Kenya and Tanzania - HT Wandelreizen - September 2003

Below you will find a long list of pictures (approximately 110), taken on the Kenya and Tanzania trip organized by HT Wandelreizen from September 12 2003 to October 3 2003.
The most interesting images have a red bullet in front of them. In a hurry? Just want to see the pictures? Check out the slide show.
The days we were walking we kept track of how much time we spent walking. This is excluding the time for breaks.

September 12: (Flight to) Nairobi

After a pleasant flight, we arrived in Nairobi late in the evening and went to our hotel and after quick introductions from everybody, straight to bed.

September 13: Nairobi to Chogorya / Forest Gate

We started with a shower (we knew this would be our last chance in at least a week). After that we quickly had breakfast and then (around 9am) we got on the bus which would take us to Chogorya. But first we had to find a way out of Nairobi... There was a huge traffic jam on the highway. We left our own side of the highway and continued on the other side since there was not much traffic there. The fact that we were driving against traffic didn't seem to bother our driver. His colleagues coming our way of course did... After a few mile, we encountered the cause of the traffic jam. A lorry had fallen of the road onto the railroad below. After that we could return to our own side of the highway and travel onwards.
The countryside was beautiful and not quite as dry as we had expected. In fact it was extremely green. A lot of Delmonte pineapples are grown there as well as rice and tea.
Just after noon we arrived in Chogorya where we had lunch and waited for the jeeps which would then take us to the start of the trail - Forest Gate.
After tea and later a very nice dinner, we went to bed (a new tent, big enough for the two of us and all our lugagge for this trek), but not before having a good look at the Milky Way!

September 14: Chogorya / Forest Gate to Bairuni Clearing

After breakfast (including saucages and scrambled egg...) we started the first day of walking. The forest around us mainly consisted of bamboo. We were told that if we were lucky, we would be able to see elephants, but alas - no such luck.
Just before lunch a group of monkeys passed us, in front of the second group, but behind us so we didn't see them. After lunch Patricia spotted three monkeys in the trees, but by the time we got closer, they had disappeared.
Around 2.45pm we arrived at our campsite. We tried to find a decent spot for our tent just off the road and managed to get our tent up just before the first drops of rain.
Our diner tent was just big enough for us all to fit, but it meant we had to sit against the cloth, which of course lead to water coming into the tent... So after dinner we quickly went to our tent.
This day we walked approximately 3h50m.

September 15: Bairuni Clearing to Park Gate

After breakfast (like almost every day this holiday it consisted of scrambled eggs, saucages, fruit and cornflakes) we started walking (around 9am) again. Still on the track where only 4x4s would be able to drive through the bamboo forest. At 11.15am we arrived at our next campsite. In the distance we could see the first elephant! After luch we did a safari where we spotted waterbucks, bushbucks, hyraxes. A drizzle started early during the safari which later turned into a steady rain. It rained all through the evening, but dried up during the night.
This day we walked approximately 3h20m.

September 16: Park Gate to Road End via Lake Ellis and Mugi Hill

This morning started out with beautiful weather. Almost immediately after we started walking we saw some more waterbucks and buffalos. By now the bamboo forest had turned into a 'normal' forest. which as we got higher turned into giant rosette plants and moorland. We went on to lake Ellis. While we were lunching at the shore of Lake Ellis, the weather changed again. By the time we were walking up the slopes of Mugi Hill it started to drizzle again and when we reached the top (3490m), it started to rain. We still had to walk quite a bit - even further than we had planned, because the guide was unable to find the shortest route because the low visabilty prevented him from seeing any landmarks. By the time we got to the campsite we were soaking wet (not wearing proper clothing against the rain - because we were optimistic that it would be dry again soon - didn't help either). Forunately, we didn't have to sit in our own small dinner tent because at our campsite there was a very big tent waiting for people that never showed up so in good Dutch tradition we asked permission to the porters that were waiting for those people to use it, which they gave us...
This day we walked approximately 4h20m.

September 17: Road End to Hall Tarns

Although we could see the clouds right below us, this day started very sunny again. This allowed us to dry up a little - very pleasant when there's a small lake in your shoes... The moorland turned into tundra. After a few hours we arrived at a wonderful viewpoint from which we could see Lake Michaelson and Mount Kenya in the background. As we got higher, the weather became worse again and by 3pm there was some hail. During dinner, the sky cleared up again and we even got a little sun, just before it set behind the mountains. We got to bed early since we would have to get up early as well to start our ascend to the top.
This day we walked approximately 4h20m.

