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G's Africa Travel Journal Graham's Journey to Africa. Starting with climbing Kilimanjaro, a photo safari in Kenya, followed by a 71 day overland trip from Nairobi to Cape Town via the Gorillas in Rwanda & Hot Air Balloon safari over the Serengeti.

To Tanzania, first sight of Kilimanjaro & the Wavy Dong!

KENYA | Monday, 26 August 2013 | Views [406]

26th August Nairobi to Moshi (Kilimanjaro Launch Pad) & the Wavy Dong!

Altitude: 800m, ie 694mmHg or 91% of O2 available at Sea Level (although the percentage of O2, 21%, remains the same)

My SP02: 97%

Woke up at 3:45am. Body still on Queensland time I think? Either that or excitement?! Didn't need to be up until 5:45. A quick breakfast and surprisingly my taxi was there waiting for me. Another hair-raising taxi journey through the chaos of the Kenyan capital followed.  There are police at each set of traffic lights - otherwise no-one stops on the red. A good thing they have is a big countdown clock above each traffic light, so when its red you know how long you have to wait until it changes - not that anyone waits anyhow. I will try get some video footage of my next journey through Nairobi and get it on You Tube!

As you walk into the airport building you have your luggage scanned. So I had to load 2 bags, jacket, camera and carryon into the scanner. Can't wait until I get there as it is a pain having so much stuff. Checked in, got my boarding pass and then a did a quick count. I always count how many bits of stuff I have when I am flying so I don't forget anything. Found I only had 2 pieces instead of 3. Shit! Where as my camera? Thought it must have been nicked off my trolley when I was loading the scanner! But no, after a quick search I found it lying on the floor next to security screening and everyone ignoring it. Phew!! All those camera lenses I am carrying are no use without a camera body! Amazed it was still there but I think that everyone was so busy trying to check in, clear immigration etc etc they just ignored it. In the chaos I must not have picked it up. A lucky escape! Went to the departure gate and sat and waited thinking how lucky I was to still have camera.

Went through security to the temperary waiting room, a marquee to find out the flight was delayed by 45 minutes. When we finally got going for the half hour flight it was a hell of a flight.  Did a half loop around Kili, but unfortunately the wrong side of the plane for me. Stunningly beautiful! Huge! Imposing! Intimidating almost.  Cannae wait.  It was an hour and a quater taxi ride to Springlands hotel in Moshi.  The roads are worse than in Zim and Moshi is very dry and dusty.  The road to the hotel through Moshi is horrendous and I thought I was being taken off down into a remote area to be robbed.  I was determined if that happened the driver would get it first - but thankfully I was being too suspicious.  Probably due to my Southern African roots.  

Springlands hotel is basic to say the least, but functional and serves one purpose.  A base to launch your trip to the top of Kili.  Once checked into the hotel I met my room mate for my shared room & as it turned out - tent mate for the climb.  He introduced himself as Davy Wong, a Canadian Banker, recently made redundant and taking a long holiday whilst on gardening leave.  Davy said the best way not to forget his name was to swap the initial letter of both his names, that is: "Wavy Dong"! You are right Wavy, I wont forget that one!  Hopefully I don't see the dong waving too much!  Same age as me. Not only doing Kili but also doing a 71 day overland after Kili, not the same one as me though. Same rucksack. Same everything! A tad un-nerving. But good that it was someone I could get on with as that was one of the things I was worried about on the trip.  Spending a week climbing & living in each others pocket in a small tent on the highest mountain in Africa with someone you dont get on with would be a challenging time and an unpleasant trip. 

For the rest of the afternoon Wavy Dong and I spent our time repacking our day packs, packs for the porters and the bag of kit we were leaving at Moshie and generally organising. Trying to get all the things we wanted in, debating what to take, what to leave behind? We must have each repacked about 3 times. 

Later that day at 4pm we had a meeting with the rest of our climbing group an the lead guide of our tour.  Our lead guide was "Issa", an experienced guide with many successful summit trips to his name.  The rest of our group was a good mix and I was confident we would all get on.


Wavy Dong - Banker (Canadian)

Mo - Anaesthesiologist (USA)

Jennifer - Travel Co-ordinator and USA level Triathlete (USA)

Kim & Richard - Banker & Water Engineer Respectively (Both English)

Laura & Dennis - Paediatric ITU Nurse & Salesman (I think) (Both Canadian)

Elisa & Mark - Paediatric ITU Nurse & Salesman (Both Canadian)

Sorry Dennis, I cant remember what you do?  With Laura and Elisa being sisters.  So, 3 couples and 4 singletons making up a group of 10.  We were all excited, touched with a little nervousness but we were all keen to get going.   After Issa's briefing we had a bit better idea of what was going to happen.  No trip notes or books can give you the full information.  The main point Issa wanted to get across was "Pole Pole" (Slowly Slowly) was the key to success.  After our briefing we set about hiring gear, repacking (again!) and had dinner.  Early to bed but I did't sleep too well - not sure whether it was excitement or the Wavy Dong snoring?


Travel Tips

  1. Pre-organised Taxi from Jomo Kenyatta Airport Nairobi to Heron Portico Hotel was KSh 2400 one way. Found out that if you book the hotel's own minibus its only KSh1800. About US$1 to KSh80 - so I was out of pocket about A$7. Book through your hotel before you go if you can.
  2. I had to travel through Nairobi to get to Kili as I couldn't get the correct connecting flights. My advice is fly straight there if you can and avoid Nairobi airport if at all possible.. Taxi's to & from the airport. Clearing immigration and customs twice. Not worth the hassle and best avoided. Although it may be better once it is re-built.
  3. Dont use G Adventures to book your transfer to Moshi from Kilimanjaro Hotel, its cheaper booking through Zara Tours.  G Adventures subcontracts its Kili trips to Zara tours. 
  4. Springlands Hoitel is basic.
  5. Lots of Mountain Gear to hire at Springlands hotel - but check it before you use it!

Tags: kili, kilimanjaro, moshi, nairobi, tanzania, traffic


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