A Travellerspoint blog

Safari: Day One

Lake Manyara

(Report from Chris)

Today is my second day of safari. I'm happy to be safely off the mountain. I have a lot to share about my experiences there, but I might not have a chance to post about it until I get back.

Yesterday we went to Lake Manyara for our first safari stop. It was an amazing experience, and we were able to see a ton of animals including elephants, giraffes, hippos, monkeys, baboons, zebras,wildebeest, and many exotic birds. I was pleasantly surprised at how close the animals got to the vehicle.

Our safari vehicle is impressive. There is plenty of room for the six of us, everyone has a window seat, and the roof pops up to allow for easier game viewing. From the outside, the vehicle looks similar to the land rovers they use at Rhino Rally. Apparently, Busch Gardens did an excellent job of recreating an African safari.

The landscape here is absolutely beautiful. There are large hills everywhere that are scattered with trees.

Last night we camped at a nearby campsite, and the old familiar feeling of being on the mountain quickly returned. Three roosters were hanging out right by my tent this morning, so I had quite the wake-up call at 5:30. I need one of those for home to replace my alarm clock. Today we are headed for the Serengeti, and I will stay the remainder of my nights here at lodges.

I'm traveling with the same group as on the mountain and we've all become very close. I couldn't have asked for better traveling companions.

Our safari guide is pleasant and knowledgeable. The mood is relaxed as we are all still a little wiped from the mountain.

Today we will be looking out for rhinos, leopards, and lions.

(Posting delayed eight hours).

Posted by Chris2343 22.01.2011 07:55 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Day 10

Climb Completed

(Report from Chris)

Chris reached the 19,434 foot summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro on January 19th and is now safely off of the mountain.

Posted by Chris2343 20.01.2011 19:45 Archived in Tanzania Comments (1)

Day 4: 1st day on Kilimanjaro

Machame Gate to Machame Hut

(Report from Chris)

I'm having a rough time. We started late so we had to do an eight hour hike in only four hours. It may be the hardest thing I've ever done but it gets a little easier from here. Rain poured for hours, which left water and thick mud over everything. Unfortunately, my waterproof bag leaked, and now all my stuff is wet. There are pools of water and mud everywhere, including inside my tent. I attempted to share a tent, but just couldn't because there was not enough room and it was impossible to get organized.

I now know that I can handle the climb (barely) but I'm not sure I can take being wet, muddy, and smelly for an entire week.

(post delayed eight hours)

Posted by Chris2343 14.01.2011 21:30 Archived in Tanzania Comments (2)

Day 3 - Part II

Arrival in Tanzania

My flight on KLM was great. I had no issues at the airport, and I thoroughly enjoyed talking with my friends and their climbing friends. About half of the passengers were also Kili climbers. It was clear from the gear and pricey namebrand clothing.

On a side note, each gate had its own security instead of one big security point for everyone. I've never seen that before.

The plane was a very large Boeing 777-200, and the service was fantastic. Lots of food, desserts, beer, and wine (all free of course). They even came around a few times with hot towels. It just seems like a step up from Delta and US Air's intercontinental service. The entertainment system was even a little better than normal with a language course option, among other things.

I watched Summit on the Summit, which is a program about a group of celebrities who climbed Kilimanjaro last year to raise awareness of the global clean water crisis. They took an eight day Lemosho trek, which merges with the route I am taking, Machame, about halfway up the mountain. The program features the celebrities climbing the Barranco wall, which I'll be doing. There is a very narrow ledge that you have to pass, and you must hug the rock wall as you pass sideways to keep from falling. It looks intimidating, but it must not be bad because I didn't tead much about it before the trip. Although, Rich from my Amsterdam flight did ask me if I was nervous about that particular portion of the climb. The celebrities went the first week of January last year and had some terrible weather. Hopefully we'll get luckier and have some clear days.

While on the subject of charity climbs, I'd like to thank all of you who have donated to Shared Hope International. Your support means so much to me and the girls who are helped by it.

I talked with the woman sitting next to me a bit. She is from Iowa and wil be doing missionary work in Tanzania for the next three weeks. She will face some pretty terrible conditions, so I applauded her dedication and compassion. Her husband successfully climbed Kili via a 7-day Machame trek.

I purposely planned to get a window seat for this flight so that I could catch a glimpse of the Sahara from above. We flew over the Alps, which were so beautiful I wanted to cry. Then, we traveled down the east coast of Italy. I used the tracking feature of the entertainment system to figure out exactly when we were going over Soverato, the beach town near where my relatives live. I was amazed at how clearly I could see the boot shape of the land. It was really a treat. Flying over the Sahara was amazing. All I could see were millions of little sand dunes. At one point I could see the Nile curving like a snake. It was all just sand with a thin line of water cutting through it. It was dark when we landed, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to see Kilimanjaro!

The airport was hot and chaotic. Three immigration officers were helping all 425 of us. I made friends with Franc, a guy from Germany who is also traveling alone.

The ride to our hotel took about 45 mins. So far, the town reminds me a lot of Jamaica.

My hotel is basic. It is very hot, and I will sleep under a mosquito net to protect myself. I hear a lot of weird animal noises outside. I'm already well out of my comfort zone.

We received bad news about the weather from our driver. He told us that due to global warming, the rainy season that usually ends in December is still going on. We can expect heavy rain and thunderstorms every day. Oh fun. I don't know that it is global warming though-probably just my bad luck.

More on Africa soon. I only have a few hours to sleep before I have to get up.

(posting delayed four hours)

Posted by Chris2343 14.01.2011 06:43 Archived in Tanzania Comments (1)

Day 3: Amsterdam; Tanzania

Flight to Africa

rain

Another rainy day in Amsterdam. I'm so happy I decided to stay at the airport. My bag needed to be checked in 3 hrs before departure!! I would have had to arrive 4 hrs early if I didn't stay here. Instead, I was able to wake up, drop off my bag, and then go back to the hotel to get ready, have breakfast, and write this blog.

Another long flight today. I'm excited to get to Africa. I won't arrive in Tanzania until 9:30 pm. After immigration, customs, and transfer, I probably won't be at my hotel until midnight. I will have to repack everything for the mountain and try to grab a few hours of sleep before leaving for the mountain. Tomorrow is going to be a rough first day climbing.

Posted by Chris2343 13.01.2011 08:46 Archived in Netherlands Comments (1)

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