Monday, 20 April 2015

Mt Kilimanjaro Day 0-2

20 Mar 15. Nairobi, Kenya to Moshi, Tanzania.

I was up at 0445 and ready by 0520. The porter insisted on waiting with me until my car arrived. Alex was 5 minutes late and apologetic.  It was a fast drive to the airport as it was too early for the traffic. 

The flight was smooth and it was great to fly past Mt Kilimanjaro. It was only an hour until we landed at Kilimanjaro International Airport.  As we entered immigration there were a few tour companies meeting people but no sign for me so I proceeded through immigration, picked up my bag and went outside. 

There were a lot of people with signs but none with my name on it.  I was a little concerned as despite giving Zara Tours my travel details on 12 March they had phoned my parents (at 0300 NZ time! ) asking for my details.  I had sent another email yesterday evening so wasn't sure if there would be someone waiting.  To make things worse the phone number on the invoice wasn't working so I couldn't get hold of them.  I had several taxi drivers trying to convince me to go with them but they were charging $50 US and I had already paid $20.

After 30 minutes a guy turned up with a sign for me. He said they had been given the wrong flight which landed 5 minutes after my one so I am not sure how that accounted for the remaining 25 minutes.  Not impressed.!

It was 40 minutes to Springlands Hotel which is owned by Zara Tours. Zara Tours was started by a Tanzanian Lady and is now one of the biggest Tour companies in the country.  Early on she realised there was a shortage of quality cheap accommodation so built this hotel. 

Once I checked in I was given a brief on what would happen and met my guide Nechi. The result of the day was repacking and relaxing. Lunch and dinner were buffets and nice.  I sat with two Canadians who had summited and returned that day.  They were shattered and very sunburnt but buzzing at having made it.  There were several groups that had just returned and were celebrating.

21 Mar 15. Moshi to Lemosho Gate (2100m) to Mti Mkubwa Camp (2750). 7 km. Walking 1300- 1500 (2 hours).
pm % blood oxygen saturation (oS) 92, pulse (beats per minute- bpm) 75.

I woke at 0630 and turned the water heater on only for the power to go off.  Using my torch I filtered the tap water to fill my wate bottles.  By the time I finished the power was back on and the water heated enough for a shower. 

Breakfast was nice and I sat with a Swedish couple who had summited and returned yesterday.  I paid my bill and finished packing.  My suitcase went into storage and I was ready and waiting at 0830 as requested by my guide.  5 minutes later he turned up and explained the vehicle was being loaded.  I asked him to confirm he had an Oximeter (measures oxygen levels in blood to assess acclimatisation). He didn't and seemed surprised when I asked for one but said he would get one despite that being one of the things I had requested in my correspondence with the company. 30 minutes later he returned and we headed out to the vehicle and I watched for another 10 minutes while they finished loading. 

Loading the vehicle outside the Hotel
 We finally left at 0915 and drove to a petrol station to fill up and a shop where we sat for 15 minutes) with the engine running the whole time) while they finished shopping.  All up it was about 2 hours of me sitting around waiting before we were finally on our way which I was not impressed at. I could have had a sleep in while they finished the preparation. I will be giving feedback that perhaps all this preparation should be finished before picking up the client.

We finally left at 0945. It was an uneventful drive though had the usual amusing African sights on the road. 

Banana Market in Moshi

Market in Moshi

Drying Rice

At 1130 we arrived at the Park Office for registration. It was good to see that the porters loads were weighed to confirm they were under the 15kg limit and they had a gear check to make sure they had warm and wet weather clothing. I ate my boxed lunch while this was happening.

We then drove back down the forest to the turnoff to the trail and up through the forest to the trail head. Here the porters gear was weighed again and they finished packing. 

Lomosho Trail Start

Packing gear ready for walking
I asked my guide Nechi to introduce my to the team which was 5 this time.  There was an assistant guide-Kennedy, cook-Geoffrey, porter/waiter-Emmanuel and porter/tent man-David.

Nechi and I started off going really slowly.  I find it hard to walk so slowly as I can't get into a rhythm or use momentum up the hills.  However this is the way to acclimatise apparently.

The path was wide and well maintained. In NZ it would be Walking Track standard. We saw two troops of Colobus Monkeys.  These are black and white with long fur and no thumbs. Their tails are really furry.

The crew caught up but did not move ahead to my surprise.  I would actually preferred them to move ahead as they had their radio playing loudly which doesn't really add to the jungle sounds I was enjoying and scares off anything that may be around.

