Tanzania Diary: Kilimanjaro
Feb 21 - Mar 3, 2013

Bob, Alan, Mike, with much assistance from Andrew, Loshie, Anthon, Harrison, John, Kreti, Frank, Isaya, Nasib, and many more

See also Tanzania Highlights
Tanzania Diary 2: Arusha, Mar 4, 2013
Tanzania Diary 3: Safari to Ngorongoro Crater Mar 5 - Mar 6, 2013
Tanzania Diary 4: Safari to Serengeti, Mar 7 - Mar 9, 2013

Day 1/2 [Thu/Fri]: 2/21/2013 - 2/22/2013, Santa Rosa, CA to Arusha, Tanzania
- KLM 10 hr. flight to Amsterdam via Detroit, Michigan.
- KLM 10 hr. flight to Arusha
- Meet Alan at the airport for the first time and we click immediately, becoming good friends over the course of the trek/safari. Alan is an entrepreneur who owns/runs 1-800-Plumbing Inc and Auction Reference Dot Com. Alan is also a photographer, some of whose work, including photos of this trip, are available at http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/alan+cline/all
- Simon, of Thomson Safaris, picks us up at airport and takes us to nearby Kia Lodge

Teacups in Amsterdam Airport

Arrival in Arusha

Day 3 [Sat]: 2/23/2013, Ndarakwai Ranch
- Unexpected and wonderful, guided view of giraffes, zebra, wildebeast, warthogs, termite mounds, eland, impala
- Bush baby comes to dinner and gets banana slices from the Camp Manager, Ailsa, and Alan and Bob

Giraffes, zebra, etc. at Ndarakwai Ranch
Bob and Ailsa feeding the bushbaby at Ndarakwai Ranch. He came by at dinnertime and got banana slices.

Day 4 [Sun]: 2/24/2013, Forest Camp
- Simon drives us to the gate, where we meet our lead guide, Andrew. His expertise, his knowledge are impressive.
- Mike is the third one of us along with me and Alan to have signed up for the Thomson Safari trip.
- There are over 23 porters, chef, waiter, etc to support the three of us. Among them is John, who is personable and charismatic as can be. He will guide us around Arusha later in the trip.
- On the first day we saw beautiful monkeys with white tails in the forest - Angola Colobus monkeys. Here is a short video. Photo is below.

Mike and Andrew

Alan and John

Colobus monkeys

Day 5 [Mon]: 2/25/2013, Shira 1 Camp
- Hiked from forest to heather to moorland to arrive at camp around 3 PM. Climbed gradually, although with occasional steep inclines, up to around 11,500 ft elevation.
- Alan had prepared himself for the hike, so he was in good condition and challenged Loshie to a pull-up contest as we hiked through the forest. Loshie accepted and, as shown in this video, demonstrated brains over brawn to win the contest. We all got a good laugh. Not sure Alan accepted the results ;-).
- Besides being a knowledgable and valuable guide, Loshie has a great sense of humor. He and Alan entertained all of us during the hike. Loshie also took me under his wing and led me back down from the Kilimanjaro summit when I decided to come back a day early.
- Throughout this trek we were served large amounts of delicious food prepared by the chef Kreti and his assistant/waiter Isaya.
- At camp a dining tent with table and chairs was set up for us. For lunch, a table with table cloth and chairs was set up on the trail. For breakfast today we had porridge; granola; toast; fruit including mango, passion, egg omelets, tomatoes, etc.; sausage, jam, honey, coffee, tea. For lunch we were served macaroni salad, yoghurt, fresh fruits and vegetables including pineapple, mango, carrots, coconut, celery, bananas; cake and cookies; avocado sandwiches; coffee, tea.


Alan and Mike at lunch

Isaya sets up the lunch table along trail

Mike, Loshie, Alan climbing through forest

Kilimanjaro from Shira 1 camp

Kilimanjaro from Shira 1 camp - Uhuru Peak is on the far right

Day 6 [Tue]: 2/26/2013, Shira 2 Camp
- As we hike from Shira 1 to Shira2, Mike gets struck by altitude sickness and turns back. We later hear he made it down to the gate and was picked up. The altitude sickness had receded and he went to a hotel. Switched his itinerary to go diving in Zanzibar, then re-joined us for safari.
- Alan and I choose alternate route up to Shira Cathedral, where clouds and mist sweep over the landscape. See video here. Alan pays tribute to his sister, whose birthday would have been today.

