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Vicki’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 17 Sep 2013

Location: Penrith, England

MapIt's nearly a month since my last update - in the words of Fairport Convention - who knows where the time goes?
So a brief summary of the rest of my expedition:
After our Longido trek we had a day's safari in the Tangariro National Park. This was awesome! Last time I was in Tanzania I was disappointed not to have seen elephants - this time I saw loads! Also saw lions, zebra, wart hogs, giraffe, buffalo, impala, baboons. One day, when I can't walk so high and far, I might do a longer safari, so I can watch the animals for a long time.
The tent saga - I wont go into the details, but it took up a lot of time and energy, I nearly bought a new one, but it was a fake, and finally got a taxi at 6.30 in the morning to the Messerani Snake Park, 25 Km out of Arusha, and picked one up from another expedition leader, just in time for our next camping trip, to the community project.
We spent 5 days at a village called Poli, about an hour from Arusha, at the base of Mount Meru. We camped in the garden of the village chairman - Mr Pelangyo, and his wife, who were excellent hosts. Each day we walked up to the local primary school - Nkoakirika - to help build a new toilet block. This was mainly labouring, but some of the students also learned how to lay bricks. On the Sunday morning we attended a 3 hour Pentecostal church service, then in the afternoon there was a football match between us and the local village children - they won!
The 5 days we spent here were some of the best of the month - it was an amazing experience to live in the local village and meet the people - something you never get to do as a tourist. We walked up to the project every day through banana plantations, under planted by coffee and beans. Although we were self catering using trangias, Mrs Pelangyo cooked us a meal on the last night, which was delicious.
After one night spent back in Arusha, we then started our trek up Kilimanjaro. This took a total of 8 days, during which many people felt ill, and the success of the group was due to a combined effort of everyone concerned, as well as the fantastic guides and crew who led us and looked after us in every way.
After Kili we spent a couple of nights in Moshi, which is at the base of Kili. It was good to have proper toilets again, although the facilities for some of weren't great - 3 of the boys and myself had to share a wash basin which was in reception - literally! We then had a ten and a half hour bus journey back to Dar Es Salaam.
We spent one night there, at the same hostel, and it was great to have en suite facilities, including a hot shower. Then we travelled north to Bagamoyo, for some rest and recuperation.
Bagamoyo is a small fishing village on the Indian Ocean and it was lovely and warm. We stayed in a very luxurious hotel, where the rooms were individual buildings in the huge gardens, right next to the ocean. We spent our last couple of days in Tanzania lazing on the beach and sorting ourselves out ready for the return to "normality".
We finally got back to the UK on 7 August. What an amazing month! Lots of ups and downs (literally and otherwise!) but I think it's changed us all in some way or other. So the question is - what next? I don't know yet, but I will be doing something exciting in the future, that's for sure!