September 18: Hall Tarns via Pointe Lenana to American Camp

It was only 2am when we got up again. After some tea and biscuits, we started walking around 3am. Around 6am the sun came up and we could walk without the head lights. It was a wonderful almost orange light when the sun came up. By then we were around 4600m. Around 8am we arrived at the Pointe Lenana, the third highest peak of mount Kenya (4985m) and the highest that doesn't require alpinistic skills. By then Arjen was quite tired. He had a bit of a problem with the altitude, combined with not eating enough before the start of this day's journey.
The regular way down to the breakfast/lunch spot was unavailable because it was too icy so we had to take the long route. This meant it took us about 3 hours more than planned before we got there (just after noon). On the way we passed the wreck of a plane which crashed there on July 11th of this year - not a pretty sight... After a bit of lunch (and for Arjen a bit of sleep) we walked on to American Camp (4200m). This was a lovely spot, albeit quite wet (it was almost everywhere as if you were putting your tent up in a small stream). Just before dinner, the setting sun coloured the mountains beautifully orange.
This day we walked approximately 9h00m.


Some nice books about Mt. Kenya & Kilimanjaro:

Lonely Planet Kenya (Kenya, 5th Ed) by Joseph Bindloss, et al
Kilimanjaro & Mount Kenya: A Climbing and Trekking Guide by Cameron M. Burns
On Top of Africa: The Climbing of Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya by Neville Shulman, Ranulph Riennes


September 19: American Camp to Judmeier Camp via Shiptons Camp

At first Arjen was hesitant if he should continue the normal route or take a short cut out of the Park, but he decided to give it a go. Apparently, the night's rest had done him well, because walking wasn't quite as hard as he had expected. Unfortunately, 2 of our group did have to take this short route, because one of them had what later turned out to be a lung infection. The day started with a steep climb, followed by another one not to long afterwards. The surrounding was beautiful which made walking there even easier. We passed some lovely lakes and ended up at 4600m from where we could see all three peaks of Mount Kenya clear from clouds. We went on to Shiptons Camp where we had lunch. Waiting for the lunch, we walked around the site, trying to spot some more Hyraxes at close range. We saw a few, from a few meters distance.
After lunch we continued on our way out of the valley. On our way we spotted lots and lots of Hyraxes and sunbirds. Around 4pm we saw the clouds nearing and could see the rain heading in our direction. Fortunately, we then took a turn into another valley. There it was dry and we even got some more sunshine before we arrived at Judmeier Camp. Right after we had put up our tents, the sun disappeared behind the mountains and it became dark. After dinner we quickly went to bed.
This day we walked approximately 8h00m.

September 20: Judmeier Camp via Sirimon Park Gate to Nanyuki

It was only a short walk to the Park Gate. There we said goodbye to our porters.
In our hotel we took a long shower. We hung up our wet clothes, which dried in a matter of minutes... Then we saw the two people that had taken the shorter route. They had visited the hospital where they were told one of them was suffering from a lung infection and should not go to a higher altitude again - which meant they had to go back to the Netherlands.
In the afternoon we did some shopping and visited an internet cafe to send the home front an e-mail stating that all was well and we were proud to say we had passed the first peak of our journey.
This day we walked approximately 1h40m.

September 21: Nanyuki to Moshi

With a minivan which was a bit small for the 14 of us, we travelled to Nairobi. There we had lunch and continued onwards in a bigger, more comfortable bus. It was a very long journey to Moshi in Tanzania. Passing the border into Tanzania was no problem at all. The sun was setting when we got a good look at the Kilimanjaro. We begged our driver to stop so we could take some pictures. When he did, the best light had already gone, but we still could take some nice shots. It was already dark when we arrived in the very nice "Bristol" hotel. We were lucky to get the "Mountain View" room (a gift from our Dutch guide because it was our honeymoon). A huge room, very comfortable. After having taken a shower we had a great dinner - Indian food, apparently there are quite a few Indian people living in Tanzania.

