POOLEWOOD MACHINERY - PETT FARM - STOCKBURY VALLEY - Nr. SITTINGBOURNE - KENT ME9 7RJ
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CLIMBING KILIMANJARO IN AID OF BATTERSEA DOGS HOME
THE RONGAI ROUTE
Thursday 16th February Day One
Nairobi Transit Lounge, (ceiling collapsing) could do with some DIY.
Arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport at around 9am local time after a smooth but tiring overnight flight from Heathrow.
Left behind the cold and last remnants of the snow to find ourselves in a cloudy, slightly misty but warm Africa.
We were collected at the Airport by a young and very polite driver - along with lots of helpful bag carriers who were looking for their dollar tips.
– and taken to Kilimanjaro Resort, our first hotel.
It took us about an hour and forty minutes and we sat back and took in our first sighting of Tanzania and our first glimpse of the mountain.
It wasn’t much of a sighting because of the cloud but our first impressions were awesome, it looked enormous and really impressive with its snow capped peak.
The poverty of the country was quickly obvious with many shack type houses and mud huts.
Banana trees were in abundance and many locals were seen carrying large bunches on their heads along the way. There were many trees and our driver stopped to show us a massive one which they call the Boabab" (pronounced BOUGH-bob) tree which means Father. It was certainly huge, the trunk was so wide I think it would have taken four, five or even six people to link hands all the way round it!
The main road wasn’t too bad, they have lots of speed bumps through the towns but their driving leaves a lot to be desired!
As soon as you left the main highway though the roads were very rutted, bumpy and dusty.
The people all seemed very friendly and we had lots of waves and smiles from the locals along the way.
We received a warm welcome at the hotel and after being shown to our room which was fine apart from having no electricity (a regular daily occurrence,
they have power problems all over Tanzania) we decided to stretch our legs and go for a walk in the local area. It was extremely quiet and we didn’t see any other tourists.
We walked to the local market place where we intended stopping for a cold beer. A local man spoke to us in English
and guided us to a local bar where we found he had been asked by the hotel to look out for us! He told us it was not really safe to walk about on your own, you should always have a guide. Theft and robbery is rife among the tourists because of the poverty in the area.
We had a few beers or more with Safari who turned out to be a local guide as well as a mountain guide and we arranged with him to take us out tomorrow and show us the local sights. After meeting an eccentric, to say the least, local who mumbled away in Swahili and looked very typically African and old,
Safari very kindly saw us back to our hotel safely and took us back by a much more scenic route than we came. We saw women washing their clothes in the river and school children watering the grass in the school grounds with just plastic containers.
The area is called Marangu which means ‘land of water’. It all comes down from the melted ice cap of Mt. Kilimanjaro. So although the locals are poor in many ways they at least have no problem with water.
Dinner was preceded by a much needed nap and we were amused to find someone knocking on our door with a menu asking us what we wanted to eat and then half an hour later getting a phone call to say our dinner was on the table! So much for choosing your dinner time! After an ok-ish dinner and being the only ones in the restaurant we retired to our room to catch up on the sleep we lost travelling.
GO TO DAY TWO