Mount Ararat is a volcano in eastern Anatolia near Armenia and Iran. With its 5,165 meters, it is the highest mountain in Turkey and one of the few free-standing five-thousand-meter peaks in the world. According to the Bible, Noah landed there with his ark.More
Frankfurt on the Main - Vienna - Addis Ababa - Usa River
We wanted to fulfill a long-cherished wish this year - to climb Kilimanjaro. Pandemic years, increasing inflation, many restrictions on rail and air travel made us doubt for some time, but then we decided: Hop or top, let's try the adventure 🙂. We had received the visas only 2 days before departure, the tension was kept high. The journey was long, 36 hours. From Chemnitz via Leipzig to Frankfurt Airport by train, then flights via Vienna and Addis Ababa to Kilimanjaro Airport. At each Airport we had at least 4 hours of layover, but the excitement kept us awake. Corona protection was just about there until Vienna, but after that, no one cared.
Enthused by the good care at Ethiopian Airlines, we landed at Kilimanjaro Airport one day later around noon. Here we stood for the first time, there was a queue for temperature measurement and vaccination card control, another for entry papers. Our driver was already waiting and we drove for about half an hour past dry, desolate areas to the lodge in Usa River. Old tin huts lined the road, children herded goats and cattle by the side of the road, surely little income from tourism arrived here. This was the dark side, we as tourists were briskly driven past. So our lodge also had a gate and a guard. The lodge itself (Website) was a small garden idyll, friendly smiling servants almost snatched the luggage out of your hands. Unfortunately, we were accommodated a bit out of main area, a car brought and fetched us to meals. It was lovely there, but we were alone, cut off from any sources of information.
No one we could have asked about experiences with the mountains, the locals and the customs. So I pushed so that we could to move into the main lodge the next day. In the afternoon, the friendly elderly landlord took me around the property and showed me the destroyed fences and eaten stumps of banana trees. Almost every night elephants came from the nearby national park, trampled the fence and ate here. He told us to listen tonight. When the dogs in the village bark, the elephants are there. But unfortunately we heard nothing after the journey, we were in a deep sleep 🙂. Also because it got dark quickly here at the equator: Sunset was always around 6.30 pm, sunrise around 6.30 a.m.
Moved to the main lodge, we immediately met people in the morning who had climbed Mt Meru and Kilimanjaro. And they were all thrilled, tough, but unique it would have been. Some of them added safaris or a visit to Zanzibar to the mountain tours. Unfortunately our holiday was not enough. In the afternoon, our guide Richard came up to us with a broad smile: Checking the equipment. We had already spread out on the beds. There were no complaints with Manu, with me he just laughed out loud. Almost everything was missing from me 🙂. No problem, Richard smiled, I could borrow everything from him. But what was more important was that the sympathy and trust were there immediately, since we would be spending a large part of the time with Richard in the mountains. This was confirmed later, we had a lot of fun in the mountains and learned a lot from him.
We spent our last evening at the lodge in the Bavarian Beergarden, we were really excited, we had no hiking experience above 2500 m altitude. But the very tasty local "Serengeti" and "Kilimanjaro" beer made us sleep well again 🙂. All the better, because the servants always, while we were away for the brilliant dinner, stretched the mosquito nets over the bed and put a hot water bottle under the blankets. A hot water bottle in Africa 🙂. Hard to imagine for us, but in the early evening it evening it cooled down quickly. While it was well over 30 degrees in Germany during the day, the temperatures here were between 20-25 degrees.