#Kili4Kids Climb – Day One

The Team

First report from the foothills of Kilimanjaro.
Monday night saw all our brave climbers gathering at O R Tambo airport.  With it suddenly hitting home that this was it, there was  fair amount of nervous laughs!  At 11pm we boarded our first flight – thank you to Ethiopian Airlines and Lebo for making this happen – and we were on our way.  First stop Addis – looking a little less fresh than when we started, but a couple of strong Ethiopian coffees helped – and then on to Kilimanjaro.  As we alighted from the plane we were met by a wall of heat!  We had arrived!  Some “ill-prepared” climbers on “foreign” passports had to get visas, and some had to get money exchanged and SIM cards, so after some 2 hours of sweltering in the bus, we eventually made our way to the hotel!  Apart from almost colliding with a cow, the bus trip also gave us our first view of Kilimanjaro – what a magnificent sight!  With a collective intake of breath, it hit home to our climbers just how big this mountain is that they were setting out to conquer.  

After checking in, we met with the tour operator, Manasseh and head guide, John.  With their “no-nonsense” approach to information on the climb, and allaying some concerns (John has completed over 200 climbs with a high success rate, the food will be good and  the porters will be there to assist at all times) and creating some new ones (to Diamox or not and portaloo or not (yes to both was the decision made)) everyone felt ready to meet the challenge.  Then it was a quick supper and everyone was off for an early night.

Bright and early this morning, our climbers were all up and ready to go.  With all of them sporting a selection of khaki, it was straight from “Out of Africa”.  Quick breakfast, bags loaded on the bus, introduction to guides and they were on their way!!

As I write this, they will have completed their drive to the gate (approximately an hour and a half from the hotel) – they will complete all the paperwork at the gate (so much paperwork!!!) have lunch and set off!! 

It is expected that they will start hiking between 12 and 1 Tanzanian time.  Today’s hike will take them through some lush forest vegetation and they may spot an animal or two!  With the temperature on the ground well into the 30’s, heat will be the biggest challenge today. 
Getting to this point has had a few “stressful” moments – Youvin having a delayed flight from Durban and only landing at OR Tambo after 21h30 (yes he made it – just!), an “interesting” landing coming into Kilimanjaro (a double attempt), Michelle losing her money at Addis (we think it was Addis and not sure what happened but the money is nowhere to be found), and Emlyn being pickpocketed whilst sightseeing yesterday!  What is an adventure without some of these memorable moments?!
I will be getting reports on a daily basis from our climbers and the guides, which I will be posting. 

Please follow the story on either facebook page – messing with the Rongai –  www.facebook.com/groups/2092898127449437/or on Whatsapp – Kilimanjaro#kili.  
DianeYour Kili correspondent – reporting daily from a hotel somewhere close to Kilimanjaro.

En Route to Rongai

Go to Day Two