Wide track

Nechi with Turaco Bird feather

Colobus Monkey (fuzzy black and white shape center of photo)

The crew catching up

Heavy loads to start with

Safari Ants

Nice Scenery

After 2 hours we reached the camp.  It looked big enough for over 20 tents, had toilets and a permanent shelter for the camp wardens.  We are the first group in 3 days.

The team at up the tents.  I was happy that the tent looked in good condition and was large.  You could comfortably sleep 3 people in it.  I also had a camp chair which was nice.

After 10 minutes Emmanuel brought me a bowl of warm water and some soap to have a wash.  Not long after that was afternoon tea.  Back at the hotel I had been offered the choice of having a mess tent to eat in but I said I was happy just having meals in my tent.  So the corner of my tent is now the dining table (blanket).

Afternoon tea was popcorn and biscuits with milo. I then relaxed reading until the guys called me or to see a Blue Monkey.  It looked like a Macaque with more fur. Later dine noisy birds visited.  They looked like crows with a white patch on the back of their neck.  Also at the edge of camp was a bird that looked like a Weka from the distant glimpse I got.

Blue Monkey

Raven eyeing up the boots as a potential meal

Raven seeing off the monkey

Dinner was tomato beef, potatoes and a vegetable dish with eggplant.  There was a small banana for dessert. It started raining but stopped after 15 minutes. 

After dinner Nechi briefed me on tomorrow and did my oxygen measurements.  Two other guys were there as they had delivered the machine and then a new battery. Nechi took his measurement and then said I would be much less than him. He was a little surprised that I was the same as him though I dont think this will last as we are still quite low.

22 Mar 15. Mti Mkubwa Camp (2750) to Shira I Camp (3500 m) via 3600. 0720 - 1240 (5 hours 20 minutes).  ascent 750m.
am oS 95/bpm 74, pm oS 89/bpm80
I got up once during the night and the stars were out in force. We were starting early to try and finish before the rain started so I was woken at 0600. I was packed quickly and washed with the bowl of warm water Emmanuel brought. Breakfast was millet porridge which looks like beef soup but smells and tastes like normal porridge. This was followed with avocado on toast, omelette and a sausage.
Nechi and I left at 0720 while the others were still packing up. We walked through the rain forest and saw a troop of Blue Monkeys and some Bush Chickens. I could hear Colobus monkeys and Nechi pointed out elephant trails and rubbing trees, antelope prints and Jackal dung.

Packing up camp

Nechi walking through a clearing

Easy climbing

Lots of rests

Love the moss hanging from the trees
 After an hour we left the rain forest and emerged into sub alpine vegetation dominated by what looked to me to be similar to Manuka. There were also Protea which were in bloom. We dropped down to a creek, climbed over a ridge and back into a creek before climbing up to the main ridgeline.  The others had caught up as we were having a break which was nice except for their music playing.  I prefer to listen to the natural sounds when walking but I guess they are pretty bored of doing the same route so do not begrudge them their entertainment.

Out of the Rain Forest


No wet feet on this trip


Heading up to the ridgeline

Daniel showing us up despite his heavy load
The next couple of hours were steady climbing on a rougher rocky path to near the top of the hill. On the way we took 3 breaks and they seemed to get longer and longer. The crew got their phones out at one break and were all talking or texting for nearly 20 minutes. As I was getting bored I was scanning the distance and saw a car which looked out of place. There is a road through the park for rescues and one route they get dropped off half an hour from Shira I campsite.
From near the top we sidled on a better path to the saddle at 3600m. We then dropped down the hill and the snow-capped mountain came into view. It looked big and far away. We dropped to our campsite arriving 1240. I asked David to set my tent up facing the mountain. 
It started lightly raining just as the tents went up so I was straight into my tent for shelter. Lunch was noodle omelette which was a first for me but was nice.  This was followed up with mango. 
The afternoon was rain on and off and sometimes heavy but my tent held up well and I was cosy. I was expecting afternoon tea but there was none so my afternoon was uninterrupted reading.
There were Ravens in camp again, even with the rain.  Occasionally they would be noisy but were not annoying.
The weather cleared up and I got a glimpse of the mountain.
Dinner was chicken soup and pancakes, shell pasta with a lovely chicken dish that smelt a little like tandoori. There was an orange for desert.
After dinner Nechi briefed me on tomorrow's plan. As it was only a short walk we would start a little later.  We did Oxygen saturation readings and I was 1% higher than him to his disappointment. I was given a candle when it got dark and I read until 1900.


No comments:

Post a Comment