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Hix Does Tanzania - Sure As Kilimanjaro Rises Like Olympus Above The Serengeti

Discussion in 'Tanzania' started by Hix, 19 Sep 2014.

  1. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    OK, I'm now in Tanzania.

    Tomorrow I start my climb of Kilimanjaro, so i'll be offline for a week.

    By the time I get back, hopefully, there'll be a Tanzania forum and i could update you on that thread.

    :p

    Hix
     
  2. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    Looking forward to seeing pics of the 'roof of Africa'. Is that a term? I just made that up, but I suspect that it's already being used. Anyway, in particular I'd like to see some pics of the snow and glacier (or what's left of it).
     
  3. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    Google says the 'roof of Africa' is actually in Ethiopia. I meant Kiliminjaro, of course. :D
     
  4. Monty

    Monty Well-Known Member

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    Is Hix a cricket player. Looks like it may be crowded up there.

    BBC News - Cricketers play on Kilimanjaro to set new world record

    A group of international cricketers has set a new world record for the highest-ever match by playing at the top of Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, in Tanzania.

    The teams included former South Africa fast bowler Makhaya Ntini and ex-Engand spinner Ashley Giles.

    The game was played at a height of 5,730m (18,799 ft) in a flat crater just below the summit.

    They played 10 overs each of a Twenty20 game before clouds stopped play.

    "This is absolutely incredible! We are playing cricket on the summit of Africa!" Giles tweeted on Friday morning.

    The current record for the world's highest game is 5,165m, played in the Himalayas at Everest base camp in Nepal in 2009.

    The "Gorillas" team, led by England women's vice-captain Heather Knight, scored 82-5 to beat Giles' "Rhinos" team, who managed 64-9, the AFP news agency reports.
     
  5. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    He's probably flying the Aussie flag for us.
     
  6. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    Not playing cricket, and I didn't have a flag, but i did make an impression with the team that took me up there.

    When a Tanzanian Gallery and Forum are created I'll be able to upload photos.

    Just to make you all jealous - I'm typing this from the bar of Speke's Bay Lodge (google it), right on the shores of Lake Victoria. African Fish Eagles calling from a tree above me, Red-chested Sunbirds feeding in a flowering shrub nearby, on the beach a few metres away is about a dozen sandpipers and plovers, half-a-dozen stilts, four hamerkops (two of them mating), and a 2 metre Nile Crocodile. And in a few minutes I'll be served my lunch - a fish pizza!

    :p

    Hix
     
  7. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    Congrats Hix by reaching your goal ! Looking forward to your stories and pictures.
     
  8. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    Very cool. Looking forward to the trip report and pics.
     
  9. Monty

    Monty Well-Known Member

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    It must not be as far as I thought. I thought it would be a 10 day trip.
     
  10. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    Hix, why not post new additions to your blog here? When/if the Tanzania board is created, a mod can copy it over for you.
     
  11. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    Great idea! :) (although the mod who has to copy it over may not think so :D)
     
    Last edited: 5 Oct 2014
  12. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    Great adventures so far Hix but I'm not completly jealous - I don't like fish pizza ;)
     
  13. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    Really? It would be about 4 clicks over 2 minutes, wouldn't it? Easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. ;)
     
  14. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    It's the work of seconds, don't worry :)
     
  15. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    OK then, if that's not too much trouble for you.

    HIX DOES TANZANIA

    Day 4 - 19th September

    Up at 2:00am, quick shower and finished packing, thern left the Boma at 3:00am to go to the airport. Flight departed on time at 05:05, arriving at Nairobi about an hour later.
    My connection to Kilimanjaro was supposed to depart at 9:00, but was delayed until 10:15, so I spent my time in the Kenya Air Business Class lounge (Simba Club) watching the results of the Scottish Referendum on CNN and doing Killer Sudokus.

    The flight actually left at 10:40 and landed at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) at 11:15. On the way I got some nice views of Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro, although Kili's summit was shrouded by white fluffy clouds. In fact it was cloudy at the airport upon arrival, but the sun came out later in the afternoon. I was picked up at the airport by Juma from Team Kilimanjaro and he drove me to my hotel, Kigongoni Lodge, outside Arusha.

    I walked up to reception on arrival and before I could say anything, the girl said to me "Caribou".

    I little taken aback, I considered responding with "Wapiti", but chose the less elegant "What?"

    She replied "Caribou" again.

    "I don't quite understand" I said. And she explained that 'Karibu' is the Swahili word for 'Welcome'.

    Kigongoni is a lovely place, built on an old coffeee plantation they now have 19 cottages scattered amongst the gardens and bush. Each cottage is a good size with a large ensuite (including a shower and a separate bath), and mine had a queen-size fourposter bed.

    After repacking for the climb tomorrow I went for a wander around the grounds to see what wildlife I could spot. Very common everywhere were the Ochre Bush Squirrels, especially around the restaurant, and a small band of Vervets. Also very common were the Common Bulbuls (which probaby should be renamed Ubiquitous Bulbuls, because they are absolutely everywhere I go in Africa), but I also saw some barbets, kingfishers, weavers, sunbirds, and a pair of Black-backed Puffbacks.

    At around 5pm I was visited by Leo, my guide from Team Kilimanjaro, who came to check my gear and give me a briefing on the climb. With him was Shakura, the cook, and the three of us discussed the climb for about 45 minutes.

    After they left I went to dinner and then had an early night so as to be ready for the day ahead.

    :p

    Hix

    New Birds seen: Black-backed Puffback, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Red-faced Weaver, Klass Cuckoo, Brown-breasted Barbet, Peter's Twinspot.

    New Mammals seen: Ochre Bush Squirrel
     
  16. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    I should point out that for the last week I have been in four different tented camps, two of which had solar power, the others had no power at all, and none of them had wifi. And tomorrow I go to another camp, folowed by another that most likely has no wifi. So you might have to wait until I'm back in Australia before I can start posting regularly again.

    :p

    Hix
     
  17. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like your having a really great trip hix. I'm really jelous :D.
     
  18. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    I am. And you should be. :p

    Hix
     
  19. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    Day 5 - 20th September

    Up early at 06:00 to finish packing. I noticed while having breakfast in the restaurant that it was cloudy again, but luckily it didn't look like it was going to rain.

    At 09:00 I was collected by Team Kilimanjaro. The bus we were in included the whole support team. There were the four clients (myself plus three others), Leo the Guide, Ibrahim the Assistant guide, Shakura the cook, and 17 porters (plus the busdriver). A little cramped, but we set off towards Moshi and Kilimanjaro.

    My travelling companions were a trio - Jacob (in his late 50's), his son Rob (late 20's), and Rob's partner Lisa (mid-20's). Jacob and Rob are New Zealanders, but Lisa is Swedish and I think she met Rob while they were both working in Norway.

    After an hour or so we stopped at some shops so we could buy some snacks - cashews, mentos, biscuits and chocolate - that we would need while climbing. At least that was the plan; in the end I didn't get to eat very much of mine.

    Then back onto the bus and off to Marangu Gate where everyone entering the park has to register. Marangu Gate is around 1800 metres above sea-level and was covered in fog when we arrived, at times visibility was less than 50 metres.

    Having registered and fighting off the streetside vendors who were determined to sell us a hat, or carabinas, or pretty bracelets etc. we piled back into the bus for another 90 minutes on crappy dirt roads until we reached Rongai Gate, our starting point. But first we were served lunch, so our actual climb/trek didn't start until about 3pm.

    The trek before us was 6.7 kilometres up to Simba Camp at around 2600metres altitude (Rongai Gate is around 2000m). It was a pleasant uphill walk through a lot of pine plantations and some farming areas, but the path also followed the border of a rainforest that was within the National Park, and I occasionally caught sight of some birds like Olive Thrush and White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, and the odd Blue Monkey.

    As the path was leaving the Pine plantation and enter the National Park a local lady pointed out a smallish lizard on the path ahead of us. With delight I realised it was a Kilimanjaro Two-horned Chameleon, a species endemic to the area and one I was hoping to see. I quickly grabbed my camera and started taking photos. Jacob came over to see what the fuss was about and said "Oh, it's a lizard".

    Stupidly I responded with "That's not a lizard - that's a chameleon!", an attitude I think a lot of people probably feel about this family of reptiles. Of course, chameleons are lizards, but such cool lizards they deserve to be something better.

    Sitting on the path didn't really provide any great photo opportunities, and I said to Leo it was a shame we were in a National Park. Leo pointed out we were not in the National Park yet, were were 10 metres outside the border, so I picked up the chameleon to get a better look at it and - as it wasn't happy about that (evidenced by its open mouth threat) - I put it on my forearm and it promptly walked up my arm towards my face shaking it's open mouth at me. I put it on a tree in the National Park and it started climbing upwards, and I got some nice photos.

    We continued on through the forest to Simba Camp arriving just before dark. Looking back down the hillside towards the lowlands we saw wew were now above a sea of clouds, but looking upwards all we saw were more clouds high above us. There were at least seven other climbing groups camping here tonight, some with as many as 14 climbers and a support crew of more than 50. Most of the tourists appeared to be German, although I heard a few British accents too. IN amongst all the others, our tents had been setup and so had the mess tent. So we stowed our gear and got ready for dinner. I had hired a sleeping bag from Team Kilimanjaro and now I unpacked it to check it out. It was like a little coffin, zipping up so only my face was exposed.

    Shakura was a brilliant cook. Dinner consisted of soup, a main course, and then usually something like fruit or maybe cake to finish it off. And there was always plenty of food, we never went hungry. We rarely saw Shakura, but Geoffrey was our 'waiter' and our main contact at meals. He also brought us hot water for tea first thing in the mornings.

    So after our first dinner, we retired to our tents and spent our first night on the mountain.


    :p

    Hix

    New Birds Seen: White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Olive Thrush
     
  20. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    Looking forward to some photos. :)