Flight to the mighty Kilimanjaro

February 11, 2013 in Africa, Tanzania

Once again I slept like in coma and as the alarm clock sounded at 06:45 I got up to start packing my bags again to make it to the airport in time for our 10:30 flight to Kilimanjaro airport.
We leave the house and flag down a tuk-tuk that agrees to drive us to the airport for 15.000 shillings comparing with the 35.000 that a regular taxi would cost.
Pretty soon we realize that it was a good choice to take the tuk-tuk as the traffic is literally fucked this Monday morning.

traffic queue in dar es salaam tanzania

Fish in the traffic

The driver didn’t accept that the queue build up and went over to drive together with motorcycles on sidewalks and walk paths honking with its Beep-Beep signal horn to get people to get out of the way.
It was a very inspired way of driving but if we would have taken a taxi we would have not been able to make it to the airport in time for our flight and that is a thing that is sure.
We finally pull into the airport some 70 minutes later and manage to check-in without any problem on FastJet, Africas newest low-cost carrier.

low cost airline fastjet dar es salaam tanzania

Africas newest low cost airline – FastJet

One thing that is constantly surprising me is that the concept of “African time” that I have met everywhere else in camera is not so adapted in Tanzania, things are pretty organized and goes as it should.
African time is the concept of things taking the time it takes. Meaning that you can not really plan or rely on any set time-table as it is always gonna take longer due to African time.
That has not been the case in Tanzania. We boarded the plane on time and the short flight of 75 minutes went without any problems and we landed on Kilimanjaro Airport which is more as a long landing strip with a small terminal building.
You exit the plane direct onto the tarmac and walk over to the one building that serves as the terminal building.
And this is the international airport where big airlines like Qatar Airways, Lufthansa and others land? Amazing.
The small terminal contained just two conveyor belts and three immigration huts.

kilimanjaro international airport tanzania

Kili airport

We took our bags and walked out of the terminal building where we had heard that there might be a cheap shuttle bus into Moshi instead of paying the regulated taxi fare of 40 USD for the 45km to the city.
Fortunately this was true as we got jumped on by local taxi drivers that wanted to drive us as I saw a man walk around with a FastJet sign saying Moshi.
We climbed into the minibus and took place at the back row of seats and paid the 10.000 shillings for the ride.
The ride went towards the foot of Kilimanjaro who were showing its peak through the clouds and after some 80 minutes we were in Moshi.
Once again local taxi drivers saw the two muzungas sitting in the minibus and started pointing at us to get our attention and to get the chance to drive us to where we were going.
Fortunately we had already a couch in Moshi so we would contact him to come and get us but I needed to get a local SIM card first.
We decided it was best to get to an internet café first to kind of orientate us and get our bearings before we contact our host.

Ended up in a place called dot cafe which was run by two indian decent brothers who turned out to be extremely helpful and friendly to us during our stay in Moshi.
They helped me with getting a SIM card for my phone as well as getting it registered as you need to do in Tanzania.
This was apparently a long process so we decided to go to the food place right next door and had half a fish with rice and beans.
When everything was set to go I tried to call our host without any success several times.
I sent SMS and also a message through CouchSurfing in case I had been given the wrong number by mistake.
Hours passed by without and luck so we decided to find an alternative place to stay instead and found Twiga lodge through hostels.com.
I called them up and luckily enough they had a room free for us where we could stay.
As the Twiga lodge was situated some kilometers outside the city the Indian brothers were kind enough to organize a car with a driver they trusted to take us there and as we passed out of the city we suddenly saw the mighty one Kilimanjaro.
The clouds that previously had hidden the mighty one most of the day had now dispersed and the top was visible.
We asked the driver to stop so we could shoot some pictures and he did.

Kilimanjaro photogrpahed from Moshi tanzania

Old Kilimanjaro in his pride

At the lodge, as they like to call things in Tanzania, we found out that we were actually the only guests except for 3 long-term staying Germans who were all working as volunteers in a NGO in the city.
Jake joined a group of kids playing football on a dirt pitch right outside the lodge while I got connected and started talking to one of the germans living there.
We had a proper shower and a nice meal making us to feel a little bit like humans again.
Suddenly my phone rings and it is our host that is calling asking us if we are ok.
In the end it turns out that one of the numbers has become wrong and we decide to meet up the following day instead.
This night however I didn’t sleep so well and woke up several times during the night mainly because of the loud fan in the ceiling which we had turned up to full speed to keep the room a little bit cool.