Church in the tiny village of Sinica, Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Pogradec, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Shkoder, Albania on May 19th!

Friday, January 22, 2021

It was a long, interesting day!

I believe that every day here in Tanzania will be an interesting day. There is so much going on, everywhere we look!

We will be doing our four night Mt. Meru hike starting on Monday, and our seven night Mt. Kilimanjaro hike starting on February 2. So Justin said we had better get our gear set up for the two hikes. For that, we had to do the 80 km (50 mile) drive from Arusha to Moshi.

But first, some breakfast...

Scrambled egg with veggies.

Our cooking facilities!
A single burner on top of a propane tank.

We set off at just after 10:30am. Like I said, it's only 80 kms (50 miles), on the main highway, but we knew from the airport ride into the city that you don't move very fast. You might get up to 80 km/h (50 mph) at some point, but there will soon be something to slow you down.



Everybody carries stuff on their head.



There are lots of motorcycles!

Scenery along the way.

It took just over two hours to do the drive.

The city of  Arusha, where we are staying, is closest to Mt. Meru. The city of Moshi is closest to Kilimanjaro. Since the vast majority of trekkers are doing Kilimanjaro, not Meru, the gear rental places are located in Moshi.

Here's the low down on gear rental...

First of all, it's very expensive. And we knew that. In fact everything about doing Kilimanjaro is very expensive. But, this is a once in a lifetime bucket list thing for us, so we are trying to ignore the expense, and just look forward to the experience.

The gear you are renting is top quality mountaineering equipment. All brand name stuff that has been imported from the U.K.

Most travelers do not bring sufficient equipment with them, so these places rent everything you might need. From boots to hats to sunglasses, and everything in between.

And of course we travel light. So we needed a lot of stuff.

The problem is that some of it you might not even use. But our guy Justin says that you have to be prepared for anything. Kilimanjaro is very unpredictable, and you don't want to miss making it to the top because you didn't have the right equipment. Justin has climbed Meru twice, and Kilimanjaro four times. And we trust his judgement.

Godfrey on the left, our guy Justin in the middle, and Massoud on the right.

At the gear rental place.
They have EVERYTHING.

Everything is priced out per item per trip. So because we are doing both Mt. Meru, and Mt. Kilimanjaro, we have to pay for everything twice. Fortunately, they are letting us keep everything in between trips so we don't need to return to the store and then pick it up again.

We needed sleeping bags, thermal underwear, snow pants, winter jackets, rain ponchos, a day pack for me, hiking poles for Ruth, waterproof winter gloves, thermal socks, and waterproof duffle bags to put the gear in. (The porters then carry the duffle bags.). We have some gloves and socks with us, but they told us they were not warm enough. You need to be prepared for anything.

I knew it was expensive, but we were a bit shocked when it was all added up. I did check some online prices and the prices seem competitive with what I read. Oh, and of course everything is in $USD, so we need to add a big foreign exchange premium to Canadian dollars. And, while everything is priced in $USD, if you didn't bring $USD cash with you, you need to pay the equivalent in local Tanzanian Shillings. And no, they do NOT take credit cards.

So, the gear is costing $215 USD per person, per trip. Ouch.

I'll do the math for you... it was $1,166 CAD by the time foreign exchange and ATM fees were added in. Just to RENT the gear. It came to 2 million shillings. Justin joked that he could buy a house here for that kind of money. And he's not far off.

But, when you see photos of us all decked out in our cold weather mountaineering gear at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro... it will all have been worth it.

All of this trying stuff on, and making sure we had the right stuff and going to the ATM took a lot of time. We hadn't had lunch yet, so it was getting on past midafternoon by the time we got out of there and stopped at a chicken place.

The cook!

I had a Kilimanjaro beer.
2500 shillings ($1.40 CAD, $1.10 USD) for a half liter bottle.
At least beer is cheap!

The chicken is underneath the salad bits.
Total for all three of us, the food bill was 20,000 shillings ($11 CAD, $8.65 USD).
And the chicken was delicious!

And then the two hour drive back home. It was a long day.

Today is a relax day! We are meeting friends Marti and Ryan for lunch, and they have invited us back to their hotel to sit out and use their swimming pool!

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And in Canada...



14 comments:

  1. Still cheaper than buying all that gear by far! But yes, ouch!

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    1. For sure! And, it is way better than trying to haul all that stuff around with us on our travels when we would only need it for the occasional hike. As they say on the American Express commercial, the experience will be priceless! :-)

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  2. Sounds like you are all set with the gear, pricey but needed. I am excited to see your travels up both mountains. You are definitely brave people! Stay safe!

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    1. The only way we will know if we are all set with the equipment is when we actually need and have it, lol! We are interested in seeing how much of it we will actually use.

      Brave or stupid, we not sure which! :-P

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  3. Can't wait to hear all about your hikes, and hopefully you will get to use all/most of that pricey gear. Definitely pays to be prepared! Are you staying in different lodging after you've completed your hikes? I can't see Ruth enjoying that kitchen for long!

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    1. We have mixed feelings about using all that equipment because if we do then it will mean that it was pretty cold up there and chances are that it will be! We just hope that it won't be real windy. Yes, it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

      Yes, we will stay at the same accommodation after both hikes but not for a long time because we will be off exploring other parts of the country as well. It definitely isn't my dream kitchen, lol but I had set my expectations low and I am always adaptable so I will manage to make our meals in that kitchen. I just have to pretend that we are camping. :-)

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  4. Like you said expensive but the trip of a Lifetime makes it worthwhile.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. Definitely! We have to change our mindset for a little while because we keep looking at each other and say what are we doing and shake our heads at each other because this is the most money that we have ever spent to do a trip but it is a trip of a lifetime and the experience will be priceless.

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  5. I had to laugh, the picture titled "Godfrey on the left, our guy Justin in the middle, and Massoud on the right" reminded me of the song by Stealer, "Stuck In The Middle With You". :)

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  6. Have to say equipment here wasn't something I had considered. Be interesting to hear after your trip what was needed and if you have figured a cheaper way to do it

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    1. I would think that the majority of the equipment that you need to do Kilimanjaro is quite important, especially for summit day! It will interesting to see how much of it we use too but they say it is better to have it and not use it then to need it and not have it, it could potentially stop you from reaching the summit if the weather is bad/freezing cold and windy.

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  7. What an exciting day! Must have been fun choosing and trying on all the equipment you needed. To me, price is not an issue once I have decided on something that is a one in a lifetime experience and ensure the safety and success of that adventure. Justin seems to be the right man for this trip. I hope he doesn’t fail you. Safe travels!

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    1. I don't know that I would say it was an exciting day but it was an interesting day. There sure was a lot of equipment and we had to make sure that we got what we really thought we needed without getting it all. Wow, that sure is a lot of money for just renting equipment but we know that the experience will be priceless.

      Justin is definitely the right guys to have around, and to give us a helping hand.

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