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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hello Africa, Tell Us How You Are Doing!

Greetings all, African Encounters Blog Channel launches today featuring all the fun things in Africa we think you should see. Yip, it's not an official blog so feel free to comment, suggest share e.t.c

1 comment:

Juan Nel said...

We received such a good letter from one of our clients that climb Kili, I just had to post it. It’s so honest. I couldn’t post the whole thing but if you want to read more go to http://www.africanencounters.com/a-climbers-diary-marangu-route/:
Mt. Kilimanjaro: Almost My Mountain of Doom By Neil Askham

Day 1 – (5 August 2009) Johannesburg to Tanzania
Months of planning have gone in to this trip and the excitement has been mounting, albeit only really of late. The cost – staggering! Will this experience be all it’s been made out to be?

The flight from O.R. Tambo International was a fairly pleasant 5 hour affair. Thankfully, Kenyan Airways owns a few decent Boeings! This was my first experience with this airline and I must confess that I am most impressed!

We landed at about 15h15 (Local time) in Nairobi, Kenya and after a quick transfer to our connecting flight, were once again airborne in a magnificent ‘Dash 8’, en route to Kilimanjaro Airport, courtesy of Precisionair. Cruising above the clouds at around 17 000 ft, we had a magnificent view of the Mt. Kilimanjaro peaks as we flew into Kilimanjaro Airport, Kilimanjaro. Our excitement was tangible and I could see that the boys were eager to begin this adventure.

We touched down after 17h00 local time and went through the fairly lengthy process of filling in forms, getting our visa’s sorted out and passing through Customs.

A rather harrowing drive in a strange looking Toyota bus followed. The trip took almost an hour, but we finally made it to our Hotel, the Springlands Hotel in Moshi. Moshi is a very simple – typically African town where road chaos reigns. We all had some anxious moments as the streets seemed to get narrower and darker. We suddenly turned into the hotel, which one would easily miss had you not known it was there. We were very relieved when we entered the fortified gates of the Springlands Hotel as it seemed like a paradisiacal oasis compared with what we had just been driving through. A seemingly ‘modern’ building lit up by strategic lighting all over produced a pleasing impression. I wondered whether it would appear this inviting in daylight.

Our first meal at the hotel in Moshi was – disgusting! After paying $9 US each for the privilege, we concluded that it was a total rip-off. Nick and I had some crummy red wine (From South Africa), which neither of us had heard of before. Some sweetish sort of red juice – awful! Of course, we finished the lot! The trip, thus far, had been typically African. No service, no hurry, no worries!

After supper, the older boys sat in the gardens and chatted to some foreigners and the rest of us went to turn in for the night. I sensed that we would be needing all the sleep we could get.

Day 2 – (6 August 2009) It begins!
After a fairly hearty breakfast and waiting around for what seemed like an eternity, we were finally introduced to our mountain guide – Abdi. He seemed like a pleasant fellow and definitely appeared to have influence over the locals. ‘Africa time’ is, in no small measure here, as applicable as anywhere I’ve been on the continent. “Hurry up and wait” seems to be the way everywhere. Eventually, we got underway to a death defying drive in a rickety old Toyota bus. Our destination – Marangu Gate, Kilimanjaro National Park. After several stops at the most obscure little ‘trader’s’ shops for – God knows what – we were driven up what seemed like half the mountain itself at a snail’s pace to get to the gate. After more paper work – these people love to have you fill in forms – we waited for another ‘eon’ before eventually beginning our hike...