Thursday, 22 March 2012
After a year of preparation Jacob (my 15 yr old grandson) and I are ready for our big journey.
We left Toronto February 21/12 for Tanzania. Arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport February 22/12 and were met by the Thompson Team and whisked off to Kia Lodge for a good nights rest.
After a hardy breakfast we had our briefing and picked up our rental equipment and were on our way to Ndarawai Camp, a wonderful lodge in the bush land with custom designed tents that were very comfortable. Had lunch and met the other 6 people that we would be trekking with on the climb. We did a walk to see some wild life, Zebra, Warthogs, mongoose an wildebeest. Dinner at 8p.m. and off to bed for our big day to follow.
February 24/12 Drove to base camp to begin our trek to Forest Camp where we spent the night.at 9281 feet. Temperature has gotten cooler especially in the evening. 4 hours trekking.
February 25/12 Started early today. Trekked 6 hours up very steep rock, but beautiful view. Today we saw the top of Kilimanjaro. Camped at Shira 1 Camp 11,499 feet.
February 26/12 Heath to Moorland, cloudy, cooler, rain all night and some snow in the morning. Our trek took us through flora of giant groundsels, cloud covered terrain of volcanic rock. Pole, Pole (slowly, slowly) all the way to Shira 2 camp 12, 795 feet.
February 27/12 Left camp about 8a.m. and continued up expansive ridges on a long steady climb to an extraordinary rock formation called Lava Tower. Camp was nestled at its base. 8 hours trekking !5,213 feet
February 28/12 Today we drop down from Alpine desert into the moorlands giving time to acclimatize into the lower altitudes. The terrain of volcanic rock and boulders is dotted with strange plant life such as groundsels, giant lobelias and everlasting flowers. Trekked the Barranco Wall over a narrow switchback that require some scrambling, but payed off with extraordinary views of glaciers above the clouds. It was easy to stay motivated and inspired. Spent the night at Karamga Camp. 7 hrs trekking 13,231 feet
February 29/12 Today was considered a short day, only 4 hrs trekking mostly up hill and rock, pole, pole all the way. We proceeded steadily upwards into high alpine desert where the air thins and cools. Hiked over fields of scree and enjoyed the other worldly settings. Only white-necked ravens and a handful of other birds venture this high. We camped in a lunar-like landscape where we would see hanging glaciers. Spend the night at Barafu camp 15,331 feet.
March 1/12 We departed the stark alpine desert this morning at 6a.m. Trekked over a varied terrain of switchbacks, rock fields and loose scree and snow packed trails. Enjoyed the view of the jagged Mawenzi peak and the slopes below .Then continued a gradual journey towards Kilimanjaro glaciers and Uhuru Peak We continued on and after a picnic lunch we reached Stella Point at 1:45 p.m. Tanzanian time. It was a spectacular moment for all of us. We took pictures and celebrated. We then continued on to Uhuru Peak, the top of Kilimanjaro, where we took many more pictures. 19,340 feet. After about 1 1/2 hours we started our descent back to Barafu Camp where we spent the night. 10 hour trekking.
March 2/12 Left Barafu Camp about 9:30 a.m. Snowed that night and it was cold in the tent. We travelled through moor land and made our way to Mweka Camp. Lots of lush greenery and warmer weather as we make our way back down. We had lunch at High Camp. Tonight is our last night in the dinning tent.
March 3/12 We completed our descent through heather and rain forest to the park gate, enjoyed a celebration lunch with our guides. We were presented with a certificate for our achievement on reaching the Roof of Africa. We thanked our guides and porters for all their help and guidance for a successful journey.
We were then transferred to the beautiful Mount Meru Hotel were a much needed shower and relaxation was waiting for all of us.
This trip was certainly a truly extraordinary adventure and I am so proud of my grandson Jacob for his enthusiastic outlook and desire to reach the summit, without that its almost impossible to do so. I want to thank Jai and Graeme, Bill and Linda, Hamid and Pam for their support during the trek, it was a pleasure to meet all of you and hope we get to spend some time together again.
March 4/12 Drove from Arusha to Ngorongoro Conservation Area to begin our Safari. Crossed Maasai Steppe and the Great Rift Valley Escarpment and winding up into the fertile Ngorongoro Highlands .This is a wildlife and cultural preserve that covers 3200 sq. miles of which 102 sq. miles represent Ngorongoro Crater. Only Maasai are permitted to live within the area's boundaries, and are seen throughout the highlands wearing bright red and royal blue cloths and tending their herds of goats and cattle. The crater floor is reserved only for wildlife. We arrived at our Nyumba for lunch.
March 5/12 Spent the day at Ngorongoro Conservation Area, rich in culture and teeming with wildlife. There are more than 30,000 animals in and around the crater. We saw monkeys, Lions, Wildebeest, Gazelle, Worthogs, Flamingos, Elephants, Buffalo, Hippos, Rhino, Cheetah and many more species. We enjoyed our picnic lunch by a Hippo Pool. Saw two males Lions resting on the road.
March 6/12 Departed the cool, grassy Ngorongoro Conservation Area and later arrived on the Serengeti plains for a different but wildlife viewing experience. Saw the migration of Wildebeest and Zebra, thousands of them. This was very thrilling. We visited the prehistoric archaeological site called Olduvai Gorge. Serengeti National Park covers 6000 sq. miles of pristine land. Largest migration of mammals including 1.5 million wildebeest. Olduvai Gorge, a deep ravine and site of fossilised remains of animals and hominids that date back as far as two million years. There was a brief lecture and small museum tour as well.
March 7/12 The Serengeti, Tanzania's second largest National Park covers 6000 sq. miles of grasslands plains, hills, woodlands and reserve forests. The Grumeti, Mbalageti and Mara river systems serve as critical water sources and are excellent sites for wildlife viewing. We saw cheetah, leopard, Lions, Hyenas, Gazelle, Buffalo, Giraffe. We returned to our Nyumba for a hot lunch, shower and relaxation. Our Serengeti Nyumba is in a private location in the heart of the park. It included solar lights, private en-suite bathroom with Safari shower, proper beds and fine linens and more.
March 8/12 Today Jacob & I were up at 4:30 to get ready for our balloon safari. We took to the skies just as the sun was rising, gliding over the plains and Acacia tree tops. After an hour and ten minutes we enjoyed a magnificent champagne breakfast in the midst of the Serengeti wilderness We then met our guide Musha and flew from Serengeti to Arusha in a twin Otter aircraft. |We had a farewell lunch and prepared for our departure. A day room was given us at a Arusha and a snack before leaving for the airport. We then boarded our flight for Amsterdam. We ended up by spending the night in Amsterdam at a quaint hotel called the "Chariot". Our flight was cancelled, but the airline took very good care of us and the next morning we boarded a flight to Dusseldorf and then on to Toronto..
This trip certainly was an experience of a life time. We both enjoyed every moment and I feel really blessed that my 15 yr old grandson and I had such a great time together.