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Tanzania Adventure Part 1

December 29, 2013

Anyone reading this knows I have recently visited Tanzania for a couple weeks and now that I am back in the US I have a better connection and will post about both mountains and the Safari we took while visiting.

I visited Tanzania with my sister Libby and it was actually our first trip abroad together, well really abroad, since we did visit Canada earlier this year but that is far more familiar territory than East Africa. We were delayed By an ice storm which pushed our arrival by a couple days which we ended up spending in Austin and Amsterdam, so I guess our photographic journey should start there before landing at Kilimanjaro airport.

The ice shut much of North Texas and caused havoc at the airport.

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After driving down to Austin we went to the capital and got a flag so we would have something to carry up and display on top of the mountains.

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Since the flight from Austin was also delayed we missed our Amsterdam connection so had to spend a day there. We made the most of it and visited the Van Gogh museum and the Heineken brewery.

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We also visited an Icebar while we were there, touristy but fun.

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After our day delay headed back to the airport. The main station in Amsterdam the morning of our flight.

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We arrived at Kilimanjaro airport in the evening and were met by our guide Victor to our hotel where would we rest and shower for early departure to Mt. Meru.
Le jacaranda wasn’t the fanciest hotel but the morning coffee was great. We would spend a total of 4 nights there out of the 16 that we spent in Tanzania.

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In the morning the mini bus came for is with Victor ad the crew and we started the drive to Mt. Meru which is inside of Arusha national park. We made a brief stop for supplies and Libby and I learned what a Tanzanian nursery looks like, plants all in bags lining the streets.

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The First day on Mt. Meru was our intro to why did we carry this much stuff in our day packs.

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On Meru we needed to hike with a ranger who carries a rifle to protect us from the animals.  His name was Bonaface and he didn’t walk that fast but didn’t take any breaks so we made great time all there days of the hike. Meru was beautiful despite our being rained on each day. We were going to do small Meru on the second day then only sleep for hour or two before leaving for the summit but decided the extra rest would do us more good considering that we were climbing Kilimanjaro the day after we came down from Meru. The views when the clouds parted are of the valley the separates Meru from Kilimanjaro.

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We stayed in huts on Mt. Meru which were comfortable but it was colder than we expected. A beautiful morning started off our second day before the rain.

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Our second night on Mt. Meru was spent at 3500m above sea level and we could tell we had risen quite a but and knew we would have a tough night in front of us for the last 1000 meters up the hill so after dinner we crashed early to be ready for our 11pm wake up. Summit night was amazing cold and pitch black but as we rose the clouds cleared for a bit and we had an amazing view of Mt. Kilimanjaro which unfortunately I could not get a good photo of. The rain began as we were somewhere above the tree line but before we scrabbling across the rock faces to the volcano ridge.

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As dawn finally arrived after the rock face and the scree fields we had just a couple hundred meters to go, granted was straight up but we were beginning to be reenergized since we did not have to rely on our head lamps and could see the top of Meru.  The rain had turned to snow and then had abated just as the sun came up so we were in for a beautiful sunrise.

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We were certainly hurting at this point especially with the understanding that we would be hiking for another 12 hours to get all the way down before dark but it was pretty magical to get to the tops and see Kilimanjaro from this perspective just as the sun was rising.

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Since we had not brought enough warm gear we did not stay at the top for too long but getting to see the sun above the clouds for the 15 minutes we were up was a certainly gratifying after the hard days hiking.  Below are a few more pictures from our decent which was pretty arduous.

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Just coming to the last valley at the bottom, it was like the day would never end but was still such a beautiful way to end the day.

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From → travel

4 Comments
  1. This is completely awesome! Great pics and what an accomplishment.

  2. Bob Wood permalink

    Justin,
    I really enjoyed these pictures and journal. Being retired and somewhat of a hermit, I believe this is the first value I have had from Linked-In. What a great sister-brother team you make.

    Bob Wood

  3. I felt as if I were right there beside y’all as I read through this blog post and admired the photos you took. Incredible! Congrats to the both of you!

  4. Betty Wiley permalink

    I don’t know what took me so long to view your blog. The pictures are great and I enjoyed every word. You and your lovely sister apparently make a good team.

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