September 22: Moshi via Londorossi Gate to Forest Camp

After breakfast we could see why our room was called "Mountain View". Looking outside, the Kilimanjaro was clearly visible. We said goodbye to the two that were going back to the Netherlands and took the Jeep to Londorosso Gate. After we signed in we drove to the starting point from where we started walking to Forest Camp. The walk went through the jungle. The campsite was not very clean. We were about to set up our tent when we were warned by a porter from another group that it was right in the path of a very big group of red ants. We had a few drops of rain, but the sun quickly took over again.
This day we walked approximately 2h00m.

September 23: Forest Camp to Shira 1

The jungle quickly turned to moorland again. We went up quite steeply at first, but when we got onto the Shira plain, it was almost flat. We had to wait a while before our porters arrived before we spend the rest of the afternoon reading in our tent. The Kilimanjaro still seemed quite far away. When the sun set we could take some very nice shots of it again.
This day we walked approximately 3h55m.

September 24: Shira 1 to Shira 2

We decided to walk to the next camp via Shira Peak and the Shira Cathedral. Since we were still on the plain, it was an easy journey to the foot of the peak, although near the peak the climb got steeper. From the peak we had a great view at Mount Meru. From the peak it was slightly down and then up again to Shira 2 (3840m). We were lucky, the porters had already put up our tents. Most of the day we had very nice weather, late in the afternoon there were some clouds getting a bit higher and near to our camp.
This day we walked approximately 3h35m.

September 25: Shira 2 to Arrow Glacier Camp

It was a very nice route up to Arrow Glacier. We were looking at the Kilimanjaro all day. It was now filling our view completely. A very impressive sight! By now we could also see why the glacier was called "Arrow Glacier" - it looks like an arrow pointing right. We passed Lava Tower and took a steep climb up to Arrow Glacier camp. Because of the rocks, the porters had put up our tents for us again. The weather was very nice. Even at 4800m it was still warm enough to wear a t-shirt. When the sun set, it coloured the mountains and clouds wonderfully orange. We went to bed early since that night we would have to get up at midnight.
This day we walked approximately 4h00m.

September 26: Arrow Glacier Camp via Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp

At midnight we got up, drank some tea and ate some biscuits before we started walking around 1am. It was a long and difficult climb up to the edge of the crater where we arrived around 6am. It was quite cold, but not nearly as cold as it would have been when there had been wind. Now it was just -10 Celcius. The sun was getting up and caused the Kilimanjaro to cast a shadow on the clouds behind us. We had to climb another 200 meters before we arrived at the top (5695m) around 8am. Arjen almost gave up, but eventually made it up there too. The top is really beautiful with all the glaciers. Really very impressive. We spent some time there and took a lot of pictures before we headed down again around 8.30. The way down was quite easy. After we had gone down about 500 meters we had breakfast and then continued to Barufa Camp where we arrived around 11.20. A very dirty camp site. We were glad we had taken another route to the top and were only passing through. Just before noon we walked on to Mweka Camp. The weather which had been beautiful all day, now became worse. We were walking in the fog at first, which later turned into rain. It was almost dry again when we arrived at the camp site (very dirty as well) - at 3100 meter some 2700 meters below the top - around 2.45pm. Again the porters had put up our tents. We were very thankful to them since it had been a long day... Around 6.30 we had dinner and went to bed not too long after that.
This day we walked approximately 11h00m.


Some nice books about Kilimanjaro & East Africa:

Lonely Planet Tanzania (Tanzania, Zanzibar & Pemba, 2nd Ed) by Mary Fitzpatrick
Lonely Planet Trekking in East Africa (Walking Guide) by David Else
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro by Stephen Carmichael, Susan Stoddard, Rick Ridgeway, Neville Shulman, Robert M., Jr Moore


September 27: Mweka Camp via Mweka Gate to Moshi

From Mweka Camp it was a nice path (a bit too nice actually, it looked too artificial) down to Mweka Gate. After we had signed out, we took the jeep again to Moshi. We had lunch and then went on to the hotel - again the Bristol, but unfortunately not the Mountain View room. This room was very nice too though. At least it had a shower - it had been a week since we had had the chance... Patricia had brought a lot of medical equipment (like syringes, bandages, etc.) from the Netherlands (just in case). Since we had not used them, Patricia decided to bring them to a hospital. One happened to be just around the corner. The people there were very happy with this gift.
Later we had dinner at the house of the local travel agent. Here we got our certificate which prooves we have actually reached the top.
This day we walked approximately 2h10m. This makes for a total of 59h50m for this holiday!

