Actually less than ten, but it rings well. Yes, that is where I am headed and although I say it out loud here, and when I tell friends, there is a definite smile that creeps into my face, it still doesn't feel really real yet! Early this year, as a part of a project I had researched 15 African countries... I still remember the one company slide on Tanzania featuring the Kilimanjaro, Serengeti and Zanzibar... I knew I wanted to go one day, glad the day has arrived this soon!
So, its me, R of Sikkim and Eastern Europe fame and R's boyfriend. Yes, I agree, I too don't know how I find myself in such groups! (ha, ha, just kidding). Anyways, I usually don't post much before a trip, but given I'll probably never get around to it after.... so here comes a pre-trip update.
1) Scaling the Kili - 8 days - We are flying into Kilimanjaro, and for the first couple of days will be camping at Moshi which is the nearest town/city. We need a couple of days to pick out some of the hiking equipment and then we are off. There are about 6 routes to hike the Kili and we've chosen a slightly not so popular, but considered kinda easy route - the Rongai. The Kilimanjaro is the tallest peak in Africa and a part of the seven summits (i.e. tallest summits in each continent) and its highest point reaches about 5,895mts. Altitude sickness is going to be the challenge here and the last day of scaling to the summit and the Uhuru peak sounds scary! Keeping fingers crossed and hoping for the best.
2) 5 days in national parks for game viewing - we will be touching Serengeti, Ngorongoro, lake Manyara amongst others. We are taking the camping option which works much much cheaper that wildlife lodges.
3) Zanzibar - this is our last and final stop, and we get a couple of days here. Zanzibar famous for its spice markets of by gone days has a mysterious feel to it. Will probably unwind here before we return home.
Unlike the usual heavy duty research I do for my long trips, I haven't done much this time. As usual, R, has taken charge of making decisions (which I hate), so we have some plans in place and she continues to keep me updated on to-do's and to-not-do's.
We are planning to use Gladys who has so far been quite helpful with our queries and are also know for their equipment hire. More after we get there!
1) Bought hiking boots last week... supposed to have got it and broken into it 2 months back. Just starting to now! While trekking in Ladakh, we managed with regular sneakers, so I was convinced that this was more a marketing ploy. But in the interest of my ankles....
2) Winter wear - coming from India, dressing up for the cold weather is an ordeal and is usually wearing a sweater on top of another and emerging like Santa. Learning the tricks of layering. Finally! Also, found this fantastic website which has some pretty good deals on winter wear - www.sierratradingpost.com... I also recommend going to any adventure outfitter in your city and they can give you a pretty good idea of what you need to get depending on the destination.
3) Vaccinations - yellow fever is needed when you arrive in Tanzania and more importantly, when you return to Singapore. Typhoid and Hepatitis A are recommended... but India was also marked as high risk for HA, so figured i shd be immune :). Those in Singapore, head to Tan Teok Seng hospital in Novena where they have travelers vaccination clinic - very efficient and helpful!
4) Visa - Tanzania is visa on arrival for Indians if your country doesnt have an embassy (Singapore doesn't have one)
5) Other than which, stay in reasonable shape for the Kili. The hardest thing is usually managing altitude sickness and there is no real way to prepare for that it seems, but being in decent shape with regular work outs helps!
So thats it for the moment... restless, excited and CANNOT wait!!!
PS: edited the post to correct the height of Mt.Kilimanjaro!