August 3, 2004 – "I am in Africa"

Mt. Meru; photo taken from Kilimanjaro

Today the guys are off from the Novotel Hotel to the Machame Gate, elevation 1700 meters (5,600’). It is time for the climb to begin. The porters are waiting at the Machame Gate. The ride from Arusha in Land Cruisers will take about 1 ½ hour. The lush farmland that circles Kili will be a beautiful start to today’s walk. By the end of the day the group will be camped at 3000 meters (9,800) at the Machame Camp near the top of the cloud forest that circles Kilimanjaro.

Arusha street marketNicholas, BAI’s chief guide for this group reported that David, Peter and Daniel all arrived tired from travel, but excited on the evening of the 1st of August. The next day is set aside for orientation and gear preparation, but Nicholas said that the guys wanted some exercise and wanted to see some local color. We arranged for a guide to take them hiking in the Mt. Meru foothills near town. It was a good opportunity to stretch legs and get some exercise after long plane flights. The group also visited a Massai market and took in that crowded, colorful rich scene. Food, clothing, cheap electronics, animal skins, all sorts of things for sale – such a market is a place where one suddenly realizes “I’m in Africa!”

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