The Vistula River runs through Warsaw, Poland.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Warsaw, Poland.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Not sure yet.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Mt. Meru, Tanzania hike... day one

I'm going to post each day of our four days away as a separate post. But I will try to post twice a day to get us caught up, so try to remember to check back so you don't miss anything! 

Lots of photos for you. Don't forget that you can click on the photo to make it full screen!

So, day one started with us being picked up at our apartment by the safari vehicle from our tour operator at Rwalinda Tours. They arrived with two of our porters, and our head guide.

Here is a photo of our transportation to the park...


As our regular readers know, we tell it like it is. You can see the garbage on the road outside our apartment compound. Yes, like Mexico and Turkey, there is a bit of a trash problem in some areas here in Tanzania. Here where we are staying, they are actually pretty good, and that trash will be mostly cleaned up by the end of the day.

Rwalinda Tours.

Our transportation.

We headed out of the city of Arusha, with a steady view of Mt. Meru.

Ready to go!
Ruth, Kevin, Bazil (our cook), Robert and Abdallah (porters).


The entrance to Arusha National Park.

We made it to the first entrance gate where our guide Mudy got our paperwork sorted. There was a little problem because their computer system wasn't working properly and we had to hang around for an hour or so waiting. You have to be patient in Tanzania... things don't always go as smoothly as you would like!

Ruth, at the Ngongongare Gate of Arusha National Parl.

I have mentioned before that being a tourist in Tanzania is not cheap. The National Parks are expensive for foreigners and are priced in $USD, so when you book anything through a tour company (safaris or treks) a big part of their expenses are simply to pay the park fees to get you in there!

You will have to click this photo and zoom in on it to see the fees that I am talking about.

Mudy got all the paperwork sorted, and we set off to the interior entrance gate, the Momella Gate. 

We had only been in the park for a few minutes, when our driver pulled over. In the distance, we could see quite a few animals. Now, they were VERY far away, but it was still exciting to see all of these exotic animals in a natural setting. I zoomed in as best I could for these shots...

Lots of buffalo.

A zebra!

Baboon in front of the buffalo.

Zebras.

Too many animals all together!

Warthogs.

We didn't stop long  because as I said, the animals were really far away. 

We continued on, but it wasn't long and we had to stop again. There was a black and white colobus monkey on the road. Our guide said that this is not normal, and the monkey was either sick or old, or a combination of the two.

Black and white colobus monkey. 
He does look a bit old?!

It was about 20 minutes later of driving on a rough dirt road that we came to the interior Momella entrance gate.

Here, we were sat outside while some more details were looked after by our guide Mudy. We were given a box lunch that had been purchased in town, and then we were assigned an armed park ranger who would be hiking the first two days with us. 

Arusha National Park contains wild animals. The buffalo are dangerous and can be mean and angry if you get to close to them. There are also leopards in the jungle areas. So an armed ranger is assigned to all groups hiking Mt. Meru.

It hasn't been busy at the parks, and coincidentally a few other groups arrived at the same time as us. They weren't prepared for that, and asked if we would mind sharing a ranger with another group. That other group turned out to be another couple, walking with their own guide. We had no problem with that at all and in fact we were happy to have some company.

We were introduced to honeymooners James and Spencer from California. You'll be hearing their names mentioned here quite a lot over the next couple of days!

Welcome to Arusha National Park.

A blue monkey was watching for our lunch!

Our box lunch!
All gluten free. They are very accustomed to dealing with various food needs.

We set off hiking at about 1:15pm, with an 8 km (5 mile) hike ahead of us that would gain about 914 meters (3000') in altitude. We were a little late because of the computer problems earlier, but our ranger Dominic thought we would be fine to arrive at the Miriakamba Hut before dark.

Baboons are quite common in the park.

Hiking in Tanzania.

An ant highway!

Our ranger Dominic was really good. He didn't hesitate to point out various things along the way. He would stop suddenly and tell us where to look...

A black and white colobus monkey.

I love the zoom lens on my Nikon P900.

They have such a long tail!



The skunk of the monkey family!


Dominic, Mudy, and Ruth.


Us, with our ranger Dominic.

Pretty butterfly.

Mt. Meru is in the clouds

Apparently there are over 400 species of birds in the park, but we really didn't see very many,
This pretty fellow sat and posed for a while.

Ruth, at the giant fig tree, a popular attraction along the hiking trail..

Hiking selfie with Ruth, Spencer, James, and their guide.

Domiic, with Mt. Meru in the clouds.

Buffalo skull along the way.


A  jungle stream.

We arrived at Miriakamba Hut at 6:45pm.

