Posts tagged africa
Posts tagged africa
So I’ve actually had internet for the past 2 days, I’ve just been a bit remiss about updates. I blame the slow internet, which took over 6 hours for me to download one episode of mad men. You’d think for a high end resort, they’d have better internet.
Yesterday (Tuesday) I went on a cruise/snorkelling/visiting some islands trip in the south of Zanzibar. Today I’m visiting the Jozani forest to see the red colobus monkeys, and hopefully I will go diving the following two days, and finally visit Stone Town on my last full day. Then it’s off to Madagascar.
In the mean time, the picture is the view from my hotel room (which is amazing and way too fancy for someone like me; my cousin Kelly would love it though). I’m also hoping to post a video from Ngorongoro crater if I can compress it small enough.
Here are some pictures from my trip to Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, and Tarangaire. I took over 2000 photos, so these are just some random photos I chose very quickly to put up. Once I sort through them all I will add more, but I’m off to Lake Victoria and Masai Mara, so it may be a little while before I have internet again.
Here are some pictures from my trek up the mountain
Well I have now been to the highest point in Africa. Later I’ll provide a day by day account of the trek (hopefully), which was amazing. I went up via the Lemosho route, which is reportedly more remote and less crowded than other routes. But according to my guide Issa, the route is gaining in popularity as the road to get there becomes more accessible. The description of the route also mentioned the possibility of seeing buffalo, elephants, and other large game, so hikers on the first day are accompanied by an armed ranger. This is not true, Issa said he rarely sees large game during the day, although during the night at the first camp site, hikers are discouraged from wandering too far for fear of encountering a larger animal. So I was a little disappointed on that front, since I was expecting to at least see an elephant or water buffalo on the first day. I did see several black and white colobus, some baboons on the drive over, and a blue monkey on the trail.
The hike itself lasted over six days, early on the fifth day was the day of the ascent to the top of Uhuru peak. I’m glad I went via the Lemosho route, as we started out in forest/jungle and as we gained elevation, the size of the vegetation shrank, moving from jungle to heath, to alpine, finally to barren rocks and then snow. It also got colder and windier (obviously) as we gained elevation. The day of the ascent was especially cold, especially once the wind picked up, but it all became worth it as I finally reached the summit, and saw the sun rising over the clouds illuminating the mountain.
It is required that each trekker be accompanied by a guide, and typically several porters who carry your bags, tents, and the cooking equipment. They are limited to carrying 20 kg, and their bags are weighed before they start the trek to make sure that they aren’t carrying too much.
There was a definite range in the number of porters per group, there was one man on the trail who only had a guide and between them they carried everything they needed. On the opposite extreme, there was a group of 2 people that had at least 15 porters, and were provided with their own toilet tent, a dining tent, table, and chairs. I was accompanied by four porters, plus my guide Issa. Two of the porters carried my stuff, one Justin, also served as the cook, and Dickson was an assistant cook who would bring me my meals in a tent. I definitely lived a very pampered lifestyle, even though I did not have a toilet tent (they had outhouses at every site, which consisted of a pit in the ground and two blocks of wood on either side, i.e. a squat toilet), or a personal dining tent. All of the porters were very friendly, and even though it was just me, I felt very comfortable the entire time.
Hiking Kilimanjaro was an amazing experience and I will always remember those few (very cold) moments at the top of the snows of Kilimanjaro.
* there were supposed to be pictures but the internet is not cooperating
Well I finally made it to Africa. My sixth continent. It’s starting to seem more real as I sit here in my little hotel room, with a mosquito net over my bed and the sounds of cars and people going by under my window. It was a long flight to get here – Nairobi, Kenya that is. I admit I was bit nervous, but after disembarking from the plane, getting through customs and being greeted by Catherine – the travel agent who I had been working with, and Joseph who will be driving me around later, it all started coming together. It was about 20 minutes from the airport to the hotel in the city center, but it may have been much longer, as I was pretty jet lagged, and time just doesn’t feel the same.
My hotel is nice, basic, but it has everything I need including the aforementioned mosquito net, and a towel, which is a nice bonus since I don’t have to use mine. Wifi is probably the biggest luxury, it still boggles my mind that I am able to just check my email or skype with my mom in the middle of Kenya.
Tomorrow morning I head off by bus to Arusha, Tanzania, and the day after that I will be starting the trek to the top of Kilimanjaro by way of the Lemosho route. I think once I get out of the city (and get a decent night’s sleep), the fact that I am here, in Africa, will finally start to sink in.
Below are some pictures of my room: