Destination - Kilimanjaro International Airport

Tanzania Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 13 › view all entries
Kilimanjaro from 23,000ft
No matter how prepared for a trip you think you are, you are never quite prepared. It's normal, all travellers are the same.

These were the things running through my head as I rushed around town the morning of my departure to Tanzania. I didn't have my currency, I didn't have the all important chocolate bars for the trek, and I certainly didn't feel prepared.

That afternoon, I squeezed the last of my things into my rucksack, and zipped it up for the last time, being sure that I had everything I needed for the next two weeks. My fiancé walked me to the bus station, and I found my coach to the airport. We said goodbye - it was to be the longest we had spent apart since we met almost 3 years earlier.

The coach journey went quite fast, and as the landscape changed from Hampshire countryside to the hustle and bustle of London, a part of me started to feel very small in this huge world.
Kilimanjaro from 23,000ft
As I arrived at Heathrow bus station I made my way to Terminal 4, which was harder than it seemed at first glance. I was directed to one place, only to wait there 5 minutes for the shuttle train to be delayed, then to have to change back to the original platform I had mistakenly stood at for the previous 5 minutes!
Needless to say, my plan to be there before the rest of my group failed. Two out of 8 of them had already arrived before I had!

3 hours before take off the group had all arrived and we headed up to check in. My luggage only weighed 14.4kg out of a maximum 20kgs. Only myself and one other had luggage under 15kgs and so I thought perhaps I had under packed. Then I realised - no - I'm probably the one with the most sensibly packed luggage out of the group.
Kilimanjaro from 23,000ft


We all went our separate ways and agreed to meet at the departure gate. I had a moment of panic - 'oh my goodness' I thought, 'I have such a huge responsibility here, am I up to the challenge? Can I cope? Would I be organised enough?'. I felt a rush of horror and dread - what have I been let in for? My first tour guiding experience, and I'm going to Tanzania to climb the biggest mountain there!

I called my parents, who, classically, reassured me, and made me realise that I was more than capable of doing it - after all I survived living in Nairobi on my own - and this was a completely organised trip - nothing could go wrong.

I grabbed a Starbucks and my luck started changing - ordered a tall and was given a venti! I wandered over to the departure lounge and shortly afterwards the rest of the group followed.
The journey from the airport
We sat and chatted and started getting to know one another. It was great, and before long it was time to board the plane. We were all split up, which was a shame, although in a way, I think it was for the best. We were able to get on with our own plane routine rather than having to make conversation.

I sat next to a lovely lady called Emily, who was from Manchester. We chatted for a while, and it turned out that she was going on a tour to climb Kilimanjaro too. She was travelling alone, but preferred doing so.

Dinner on the plane was rice with vegetable stew (vegetarian choice), with a bread roll, crackers and a fruit salad. I watched the Sex and the City movie, which was enjoyable and tried to sleep but gave up. Being sat in the middle of two strangers is not the best sleeping arrangement in my opinion (thousands may disagree!)

After a long and tiring flight we landed in Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta airport, the same place I had landed 3 years before on the start of my first African adventure.
The journey from the airport
Sadly, I couldn't really leave the airport to refresh my love for Nairobi, but instead had a 6 hours wait inside the airport. Joy!

The 6 hours were taken up by chatting, gossiping, and getting to know each other. Our departure gate was announced and we headed over to the lounge. Our plane was tiny! No bigger than a public bus - two seats either side and only about 30 rows in total.

Before we knew it, we had taken off - flying at 23,000 feet, and suddenly, out of the clouds, appeared the great snow topped beauty we had come to conquer - Mount Kilimanjaro!

We descended through the clouds and down to the airport. The whole flight was only 40 minutes long. We got our visas and grabbed our luggage and were met by our driver. We stepped outside, the air was warm, the sun was shining, and all around was the beauty of Africa - even at the airport! We drove for an hour to our hotel through the stunning African countryside. It felt good to be back in the continent I feel truly happy in. I had a smile on my face as I looked out of the window. Africa is deeply in my blood.


pearcetoyou says:
In my blood, too!
Posted on: Nov 09, 2008
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Kilimanjaro from 23,000ft
Kilimanjaro from 23,000ft
Kilimanjaro from 23,000ft
Kilimanjaro from 23,000ft
Kilimanjaro from 23,000ft
Kilimanjaro from 23,000ft
The journey from the airport
The journey from the airport
The journey from the airport
The journey from the airport