Scorched earth, a recently rain filled water hole and a meandering river were the first signs of Africa taking off from Nairobi as daylight broke. Having been advised to sit on the left hand seats for an aerial view of Kilimanjaro, we were looking forward to ‘warm African hospitality’ as described by our hostess and splendid views… Climbing higher into thickening cloud any such opportunities faded, but at least we were once again watered! Our evening flight from London to Kenya was a smooth ride, with some team members managing to sleep, whilst others enjoyed the vast number of in-flight movies and continual flow of drinks and an excellent supper. Our honeymooners, Honor and Ed, also bagged themselves enough leg room to spread envy amongst the long limbed folk!
Ten minutes into the air-transfer we broke out of the cloud giving far-reaching views over fluffy cumulus; although our ultimate goal eluded us we did sight Mt.Meru. Another 10 minutes and we were descending into Tanzania. At the last moment touching down at Kilimanjaro International Airport we saw its namesake, partly shrouded in cloud and lots of snow on its upper reaches. Opening the door, we were greeted with a very humid 20 Degrees, a far cry from the snow and ice of the UK.
Our 45 minute journey to Moshi took us along ‘the highway’ through fertile land some laid with trees for shade and some being worked ahead of newly sewn crops; villages and villagers on market day were buzzing with vegetables, goats and cows being traded by the roadside; in addition to the welder brazing away with his ‘sunnies’ and flip-flops on; the open counter butcher and paint shops inter-mingled with pristine houses amongst shanty style homes. We had a clear view of Mt.Meru on our way and it looked ‘way bigger’ than from our previous aerial vantage point. Almost at the hotel, our driver, Habib kindly stopped in the middle of the road so we could see ahead as the clouds parted briefly and the summit snowfields of Uhuru appeared – it was well worth the wait! (Uhuru being the local name for Kilimanjaro).
Our hotel for the night was well received for weary travellers and for the first time we were all able to relax together. Set in stunning grounds with a refreshing pool and very spacious rooms we could not have asked for more…..tomorrow and it’s evening accommodation will be a very different scenario! The walking starts…