... six nights before we climb.
I haven't slept well for a few days, what with thinking about the climb, thinking about packing, getting up and re-packing and emailing Kristin - one of the two girls from USA who we are meeting out there - to discuss packing. I'm not sure I've mentioned much about the details of the trip so far - probably because for some inexplicable reason, I've had my head buried in the sand about the whole thing since booking the trip in February last year. Other than buying the odd few bits here and there and chatting to plenty of people for advice and tips, I seem to have been in denial and it's only really hitting home now that we're actually doing this.
Kristin is the girl who has been dominating my facebook page for the past month or so, policing my posts for the merest hint of alcohol consumption, so she can chastise me and keep me hydrated - from the States! She's also one of the many reasons I'm so excited about this trip having met on the Inca trail in May 2009, we spent an enlightening 4 whole days and one post Inca meal together, hit it off, kept in touch through email and facebook and for some bizarre reason, she has now trusted me with thousands of dollars worth of her hard earned cash to organise every fine detail of two precious weeks of her leave, for possibly the most gruelling challenge she's ever embarked upon. As she said recently, sometimes you meet soul mates at school when you're young, sometimes you meet them on a four day trek in Peru...
So, Kristin also posted our itinerary, which I'll copy in for anyone who wants to read the finer detail. For those that don't, there'll be the odd last minute panic update (possibly at 4am, which I seem to see a lot of at the moment) and hopefully, some pretty cool photos very soon.
Kristin and her friend Heidi arrive at the Kilimanjaro Mountain Resort http://www.kilimountresort.com/ on Thursday night 12th January and Sam and I join them Friday morning (oh bugger! that'll be 13th then?!!!)... not a GREAT omen.
There are supposed to be some nice walks in the area which Kristin will undoubtedly have me exploring - because we won't be doing enough walking over the following six days...
Sunday (15/01/12) we go up the mountain for five nights and six days on the Rongai Route. We attempt the summit on Thursday morning (19/01/12) and we should be at the top, all going reasonably well, at around 6:30/7am. Tanzania is GMT+3, so at around 1am Wednesday morning, start saying some prayers that we are able to summit, without vomittting or having to be dragged up. We start the summit attempt at around midnight/1am local time, it takes 5-6 hours to reach Gillman's Point then another 1-2 hours to Uhuru Peak.
We start the descent after we catch our breath, take pictures at the top (hopefullly) and before we start to freeze again and spend one more night on the mountain before going back to the hotel on Friday Jan 20th for a beer or two...?! I'm going to guess this is the only place there will be internet for the entire trip, so I'll do my best to let everyone know I have arrived safely initially and again on Friday when we come down from the mountain, hopefully without Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and with a summit tale or two.
On Saturday (21/01/12) we go to Arusha for safari - our itinerary says to "ask your driverguide if you would prefer to take the 'scenic route' through the center, perhaps stopping off to pick up some supplies (Tanzanian gin, chocolate...)" - I'll take both in vast quantities I say!
Lake Manyara National Park: where we can possibly get a glimpse of the "rarely seen tree-climbing lion."
That night we stay at Ngorongoro Karatu: Gibbs Farm
Sunday (22/01/12) we go to the Ngorongoro Crater where we will see "one of the greatest views on the planet" and they "almost guarentee seeing lion, elephant, buffalo and rhino" - cue at least 1000 photos.
Then we'll head to the Serengeti and Olduvai (southcentral Serengeti) where we'll come across some Maasai, maybe a few hundred thousand wildebeast and incidentally "the birthplace of humankind", though I'm not sure what the Bible says about that one.
We stay at the Olduvai Tented Camp where we can go on a walk with the Maasai guides, once we have befriended them appparently.
Monday (23/01/12) we do a game drive in Ndutu and Gol and return to the Tented Camp and Tuesday Sam and I say a sad farewell to the girls and get on a ridiculously small plane to Zanzibar, for some well earned beach rest and more beer... in a word... LUSH!!!
This is the tour group we are using: