Flamingoes south of Montpellier, France.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Sant Julià de Lòria, Andorra.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Somewhere in Spain.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Good news received yesterday, and some Kilimanjaro planning

Now into Sunday, day two of our weekend quarantine here in Turkey. The weekend quarantine is supposed to last through the New Year's Eve weekend which will actually be a four day lockdown lasting from 9am Thursday December 31st until 5am Monday January 4th.

Too bad, because it's been a beautiful weekend. But, we are doing our part to follow the rules. Fortunately, we can get out and about for the next five days. We feel bad for the locals who have to work for five days and then quarantine for two.

Good news received yesterday. We had applied for our Tanzania tourist visas last weekend, and I've been checking their website every day since. I had read where there doesn't seem to be much of a standard. Some people are approved in two days, and others seem to take two weeks. Every day I checked, it said "In Progress".

Yesterday, I logged in, and the website said "Visa Approved".

So, our Tanzania trip is coming together.

We have booked an Airbnb for two weeks staying at the home of a young man who works for the tour operator that we are dealing with. It's in the city of Arusha (population 500,000) which is the gateway for most people doing Serengeti safaris or Kilimanjaro or Meru trekking. The plan is to do some day hikes during that two week period, and then do the Mt. Meru hike around January 25th. It's a four day trek to the upper rim of a volcano at 4,562 meters (14,966').

For Meru, besides the guides and porters, you also have to hike with an armed park ranger because there is a lot of wildlife. And you are likely to see a lot of wildlife at the beginning of the Meru climb, while you likely will not see much wildlife on Kilimanjaro.

Some people call the Mt. Meru hike a warm up for Kilimanjaro, and while I've read that it's a worthwhile hike in it's own right, we are certainly going to use it as a warm up. We'll then rest for a couple or three days before attempting Kilimanjaro.

Climbing Mt. Meru with Kilimanjaro in the distance.

I say "attempting" because we are not going into this unaware of the challenges or the dangers. We have done a lot of research and we know that out of the 30,000 or so people who attempt to climb Kilimanjaro every year, about 35% do not make it to the top. But there are 7 different routes to the top, and we are doing a 7 day journey up the most successful route... Machame. The Machame route has an 85% success rate when done in 7 days.

We also know that people die climbing Kilimanjaro. Every year, between 7-10 people don't make it off the mountain alive. This is actually a very low number, which is why we are comfortable with the risk. 

So first we will do Mt. Meru, and if all goes well with that then we will do Kilimanjaro a short time later.

We have been hiking as high as 15,000' while doing some strenuous day hikes in Peru and we didn't show any altitude related problems to speak of. Hopefully we will be able to say the same about these two hikes in Tanzania!

That will bring us to about February 7th or so. We would still have six weeks or so to see some of the southern parts of the country. 

Big price drop on the popular Hill's Science Dog and Cat Food.

And in Canada...


  1. With your new eyes, you both will have fabulous views from up there, on top of those mountains! Glad your plans are coming together the way you wish! Merry Christimas in Turkey to both of you!

    1. We haven't totally said yes to this procedure yet but it is certainly looking very promising. And, yes we would see those beautiful views so much clearer without having to wear glasses and it sure would make the hike up all the better knowing that we don't have to worry about our glasses fogging up on us all the time. :-)

      Thank you for the Christmas wishes, we hope that you have a very Merry Christmas too. :-)

  2. Looking forward to you mountain hikes. There could be a loss of communications through that time.
    Be Safe and Enjoy the remaining time in Turkey.

    It's about time.

    1. We are so looking forward to our hikes there as well.

      There will definitely be a loss of communication up there, although there are a few places along the trail where you can pick up a cell signal, so although there won't be any proper blog posts being done while we are on this hike, I am sure that Kevin will at least try to make a quick post to let everyone how we are doing. We will certainly be playing catch up with the blog once we are back down though.

  3. So impressed! Sending cheers to the New Year and success in your climbs

  4. If you decide to get your eyes done, what about check up appointments, flying, high altitudes etc.?

    1. We will learn more tomorrow obviously, but the flying and high altitudes are not an issue. They have people who come here for medical tourism and fly back home two days later. As for checkups, that is on our list of questions for tomorrow.

  5. Looking forward to Tanzania. Found this post very interesting...https://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2013/08/whats-wrong-with-this-map.html#more

    1. We are looking forward to Tanzania as well, it should be a very interesting visit. :-)

      That blog post really gives you a good idea of what the world map really does look like compared to the way most commercial maps are produced.

  6. So excited for you two!! First, have a Merry Christmas & great New Year!! You said that 7-10 people do not make it down Mount Kilimanjaro alive. How many people make the journey annually? It does sound like a pretty low percentage. Cannot wait to hear what you find out about what this second eye surgeon has to say. Every good wish for your trip to Tanzania, climbing expeditions & possible “new vision” for you two. Take care. Larry & Nancy

    1. We are pretty excited about this ourselves. It is really starting to feel real!

      About 30,000 or so people attempt to climb Kilimanjaro every year, so yes, 7 to 10 people not making it off Kilimanjaro alive is a pretty low percentage. It is very important to know the signs of altitude sickness and to pay very close attention to them as they are the warning signs. The guides also watch very closely and they regularly check your blood oxygen level, if it is starting to get too low they watch you even more closely and if it gets to a certain level they will take you down immediately. No one knows how they will react until you get into those upper levels so we will have to wait and see how things go. The most important thing is to drink lots of water and to move at a very slow even pace. Hopefully with us doing Mount Meru first, it will make a huge difference with getting acclimatised.

      We are also looking forward to what this second eye surgeon has to say, unfortunately it will have to wait a little longer. More to that story in today's post.

      Thank you for the Christmas wishes, and we wish you both a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year as well.


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