Cows ready to be milked near, Stamullen, Ireland.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Stamullen, Ireland.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Back to the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland!

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Mt. Meru hike... what did it cost? And other stuff...

We've spent the last two days recuperating from the Mt. Meru hike, and preparing ourselves for our upcoming Kilimanjaro hike that leaves on Tuesday February 2nd. 

In fact on Friday, we never even left the apartment! 

Our host Justin has a local girl Janet (24, we think) come in to cook and clean and she looks after our laundry as well. It's pretty inexpensive to have this all done for us when you get the local prices, so we give her a 10,000 shilling ($5.50 CAD, $4.30 USD) tip every now and again which pretty much doubles her daily wage.

Janet is a really pleasant girl to have around, and she doesn't speak any English but she's helpful with trying to teach us some Swahili. She also doesn't mind Ruth helping her with the cooking so that Ruth can learn how the locals cook.

Janet, and our kitchen.

Some kind of spinach dish.

Potatoes, fried chicken, spinach, guacamole, and ugali, a cooked mixture of water and corn flour.

Month end is here, so I was calculating our expenses for the Mt. Meru hike in preparation for our month end expenses report tomorrow.

We used Rwalinda Tours to organize our trek, and we are using them for our Kilimanjaro trek as well. They've been really good, and we don't have any hesitation in recommending them. The only surprise came with the equipment rental which was far more than we expected. Having said that, we didn't know what to expect, but it was still a surprise. Since then, we have found out that some companies will include the necessary equipment with the deal, but it takes a lot of shopping around. Also, there is a used equipment market here in Arusha where some gear can be purchased pretty cheap (probably cheaper than what we paid to rent it) but it would not be in as good of condition.

In doing the research, we found that a four day, three night Mt. Meru trek is priced anywhere from $750 USD to $1,150 USD. 

We paid $850 USD ($1,075.25 CAD) per person, plus a 5% fee for using a credit card to pay for it. 

So that came to $1,785 USD ($2,258 CAD).

Had we paid cash, we would have saved the 5%, but we would have paid 2.5% in bank fees to take the cash out of a foreign ATM, plus the hassle of carrying all that cash around. Plus, by using the Visa card, we got points as well. Essentially, the cost probably comes out as a wash, so the card was simply more convenient.

The rental gear we are keeping for the Kilimanjaro hike, so at least we get to charge out some of the cost towards Meru, and some towards Kili (as the locals call it). So the Mt. Meru portion of the rental gear came to 845,000 shillings ($466 CAD, $365 USD).

Then there was the tips for the crew that came to 410,000 shillings ($226 CAD, $177 USD).

Total cost per person was $1,163 USD ($1,475 CAD).

Ruth and Justin heading into town.

We went into town yesterday with Justin and we met up with Marti and Ryan, the couple who we had met on he airplane coming here. They just finished their Kili hike while we were doing Meru, so we got together for lunch. 

They completed the hike, but two of their group of five did not. As for them, they were affected by altitude sickness, with both of them nauseous and with headaches and Marti needed help getting down the mountain. These are young (around 30) people who are in good shape. You just never know how the altitude will affect you. But, they did it, and we are proud of them! Hopefully we will also be successful!

Afterwards, we walked to that gear market and we bought a used backpack for 30,000 shillings. The guy originally asked for 120,000 and I laughed at him and started walking away. He was quick to ask what I was willing to pay, and I said 30,000. He said that was too cheap and tried for 60,000 then 50,000. I stood my ground, and eventually he accepted the 30,000 ($16.50 CAD, $13 USD).

Then we went to the big expensive American style supermarket. 

Last time we were there we had found some relatively inexpensive snacks that we liked, so bought some more for the Kili hike. They have an amazing selection of worldwide goods, but most of it is ridiculously expensive. As an example, I'll show you the pure Canadian maple syrup...

Yes, you can buy pure Canadian maple syrup here in Arusha, Tanzania. Who would have thought? But you will pay 51,500 shillings ($28.40 CAD, $22.20 USD) for a 250 ml bottle. Yikes! We love our maple syrup, but not that much!

There are a lot of market stalls.

There are motorcycles and minibuses zooming everywhere.
You need eyes in the back of your head!

Justin, buying some fresh beans.

We looked at the fish, but decided that the flies might eat it before we could!

We decided on the beef.
Not sure the place would pass Canadian inspection standards!
But, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Temperatures here in Arusha are hovering around 34C (93F), but there is very little humidity. It's actually quite comfortable.

4 Pack of Flickering Flame LED Solar Torch Lights. Already a great price, plus there is an 8% off coupon showing on the product page.

And in Canada...


  1. Considering the number of days and nights plus the accommodations, then wages that really wasn't too bad a price. Again it is a Once in a lifetime trek.
    Are there ways of preparing yourselves for the Altitude changes?
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. We think that it is expensive but then again we normally spend so little the majority of the time that we are quite out of touch with what most people would think is pretty normal/average. Yes, it is definitely a trip of a lifetime and we spend a lot of time being very frugal in order to save for some of these special times. We will enjoy the memories for a lifetime. :-)

      The only way to prepare yourself for the altitude changes is to try to acclimatise to the higher altitudes as much as possible, such as us doing the Mt. Meru hike to prepare for the higher altitudes of Kilimanjaro. Also taking the 7 day hike opposed to any of the shorter ones will help make a big difference. The only other things you can do it try to eat lots, drink lots of water and to hike pole-pole (slowly).

  2. Congratulations on your Very strenuous hike. I was wondering if your guides have a Oximeter to monitor your oxygen levels in case you have troubles ?

    1. Yes. We were tested three times in total. Passed with flying colors!

  3. Well, you two are in good shape for Kili- doing Meru first. Nice to see your foo foo was being made with corn flour not cassava-- something good for you in it. Did she show you maybe you are suppose to roll a ball of ugali and dip in the spinach-- thats village life in Africa. Loved all the news about your trek and looking forward to the big climb!! You know us slightly from Sal and Barbs a decade ago possibly-- best wishes carol

    1. Being in good shape doesn't guarantee that you will have a successful summit. Many people who have been in great shape haven't made it to the top, where others in not as good a shape have. The biggest thing you have to do, is not to overestimate the power of the mountain. It is altitude sickness that normally stops people from not making the summit, so all we can do is hope that we can do it.

      Actually from the research we have done, both flours can be very good for you and can provide the body with many important nutrients but I tend to think that cassava flour is better for you. No, she did not show us that but I did watch the guys eating the ugali and they made balls with it.

      We are glad that you enjoyed our blog posts from our trek and of course there will be plenty more once we return from Kilimanjaro in just over a week's time.

      Yes, we I think we remember you! :-)

  4. Your maple syrup in Africa is like finding copper from Michigan in Wales when we visited the copper mines there.

  5. Well done Kevin and Ruth. It has been amazing. Good luck with Kili.

    1. Thank you very much! Are fingers are crossed for a successful summit.


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