Arusha – Foothills of Mt Meru and Mt Kilimanjaro

I used to watch a lot of black and white movies as a kid, and one that I remember is The Snows of kilimanjoro. Its a Gregory Peck movie and in it he is basically dying from a hunting accident while on Safari in Kilimanjaro! Not sure if its the best movie to be remembering right now, as I gear up for my 7 day hike up that same mountain on Monday, but its perhaps why I’ve always had a fascination with climbing the mountain every since I was kid. Not that I ever even knew where it was then, but I knew that someday I would want to climb it. And looks like that someday is tomorrow!

I’m currently in Arusha now, which is Northwest of Dar Es Salaam, closer to Kenya and Serengheti National Park. I flew up on Friday on Precision Air, a small local company. I was supposed to fly up at 4pm, but they changed my flight to 2pm, so ended up being a in a pretty big rush to the airport after the closing ceremonies of the camp. Apparently that happens a lot here, that flights will get changed last minute, or even cancelled. Just one of things you have to put up with.

But luckily I got to the airport on time, the Vice Presided of Tanzanian Basketball Federation graciously offered to rush me in his car, rather than getting a taxi, so that helped a lot.

Plane was small, but quite comfortable and the services was great. Was only a 1 hour flight from Dar to Kilimanjaro aiprort. Caught a glimps of the mountain was we were up 22,000 ft.

Then I had to arrange a taxi from the airport to Arusha. Arranging taxi’s here is always an adventure. Its a known fact that if you have white skin, they immediately jack up the price. So its always a back and forth trying to get them down in price. So when I came out of the airport, I was initially told it would be $50 US to go to Arusha. But then I noticed a bus offering seats for 10,000 TSh (about $6) so figured that was the better deal, even if it would be crowded. But I then noticed a couple from New Zealand and we ended up talking a taxi into taking the 3 of us for 30,000 Tsh, so about $18 total. So worked out pretty good.

Gidibo had booked be a room at the SnowCrest hotel in Arusha. He had a friend of a friend that worked there so was able to get me a pretty good deal. It turned out to be a fantastic hotel, only a year old, with excellent service and food. And I got it at a great price considering its high tourist season here, and when I checked online, some hotels wanted 250 euro per night!!

I didn’t do a whole lot that evening, actually got pretty sick again and ended up spending the evening taking it easy. Was starting to get a bit worried about the climb, I really didn’t want to end up like Gregory Peck in the movie!!

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About peterbenoite

I am the men's basketball coach at Memorial University.
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