial fear about this part of the trek came from viewing the comic relief footage, but as they chartered a helicopter to get them from...Jump to full entry
Jan 28, 2014 - There's no way out...
So here we are at Barranco camp and looking at the rock wall on our left as we headed into camp this evening there was no visible path to be seen heading up and out of camp. As I said earlier, the Barranco wall is the one thing that has concerned me, but we will have to see tomorrow morning what the reality holds. Today has been a reminder that we are on a serious mountain with its own weather conditions as we have had the proverbial 4 seasons in one day. We left the Shira camp this morning with clear blue skies and frost on the ground; it...Jump to full entry
Jan 27, 2014 - Shira camp
So our second day trekking has been good, a day of contrasts to yesterday but ultimately one of satisfaction. We are now at Shira camp, located at 3800m on the edge of the Shira plateau and rather exposed to the elements as there is nothing to protect from, or deviate, winds blowing down from the glaciers above or blowing across from Mount Meru to the North. Evidenced by the fact that as soon as we arrived at the high point of the walk 50m above the camp it suddently started to cloud over and before 5 minutes were out, we had all stopped to...Jump to full entry
Jan 26, 2014 - First steps...
So it has finally happened and we have taken our first footsteps on Mount Kilimanjaro. We left the hotel in reasonably good time (at 8am)for a 45 minute bus ride to the Machame gate which provided an amazing panorama of the mountain and the entire plateau leading up to, and over, Kibo. Here we met up with our porters (who will become integral to the success of this trip) and watched them weigh each of their loads, eventually haggling over the weight of the loads that they will carry for us on the mountain. To put it into perspective, they...Jump to full entry
Jan 25, 2014 - Best laid plans...
...often go astray and unfortunately this is no exception. So what has gone wrong already? Nothing major thankfully, but having brought a new phone so that I can update this journal it appears that something was missed in the Virgin store and the phone is stubbornly refusing to connect to any of the Tanzanian phone networks. Who'd have thought that me and technology don't agree! We are sat round the pool of the stunning Weru Weru lodge and I am connected via the wireless here. It is 29c and postcard perfect as the lodges are all thatched...Jump to full entry
Nov 16, 2013 - Dar es Salaam
Nov 7 Before retiring for the night, Ramona had warned us to draw the light-blocking window blinds if we wanted to sleep in. Knowing that we were off to a late start the next day, we took her advice and, probably for the first time in a month, slept in to 9:00am. We actually had Johnny worried since he was up with Ramona at her usual waking time of 5:20am to make it in to her teaching job at the local International School for 7:00am. However, he occupied his time with the local newspapers, a routine he has developed since recently retiring...Jump to full entry
Nov 12, 2013 - Tanga - Dar es Salaam
Nov 3 Dawn, when it arrived, brightened up the room and chased away the sleep. Although Ethel had told us to sleep in the next morning and Asha (formerly a muslim but now rechristened as Rose, an Evangelical Christian!) would prepare us breakfast. However, that plan was destroyed by the domestic life in the neighbourhood and so we ended up having a four-course breakfast with Agnello and Ethel before they headed off to a new work week. We were lucky to have Asha do some washing for us, our luggage having been weighed down with dust from Mara...Jump to full entry
Nov 10, 2013 - Nungwi, Zanzibar
Nov 1 Packing was now a routine for us but since we had spread ourselves out, we needed to make sure that we didn't leave anything behind. Unknown to us, our arrival at the breakfast buffet was being monitored since there was a special treat awaiting. Abdulrahim made good on his promise of providing us with homemade mandaazi, vitumboa and chilla... all three being deliciously sweet and oily breakfast treats. We also made the connection between Victoria fruit (juice which Blanche treated us to at Louis Yoghurt Parlour) and bungo juice in the...Jump to full entry
Nov 7, 2013 - Last hurrah in Africa!
We spent the early morning on another safari, getting to the airport by 10:30 for our 11 AM flight out of the Serengeti. As you can see by the pictures, we saw new birds and animals! We left with bag lunches from Nomad Tanzania (very thoughtful, guys!) on two small Regional planes, stopping at Arusha for about an hour while Yoi, Carol, and Randy boarded our plan and another couple joined us. It was cloudy and foggy so we still didn't see the great mountain! The plane ride to Mt. Kilimanjaro was a short one and we arrived there just before 1...Jump to full entry