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Published: October 24th 2009
We landed in Kilimanjaro International Airport, after Kenya Airport it was a paradise to land in big and nice airport. The air was stifling and it took time to use to it. The airport personal helped us to fix our tourist visa for Tanzania, they were friendly and nice, but some of them just wanted get money for nothing.
We were staying in Arusha with our friends who have a fantastic place there. The place is like a hotel for tourists and it is called “Karibu Home”. Nice people, food, service… I warmly recommend staying there if you have the opportunity to stay in this amazing city. Arusha is a wonderful corner of the world. It is really big contrast from Sweden. The culture is absolutely different. I really liked that people, they are relaxed and not in a hurry in Africa. If you have decided a time to meet with an African so you can be sure that he/she will be at least one hour late. Arusha is quite big city with many different cultures. The traffic is really dangerous for a tourist. The public transport is slow process, but experience rich. It is worth to try dalla-dallas (Tanzanian
mini-busses). They are usually a tight squeeze as the drivers pile in the customers to maximize their takings. Don’t be surprise if you get someone’s ass in your face. There are people sitting on each other and if someone needs to go off so everyone in the mini-buss must go off and back on the mini-bus.
In Arusha you’ll find many interesting markets. There are a lot of Masai (famous tribe) markets. You just must to be aware about the prices because it will be at least five times more when a tourist would like to buy. Of course if you are not happy about price, just go and they will run after you and ask how much you want pay.
Night life can be a big experience, going to the clubs for the entry fee. They have nice clubs, pubs etc. The service is friendly and good. You can get drinks for a cheap price at the pubs though. Just nice to go out and see night life in this culture.
The food is fabulous here. It is quite cheap and good quality for money. The best places to eat are where the local people are
eating. Don’t be surprise to see that many people will be eating with there hands. Really give a go with Tanzanian food because it is really tasty food.
Masai countryside was one of the best ways to get know more about the Masai culture. They are living in small traditional houses and have a family. A man has the possibility to have a few wives and families. His wives are living in same area and he is shifting the house every night. The women are staying at home and take care of the house, and children. They are also building the homes. The men are working to get money for his families. Many children don’t have possibility to go to school. The substances are not good for them at all. The older children have to look after younger children and help parents at home, and when they are old enough so they are working with sheep. It seems a hard life, but they are really happy and positive with this situation. They don’t know what it means technology etc. It is really interesting to compare our lives with there lives. I was talking to some people and they think
that we are unlucky because we have a life full of stress. Maybe it is true, maybe not?!
We went to visited a school for people with psychological and physical disabilities and I was surprised how good the school system is in Africa. Of course it depends in which school you go to and visit but overall I was surprised. There were many children with different psychological and physical disabilities, for example down-syndrome, angelman syndrome and etc. This school has done the lectures and special programs for these children.
Arusha National Park is really big one. The view of Mountain Meru is amazing. On the road to Arusha National Park we had a quick look in a snake and crocodile park also. They have all kinds of snake and I was not so fascinate of it. I’m not a friend with snakes so instead I had a look at the tortoises, crocodiles and other small animals.
Arusha National Park is full of animals. We could see giraffes, buffalo, elephants etc. The small and bumpy roads are exotic. The monkeys are sitting in the trees and you have to watch out of them. WARNING: they are stealing things from
you in really smart way. They have a group work to steal things from you.
I was also hiking in Mt Meru. It was an amazing experiences and it is hard to describe in words. This hiking I did alone with a guide, but on my way I met a guy from Holland and later on a couple from California. We did this hiking together later on. First day we made to first camping of Mountain Meru. We were walking for 8 hours. It was nearly 2500 m. The road was windy with elephants, buffalos on it. We were lucky to have a guy with gun if some animal would be aggressive. In the evening we had nice meal and it was wonderful view in the sunset of Kilimanjaro. All time we could see Kilimanjaro in front of us. In night time we heard animals around the camping ground. The toilet and cold shower were outside so I didn’t dare go out and meet an elephant or buffalo on the road. Early morning we began to hike again. The road was quite bad and we needed to climb some stones for a while. It was half day hiking until
we reached “Suddle Hut 3500 M” and had nice dinner. It was really raining this afternoon. It was hailing, snowing, raining… We were planning to do an acclimatizer’s hiking and the rain just kept on. Around six o’clock we were ready to go up for acclimatizer’s hike. We reached “Little Meru Peak 3810 M”. The air was really heavy and wet. I had not problems with mountain sickness at all. After a tour in the mountain we went to bed 8pm because we should go for night hiking 1am. It was really cold so I couldn’t fall to sleep. I had on all cloths I had with me, but I was still shaking. It was maybe +5 in the room. However, I got no sleep and it was time for night hiking. It was horrible night for me. I got the balance sickness after a while in the middle of mountain. I was ill and I needed to stay every five minutes to sit and get better. Nobody thought that I’ll make to the top of mountain. It was really hard road if I can call it road. We were climbing with hands and legs. In the middle of the
mountain we got lost. We saw nothing and it was just black everywhere. We heard when the stones are falling down of the mountain. The guide was really positive and he was singing for me “Hakuna Matata” song. It was really adventure night and I got better to see the top of the mountain, but to see the top of the mountain isn’t mean that it is close. We were walking forever and I just tried don’t think of my illness. Just 10 minutes before the sunrise we were on “Socialist Peak 4566 M”. It was the highest point of the mountain. I cannot describe the feeling to come up on the top. It was so unreal to be over the clouds and see the sunrise over Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro was in front of us and it looked so close to us. I couldn’t believe that I have done it. To get back and realize what way we went in the darkness was scary. We climbed down on the big stones which were falling down. Just one wrong step and you would fell of it. I didn’t realize in the middle of night that it was so dangerous. We came back
to the camping and had nice breakfast. I decide to do this mountain in two days and it meant that I need to hike down mountain in same day. It was long day and I was tired when I arrived home. This experience is for life time.
I have visited a children home “SOS Children Village” in Arusha also. It was my psychology study’s project. It was good experience for my education. This children’s home has better living standards than some families in Africa. They had nice home, love, each other, schools etc. I was expecting to see a children home with bad subsistence. Of course, it was one of the best children home in Africa. It was amazing to meet children. They appreciate every small thing you do for them.
Our trip was four weeks, but the time just disappeared. It is an amazing trip and I would love to go back to Tanzania some day.
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