September 28: Moshi to Tarangire National Park

Around 11am we went to Kigongoni camp - a camp site near Tarangire National Park. We had lunch and after that went for our first jeep safari. We were very lucky and saw very many, and many different animals, including two female lions, a lot of elephants, giraffes, Wildebeests, zebras and a leopard. Here's the complete list of animal species. We also saw a lot of very beautiful baobabs - the characteristic tree.
We left the park just after the sun had set. For the first time this holiday it was still warm enough to spend the evening outside the tent so we took advantage of it. We went to bed no earlier than 10.30pm! Some two hours later than the average before...

September 29: Tarangire National Park to Kudu Camp Site

In the morning we went to Tarangire National Park again. This time we took a different route. We saw lots of animals again. Near the same spot as the day before we saw two female lions again. Also lots of elephants - a group of around 30 near the river and some smaller groups in different locations around the park.
Here's the list of animal species that we did not see the day before.
Around noon we arrived back at the camp site where we had lunch. Around 1pm we drove to Kudu Camp site. It was a long drive, but not as long as we had expected. The road works in the area are progressing quite fast, which made the trip shorter and more pleasant, since the asphalt is quite a bit more flat than the original sand road. The camp site was quite nice and comfortable. The weather was very nice too, but because of the altitude, it became colder when the sun went down. Fortunately there was a bar where we could sit and talk about all the animals we had seen so far...

September 30: Kudu Camp Site to Ngorongoro Crater and back to Kudu Camp Site

We started with a very bumpy ride to the Ngorongoro Crater. It took us about 90 minutes to travel the 60km. When we reached the edge of the crater, we stopped to take some pictures. We could clearly see the bottom of the crater some 500 meters below us and the other side of the crater as well - the crater has a diameter of about 20 km!
When we reached the bottom of the crater we encountered some Masai. They had some nice original (we hope) spears, necklaces, arm braces, etc.. Most of us bought something always including the right to take a picture of the seller...
We immediately spotted some hyenas. In the distance we saw a group of jeeps and drove in that direction. When we reached them we saw the reason for the presence of the hyenas: in the distance there was a dead buffalo. The vultures were standing by and circling above too. After a while the last buffalo of the group gave up attempts to move the dead buffalo to walk along (a really sad sight) and the hyenas, jackals and vultures took their chance.
After a while we drove off and soon encountered a lot of species we had not seen yet: Hartebeests, gazelles, flamingos and lying peacufully in the hippopool: some hippos. Here's the complete list of animal species.
After lunch we went to a different part of the park where we saw some more species like warthogs, vervet monkeys (they have very blue balls!) and some elephants. After we drove through the part that looks like the jungle trying to spot the rhinos that are supposed to hang around there (which we unfortunately did not) we drove back to the camp again.

October 1: Kudu Camp Site to Mto Wa Bu

From Kudu Camp we drove to the town of Mto Wa Bu (which translates to mosquito river - although we only saw 1 mosquito) where we put our tents up at Twiga Camp (a very nice camp site). Then we went to Lake Manyara National Park. Again we saw lots of animals, including some species we had not seen yet. Close to the lake shore we saw a vey large group of hippos - I stopped counting when I reached 100...
Then we ran into an elephant that did not like sharing the road with us. It was a bit scary seeing such a big creature threatening to attach you...
We had seen enough animals and headed back. Here's the complete list of animal species.
We were dropped near the tourist shops and bought some wooden animals and other carvings. On our way out we were stopped by a vendor who wanted to trade my sun cap for something from his shop. Since I did not really need anything, I was able to actually trade it for a small wooden elephant.
It was lovely weather so the rest of the afternoon and evening we spent in the garden of the camp site.

October 2: Mto Wa Bu to Arusha

Our last full day in Tanzania. It was a short drive to Arusha where we arrived at the Novotel around 11am. Then the long waiting started for the trip back. Enough time to read a novel by Lee Child.

October 3/4: Flight to Amsterdam via Dar es Salam

Enough time to read another novel by Lee Child before we were picked up around 5.30pm by the bus that took us to Kilimanjaro International Airport. We took off around 9.30pm.
The landing in Dar es Salam wasn't very smooth, we hit the ground quite hard... The rest of the flight was ok, as well as the landing in Amsterdam (around 7.20am).
Waiting for our luggage we said goodbye to the rest of the group.