With the months of training now completed, the weeks of deciding what clothes and equipment to take and the last week of getting more excited/nervous, we were ready to go.
I flew from London to Nairobi, Kenya, and then on to Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania. From the Future Office near Heathrow Airport, that’s about 15 hours of travel—with 10 hours in an economy airline seat! The flight to Kenya went smoothly, but when we went to the gate in Nairobi to catch the Kili flight, we were told the flight had closed. It was an hour before it was due to leave! After much discussion we got escorted across the tarmac to the plane. Wow, that was close. The bad news was our luggage didn’t make it… It was stuck in Nairobi!!
We wore our boots and big coats, and carried our sleeping bag and essentials—like the Altimeter, cameras, etc.—but all other clothing, kit, walking poles, etc. was in the case. We had an anxious 24 hours in Tanzania, as we waited for our case/clothes to catch up. Well, at least wearing all the same clothes for two days was good practice for what was to come!!
Where’s the luggage?
Getting the Lay of the Land
We arrived at Springlands Hotel in Moshi at one in the morning on Saturday. Moshi is on the same African Plain as Kilimanjaro. I had planned an acclimation day at the hotel before we set off on the trek. Just as well, with no clothes and gear until late afternoon… a very anxious wait. What relief when they turned up!
Outside hotel with Masai people
We used the day to adjust to Africa… the time difference, the food, the smells and the dust. We took a three-hour forest walk close to our hotel, to stretch our legs and get involved with our new environment. After getting back, I decided to test/power up the Altimeter to ensure the journey from the UK to Africa had not done any damage. I inserted the two AA Energizer batteries and, good as gold, the LED lit up to show everything was working fine. Not that I didn’t have confidence, but this was a great relief, as we were off to the roof of Africa the next morning!
Giving out sweets on the forest walk