Up early for a day's hiking at Mt Kilimanjaro, we're both gutted to still not have seen the peak, bloody cloud! Anyway a short drive from Moshi to the village of Marangu took us to the entrance of Mt Kilimanjaro National Park where we met our guide for the day, Mr Morgan. We were both somewhat surprised when he rocked up wearing suit trousers, a woolly jumper and a pair of cheap loafers. Not to mention his age, he looked ancient. The foot of the mountain is the coolest place we had been and it was a blessing not to be sweating! That didn't last long as we soon started climbing. We took the Marangu route to Mandara Hut, the first stopping point for those trekking all the way to the summit. It's a relatively easy climb but an exhausting couple of hours nevertheless. The altitude and steep slope make it an energy zapping climb. Greg we both have tremendous respect for you having made it to the top!! As it is low season here the mountain was extremely quiet. We only saw one group on our ascent. On our way back down we were passed by numerous porters, each carrying 18 plus kilos in awkward loads, balanced on their heads, necks and backs. It's incredible. Arriving back in Moshi after the climb we discovered Mr Morgan was in fact the grand old age of 66 he certainly put us to shame, bounding up the mountain. He did confess at the end though, that was the quickest he has climbed up to the first hut for about 2 years but that still didn't mean he broke a sweat.
On Monday morning we left Moshi for a three day and two night safari covering Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara. 6am starts seem to be plaguing us and I've never seen James quite so excited at such an early hour. We were joined on safari by a French couple and our guide/driver Ephraim. Within a few minutes at Tarangire we were spoilt with wildlife. Seeing Giraffe, Elephants, Bush Buck and Warthogs. Our vehicle is a battered Landover which has removable bits in the roof so you can stand on the seats and pop the top half of your body out the top of the trek, pretty hilarious getting bounced all over the place and a great way to see the animals up close and personal. On our way back out of the national park a few hours later we were stopped by a herd of elephants crossing the road in front of us. A very close call as one of the females thumped our truck on the way past as she had a baby with her.
We camped in a little site near Lake Manyara; only on our arrival did Ephraim helpfully tell us it was aptly named 'Mosquito Place'.A few games of cards with our travel buddies wrapped up our first day perfectly. Another 6am start and a drive to the Ngorongoro Crater, along the rift valley and formed by a collapsed volcano. We were all rather grumpy on arrival as we were high in the clouds and couldn't see a thing. However, descending the steep slopes of the crater the cloud began to clear revealing the incredible landscape. The crater was packed with Zebra, Buffalo, Wildebeest, Impala, Gazelle and much more. Another great day. The final day took us to Lake Manyara where we spent most of the day chasing Lions, unfortunately they evaded us completely. On the plus side we did get to see a load of Hippo's.
Dusty, exhausted and probably a bit on the smelly side we began our drive back to Moshi, the weather was great and we all hoped to catch a glimpse of Kilimanjaro. We weren't disappointed! James was a little over zealous with picture taking over the last few days; we hope to add a select few for you all to see! Internet connections are always really slow in Tanzania so we've struggled to upload photos so far - never fear we have loads of them already and will keep trying.
Greg Wow - sounds amazing and makes me want to go back up that damn hill! Been talking about it a lot recently so really cool to hear you guys enjoyed the region too. Those old guys & porters are nuts eh? Most of our guys were just in flip flops ;)