Isaya on way to Shira Cathedral
Kilimanjaro in background

Bob, Isaya, Alan

Andrew on final climb up Shira Cathedral

Alan and Andrew

Giant Lobelia on Shira Plateau

Day 7 [Wed]: 2/27/2013, Lava Tower Camp
- Hiked over pretty barren landscape as we went from Shira 2 camp to Lava Tower Camp. Weather was cooler with cold breezes.
- Andrew slowed pace way down for me ("Pole, pole" pronounced po-lay).
- Each day Andrew (and Alan, who picked up oximeter at yard sale for $3) measures oxygen level and pulse rate. At end of day, at 15,200 ft elevation, mine was 88% oxygen, 76 bpm. On first night it had been 98%, and under 50 bpm.

Nasib - carried my stuff
Thank you Nasib!

Hiking to Lava Tower

Lava Tower Campsite

Day 8 [Thu]: 2/28/2013, Karanga Camp
- Started out the day by taking a short video of Lava Tower Camp, visible here, as we prepared to leave.
- This was hardest hike I have ever been on until now. Went up Baranco Wall, having to wrap arms around boulder at one point to avoid falling off trail.
- Also, I have an intensely painful toothache going.

Tree Hugger

Kreti (our chef) and Andrew

Bob following Andrew up

Alan and John High 5 at Karanga Camp arrival

Day 9 [Fri]: 3/1/2013, Barafu Camp
- Intense dental pain continues. Excedrin and Ibuprofin not helping. 24-48 hours without sleep. Decide to come down immediately after getting to summit so dentist can provide relief. Worried I might not make it at all. Also, hit by diarrhea. Afraid I might have fever, but decide I do not.
- Hiking is relatively easy today and, in fact, since it takes my mind somewhat off pain, is more pleasant than lieing in the sleeping bag at night counting throbs.
- We arrive at camp and get into tents just as hail begins. A short video.
- By dinner time, pain has subsided substantially and I come close to nodding off at table. Alan offers magnetic therapy, which I accept. Alan, John, and Isaya all twirl Alan's magnet near my tooth ache. Pain continues to subside. When going to bed, Alan continues to administer magnetic therapy. Pain continues to diminish and is largely gone by morning.

Day 10 [Sat]: 3/2/2013, Uhuru Peak, Kilimanjaro!
- Reached the top of Kilimanjaro! See the video
- Scattered my sister Meg's ashes. She died one year and one day ago. Only because of her did I make this climb: I found out about it from her friend; she emphasized how important it was to get things done, rather than look back on things not done.
- Loshie guided me back down to Mweka camp, so went from 19,341 ft elevation to 12,500 ft. Alan continues on to Crater Camp, 18,800 ft elevation. Under Loshie's guidance, it was a fast, easy, enjoyable hike in the afternoon.

Looking back at our last camp, far below

Alan and Bob at Stella Point, last stop before summit

We see the sign at the summit

Glaciers on Kilimanjaro

Anthon and Bob at the summit

Bob at the summit

Loshie at summit, about to pick up Bob's pack, which he carried all the way down to the base camp, far below. Thank you, thank you, Loshie!

Day 11 [Sun]: 3/3/2013, Back to Arusha
- At around 5:30 in the morning, Alan and rest of folks arrive at our camp. Alan had gotten altitude sickness and they left Crater Camp just after midnight - 12:30 AM.
- At around 8:30 in the morning, all of us started hiking to exit gate.
- Path was quite slippery, often muddy and rocky. The joke was to count how many times Bob fell. A lot. Fortunately, no injuries and pleasant hike through the forest to the gate, with the last part being on a wide, dirt road.
- As we approached the gate, we noticed a woman filming us. Turns out she was working for the Tanzanian tourist bureau, and interviewed us for possible inclusion in some on-line advertising that was going to be done this summer.
- We ate lunch at the gate, surrounded by youngsters trying to sell us trinkets. We also passed out the tip envelopes provided by Thomson Safaris (but filled by us).
- Drove to the Outpost Lodge in Arusha. Because we were coming back a day early, the price was not included in what we paid Thomson Safaris and we had to pay. I had requested Thomson Safaris to find a cheap place. This cost about $60, as opposed to the $250 the hotel the next night would cost.

Loshie and Bob

Path through woods

Loshie, Alan, Anthon on final approach to gate

Other Websites
By The Author: