African Safari, Day 3, Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro crater above, and some scenic views heading around and down below. The crater has trapped an entire ecosystem of animals within it.

Standing with the hood popped up, we descended into the unbelievably gorgeous crater with the sun rising in the background.

This was the first elephant we saw, huge tusks, we were told that the bulls don’t mind eating out in the open like this, because there’s really no match for their ass kicking power around.

Baboons for days! There were many more animals along the way, but for the most part I just watched and enjoyed it without snapping too many photos.

We went back to Mama Simba Homebase for a few more days, contented with our experience, and flew home not long after. Tanzania forever has our hearts.

Finally a view of Kilimanjaro from the plane, it looks like a cloud, but there is actually a peak hidden in there. Below we are cruising over some place in the middle east.

Sunrise and nearly home.

African Safari, Day 2, Serengeti to Ngorongoro Crater

We wake to a sunrise trek to see some of the animals which are more active when it’s cooler outside (namely lions!).

And what do ya know, we met up with a few of these predators! The lion let out a low rumble when we got relatively close, so we didn’t test his resolve any further. We went back to camp for a breakfast and then head out to the Ngorongoro Rhino Lodge where we’ll be staying for the night.

Wildebeest skull in the front of the camp. Breakfast below was great.

The Serengeti Safari Camp was just about the coolest thing ever, even had running water. On the way, we also stopped by a Masai village. For the small fee of 40$ they did a nice little song and dance for us that we got to awkwardly participate in.

The son of the village chief took us into his cow dung and stick hut, inside was a smoldering fire boiling water. The smoke inside was nearly suffocating.

I definitely thought their shoes were ingenuitive, made from old tires.

They even had a classroom of adorable children sing for us with a strategically placed donation box in the middle.

All in all, we were happy to participate.

 

African Safari, Day 1, Serengeti

We lucked out and got to see the start of the Great Migration in the Serengeti. It was well within the rainy season and the grasses looked vibrant and green. The areas we traveled through were some of the most idyllic and gorgeous landscapes I’ve ever seen. This is truly paradise on earth.

Last stop before we hit the four wheel tracks heading up to the national parks, Serengeti being the first stop.

We pass a few Masai villages along the way.

In the distance you can see a few Masai men herding their cattle by a lake that appears only part of the year, on google maps the ground can be seen as brown with no lake present.

Innumerable quantities of wildebeest, zebra, gazelle and others stretch to the horizon. It’s hard to describe the surreal vastness of it all.

Here is a pride of lions complete with lil simbas.

I’d like to imagine this as pride rock from the movie The Lion King.

We made it to our camp by dusk, had a nice dinner and a bit of restless knowing there were predators roaming around us.

 

 

Trek up Kilimanjaro, Day 6, Mweka Camp back down

We got a perfectly good view of Kilimanjaro without a hint of cloud cover, looks like those summitting today will have the great view.

While walking through these easy paths, we got to see a few types of monkeys, and truly enjoyed the leisurely walk back to civilization.

Mitsy officially signing us out at the ranger station.

Some soda to celebrate, below we are at the True View Tanzania office (our guiding company) and ended up buying some Tanzanite while we were there, for a special occasion coming up :)

We paid the local taxi (a motorcycle guy) to take us to Union Cafe for a victory coffee, and ended up booking a safari with our buddy Griff to leave the following day. Below is a model of the mountain in the Union Cafe front porch.

Trek up Kilimanjaro, Day 5, Summit day

I’m thankful for Matty, our guide, for taking these photos. Mitsy and I were far too preoccupied with putting one foot in front of the other to bother with picture taking. While it was tough, we reached the summit, Uhuru Peak, and got down safe and sound. We had an opportunity to take the summit a day earlier than expected, and we went for it. Unfortunately, luck put the snowstorm on our summit day.

Pictured below is the remaining glaciers atop Kilimanjaro. One day, these glaciers will have melted away due to the warming climate, some say as soon as 2030. I’m glad to have seen them in my lifetime.

And here we are, at the roof of Africa. Mitsy and I summitted just after 8 AM on 3/29/2018. As soon as we got there, we started back down. No time to waste when the temp is well below freezing. What an amazing experience.

We hiked back down to Barafu Camp, slept a few hours, and then continued on to our camp for the night, a 4 hour walk back into the jungle to Mweka Camp.

These are the gurneys used to take down the sick from Mount Kilimanjaro, usually due to broken bones or altitude sickness. It actually takes 8 people to safely take someone down using the gurney.

Alpine desert, to moorland, back to the jungle. It took us 5 days to make it to the top, and just a day to get down…

Trek up Kilimanjaro, Day 4, Baranco Camp to Barafu Camp

Beautiful morning and smiles going into day 4, we eat a hearty breakfast and are off up the most ‘technical’ section of Kilimanjaro, the Baranco Wall.

Matty showing us the route up the Baranco wall, below you see it’s steep and jagged face, climbing it was no big deal though we soon came to find out.

Slow and steady, or “pole pole”. Below, an 86 year old man from Colorado was attempting to summit Kilimanjaro, he ended up making it as far as Barafu Camp but ended up turning around, good on him for getting this far.

Mitsy and I at the famed “kissing” rock, a spot where you have to hug the rock to pass it given the narrow footing.

Karanga Camp in the distance, down a valley and back up for a lunch break.

David and his fresh ingredients hooking us up with the best thing a tired hiker could ask for, french fries!

A friendly sign reminding us that our lives are more important than the glory of the summit. At this point going forward, you start to really see who can tolerate altitude, and who cannot. So far we are ok, but we’re definitely feeling it as we leave Karanga Camp and continue onward.

Taking in some of the more striking views as we near Barafu Camp, by this point we are well above the height of any mountain in the lower 48.

We made it to the last camp before our summit attempt, Barafu Camp. We spend the rest of the day relaxing, eating, and mentally prepping ourselves for the thin air above.

Talking story with Griff. Below, Mitsy trying to stay hydrated while battling with thin air and breathing difficulty. We spend time to focus on breathing, eventually realizing that while the air is thin, there’s plenty of oxygen for us. Unfortunately though, we struggled a bit with some of the unsavory symptoms of high altitude, headache, nausea, and lack of appetite.

Before heading in for the night, I took some time lapse photos of the full moon-ed night, below you can see Mawenzi peak, one of the three dormant volcanic lumps on this mountain.