Monday, July 21, 2014

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro: Part 1

After 10 days in Uganda with no bag,
it finally arrived on the day I was to fly to 
Kilimanjaro airport.

Through much red tape,
Robert Katende (SOM staff) helped me locate it
just an hour before I left Entebbe.

When I arrived in Kilimanjaro airport,
Laura was waiting for me!
Sadly, her luggage had not even made it to Dar Es Salaam airport.
Poor Laura.

She ended up "hiring" all her gear from Zara Adventure Tours,
but she's a trooper
and never once complained.

Our ride to the Springlands Hotel in Moshi,
with Laura & I and Ken Jensen; 
a 52 year old South African
who was to climb with us,
took about an hour of hurtling down a dark African road
with pedestrians,
and bicyclists
weaving in and out around us.

Pretty normal for African.

The Springlands Hotel is located in the worst part of Moshi.
The dirt road is almost impossible to drive 
with it's deep ruts,
pot holes,
requiring the slowest of speeds.

Suddenly, we were in front of a tall black iron gate
which opened for us revealing an oasis
of outdoor lighting, 
beautiful grounds and
a buzz of activity.
We checked in,
cleaned up and met for dinner
in the open air dining room.

Juma, our waiter
encouraged us to learn a few Swahili words,
even creating a cheat sheet for us to use on our trek.

After a good night's sleep
the morning was a blur of buses and vans,
luggage and people from all over the world
getting ready to load and head out to 
whatever adventure awaited them.

After breakfast,
we still hadn't met our guide,
but then a man approached asking if I was April or Laura.

Filbert, our guide,
shook my hand and encouraged us to complete all our tasks
so we could be on our way.
We checked in our excess luggage,
stored our passports and cash in the safe deposit box, 
allowed the porters to grab our bags
tying them to the top of the bus,
then we jumped aboard ourselves.

We drove four hours
stopping once for our permit to exit Kilimanjaro National Park
at Marangu gate.
We didn't need a permit to enter on the Rongai Route.

Tanzania reminded me somewhat of Uganda,
though the dress was colorful wraps of cloth (Kanga)
 rather than Basuti with their waist band and pointy shoulders.

We arrived at the Rongai Route--Nalemoru Gate
where we stopped to eat a box lunch 
while the porters,
guide- Filbert,
assistant guide- Musini,
cook- Diga
and toilet porter
hustled to ready all the supplies,
and weigh in their packs and loads.
This is Nesir, our porter and our waiter.
Our toilet porter:
sadly I never learned his name.

Our toilet was a bucket with a seat and lid
with a little chemicals thrown in 
for smell control.
It was surrounded by a tall, narrow green tent 
which we lovingly referred to as our bath house.

We began hiking on a dirt path heading uphill
passing by gardens full of potatoes,
maize, green peppers etc.
We were in the cultivation zone.

Soon we entered a forest of tall firs with long needles,
about 6-8 inches in length.
This was a lumber plantation
with shacks and rickety fenced in homes dotted along the path.
The people who lived there were security for the plantation,
Filbert explained.

After hiking about 3 hours we reached Simba Camp.
This new building was almost complete.
Nice lodging made of cypress wood
for those who paid more than we did for our trek.
This was our home away from home.
The porters carried all this,
setting it up and tearing it all down each day as needed.
Breakfast, sometimes lunch and dinner
were served here each day for us.
Neesir was a great waiter.

Millet Porridge
Fried eggs,
cucumber & tomatoes,
instant coffee,
tea and/or Milo.

samosa-meat filled pastry,
or chapoti-flat bread,
mango juice.

Various Soups--cucumber, carrot, green bean, etc,
fish or chicken or pasta with curry sauce,
cabbage salad,
tiny bananas,

It was all very yummy!
Each camp
where we stayed the night
had various other climbers staying
the night too.
They were like little villages.

Part 2 coming up....


Elaine Tourville said...

Thanks for this record of your climb, April. It's very interesting to find out what that part of the world is like

Margaret Brown said...

Thanks, April. I love it. Keep the details coming! Mj