A Very Brief Encounter with Kilimanjaro

May 11, 2016

It alternated between rain and drizzle for two days high up in the Usamara mountains. On the second morning, I decided to head down the mountain, as the first five or six miles were dirt, and were already muddy when I came up; by now I knew it was going to be slick and slow going. 

It wasn’t nearly as bad as I had expected, and the ride back down the mountain to Mombo was actually quite enjoyable. I continued west on the main road towards Moshi, and as I entered this small town, the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro was just barely peeking through the clouds.

I had already decided that I was not going to attempt to climb Kilimanjaro on this trip, as my ankle still gives me trouble from my Bolivia “off” five months ago. So I will keep it on my “to do” list for the next lap.

I continued on towards Arusha, where I planned to stay for a few days while searching for a tour of the Ngorongoro Crater. I had a place in mind to camp in Arusha, but after three failed attempts at finding it, even with the GPS coordinates, I headed for an alternate place: Masai Camp. I could camp here or sleep in a dorm room for the same price ($10), and since I was the only person here, I chose the dorm room. About fifteen minutes later, a woman on a Honda CRF250 pulled up. 

Jennifer and her partner Craig started in Cape Town on two CRF250s and have been heading north, mostly on unpaved roads. Jennifer split off in Kenya and has been traveling alone for the past two months, but was now headed back to Kenya to meet up with Craig again. It sounds like I will likely see them again in Kenya. Jennifer introduced me to the game of Bao, which I still don’t fully understand since there appear to be different rules depending on where it’s played but it looked interesting enough that I intend to search out a Bao game to purchase and learn.

After one night at Masai Camp, I moved further west to Meserani Oasis Camp. Here I found a nice private room with a shared bath for $11 a night. After checking in, I met Justin, who is the son-in-law of the owner. Justin and his wife Sandra and their young daughter live here now, but used to live in Austin, Texas. I was shocked to learn that Sandra’s sister, a native of Tanzania, and her husband live within ten miles of where I was living in Texas before I began this trip. Amazingly small world.

3 thoughts on “A Very Brief Encounter with Kilimanjaro

  1. And Jennifer’s bike was fully loaded or was traveling light ? Where was she from originally, she looks Asian ? She is one tough cookie ? U think maybe she was giving u da “no I’m not alone, my partner is close by” answer to void off unwanted attention?

    • Ha! Jennifer (and Craig) are definitely traveling lighter than me. She is of Chinese descent, but she’s Australian and living in London. Craig I think is also Australian living in London. They have bikes in London, but bigger bikes, so they flew to Cape Town and bought the Honda 250s. Great choice, in my opinion. They are definitely great people.

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