Friday, 2 July 2010

Kilimanjaro. Tanzania. June 2010.

What you choose to receive as a birthday present (if you are asked!) varies from person to person. I want travel presents! A holiday just suites me fine and it seems that my preference is also wearing off on my husband. When I enquired what he wanted to celebrated his reaching his half century, I was informed that he wanted to see the ice cap on Mount Kilimanjaro before it melted. According to Professor Lonnie Thompson, Ohio State University, Kilimanjaro’s ice fields could be gone by the year 2020. When I started my research, I realised I did not know this part of Africa as well as I thought I did. For a start, I thought Kilimanjaro was in Kenya, very quickly I discovered that it is in Tanzania. To further my knowledge I ordered the Brand book Northern Tanzania, and it was soon very obvious that climbing the mountain was not an independent undertaking!
Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, It is among the tallest freestanding mountains in the world, with Uhuru Peak rising to an altitude of 5,882 m (19,298 ft) from base to summit. I tried to cross reference the recommended tour companies mentioned on page 155 of the Bradt guide on the Trip Advisor Forum, but could not find information on any of them. I really wanted to make sure that this trip was booked with a company who had a good safety record and who were experienced with the mountain.
I finally decided to use an English travel agent called Footloose, based in Ilkley, Yorkshire.
My reasons for this were, that the company specializes in such tours, the proprietors have done the climb themselves, the company is ABTA bonded and many of the local Tanzania tour companies were charging the same rates as Footloose.
As I read more about the climb, it became obvious that although a great many visitors, of all ages climb the mountain, it should not be regarded as a ‘prolonged Sunday Stroll’. To climb you do need to be reasonably fit. I decided it was not for me! And left the adventure to my husband and two daughters.
As usual the logistics of planning a family holiday proved to be like the of aligning moons. But after much discussion if was decided that the first week of June 2010 suited every one.
There was a lot of planning to be done. For a start getting fit! This was undertaken by lots of hill walking, running and training in the gym.
Footloose sent a list of equipment needed, the most important thing being a pair of well worn in Walking Boots. New boots were purchased and broken in, lot of new walking socks as well. Other than needing new boots we had most of the necessary apparel. Lots of layers, consisting of warm clothes starting with the thermal base layer and ending with a ski jacket. We had to buy new sleeping bags, water bottles and ‘day packs’.
The two other expensive purchases were the health needs....Malaria tablets and pre trip vaccinations. The Vaccinations recommended at our local clinic were Swine Flu, Hep A, Typhoid and Tetanus. Yellow Fever was not needed as we were not arriving from a country infected with yellow fever. In choosing Malarone (no psychotic side effects) for the Malaria prophylaxis I had to get private Prescriptions at a cost of £15.00 each, then the Malarone tablets costing £2.50 per tablet!
The visas cost £38.00 each, we sent the passports to the Embassy in London. The cost of this holiday was mounting up before we had even started. I have had holidays for the cost of that lot!
Finally the flight, this was relatively easy as KLM fly directly from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro Airport each day. So we booked Manchester to Amsterdam. Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro.
flew with Air Kenya from Dubai to Nairobi, then with Precision Air, Nairobi to Kilimanjaro.
And as a last Footnote......the blog about the Mt Kilimanjaro experience is written by the person who did it,Andy. Thank you for that x