It was a long uphill climb, but we were feeling great. Lots to see along the way, and were were feeling pretty pumped about the coming couple of days.

Miriakamba Huts felt like being at summer camp!

Ruth in our assigned accommodation.

Yes, it had rained for about an hour towards the end of our hike that day. It was actually kind of expected... after all we are in the rain forest at this part of the mountain!

We were told to get ourselves relaxed for the next hour while the porters and our cook also got them selves organized. They had taken a different, shorter route, but were still a bit later arriving than planned. 

There were two other groups on the mountain following the same schedule as us... a larger group of about 11 Russians, and a smaller group of about 7 (some of whom were training for an Everest summit attempt in May.) international people.

Ruth at our dinner table.

I didn't take any photos of dinner that night! But we had some delicious soup! We learned that our cook is very good at making soups! Also, popcorn was a common appetizer. We will talk more about food another post.

We retired to our room and played a couple of games of cribbage, then got ready for the night. They were going to be knocking on our door at 6:30am the next morning!

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And in Canada...



22 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Rita, it sure was a great start to our hike. :-)

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  2. Even if you didn't see many birds, the one pictured is pretty impressive.

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    1. And we didn't see many birds during this hike but hopefully we will see more during our travels here in Tanzania.

      This one sure was beautiful and it is called a Bar-tailed Trogon.

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  3. Absolutely fabulous wildlife! I believe the bird is a Trogan. We saw them in Belize. There are several different colors, but all are stunning. ENJOY your trek! I'm amazed you are able to post your blog from there.

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    Replies
    1. The wildlife was wonderful to see, even though they were so far away. You were correct it is a Trogon, a Bar-tailed one to be exact. Thank you for the help in identifying it. :-)

      We did not post the blog from our trek, it is over and we are back at our apartment now. There were areas where we were able to get a cellular signal and Kevin was able to post a picture of two to Instagram and MeWe but that was all we did while doing our hike.

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    2. Ah, I understand. I was thinking the technology on the mountain (cell, I assumed, but where would the tower be?) was truly amazing! I guess the fact that you posted after the fact means that you survived the trek...lol. I look forward to reading more!

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    3. Yes, it was cellular and we did see a couple of communication towers, not sure if they had cellular on them or if they were just used somehow for communication within the park for the rangers. Two reasons why we didn't post a blog up on the mountains was firstly, we weren't about to take our computers up and secondly and mostly importantly was lack of electricity. The electricity at the huts was all solar so there were no electrical outlets for charging any of our equipment. We had to be very careful with both our phone and our camera because we only had one battery charger to recharge both so we didn't want to run the batteries down too much. It will be even more difficult on Kilimanjaro because we will be up there for seven days rather than the four days we have right now.

      Yes, we survive the trek. Kevin has the next post up already!

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  4. Great pictures. Looks like it will be a good warm up hike.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it certainly will and it will also help with acclimatising us for the higher altitudes on Kilimanjaro, which will hopefully help make us get to the summit. Time will tell!

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  5. Oh this will be fun. Beautiful photos!

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    Replies
    1. Well the first two days were fun, not so much on our third day though!

      The scenery was beautiful, which made taking these pictures so easy. :-)

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  6. Love all the animals and scenery!!!!!

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    1. We are so glad that you enjoyed the pictures Connie and Barry. :-)

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  7. Loved every picture especially of the colobus monkey and theTrogon bird! Learned a lot today. Thanks again for a wonderful armchair view! Safe travels.

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    Replies
    1. We saw so many of those colobus monkeys but we only caught a glance of the blue monkey they seemed pretty shy. That Bar-tailed trogon was beautiful!

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  8. Found you. Had wondered where you went after Turkey so signed onto email posts so I keep up better.Very nice cabins to stay in. Great wildlife shots. I am so happy to see you travelling freely through our lovely world during these covid times. Looks like great weather for climbing hiking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, the best thing to do to follow us it so sign up for our email notifications, that way you receive an email every time a new post goes up.

      The cabins/huts were much better than we were expecting, it is going to be a totally different experience on Kilimanjaro though, there we will be in tents.

      It feels weird to almost be living normally once again. We still try to be careful but it is difficult in a country where they have very little in the way of precautions. It is a good thing that we spend a lot of time outside, as does the majority of the population.

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  9. A great start to your adventure. We love Africa and hope to return for a third visit someday.

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    Replies
    1. It sure is a great start!

      This is our third time in Africa as well and we really enjoy the different cultures and terrain. It is a very diverse continent. We hope that you can also make a return trip here. :-)

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