September 19th, 2012. It’s time to leave.
The alarm clock goes off at 3:30am, a quick breakfast and we all go to Marco Polo Airport in Venice to catch the flight to Amsterdam and from there the connecting flight to Kilimanjaro.
In all truth the adventure has already started few months earlier when we had to deal with all different vaccinations and visit required to go on this voyage and the actual trip planning as well. Once in Amsterdam, here come the first problem: our connecting flight is two hours late and we need to patiently wait for the new boarding time.
We land in Tanzania at 10:30pm and after filling out the necessary custom and immigration forms and retrieving our luggage, we walk toward the exit where our contact is waiting for us.
We feel lost for few seconds as there are so many people with all sort of different signs waiting for other passengers until I see our man, John, on the right side and I soon recognize him since he’s holding a board that reads “Robert x 3”. After welcoming us we walk towards the exit where the car we have rented for this occasion is waiting for us: a Jeep Land Cruiser adapted to African terrains that takes us straight to our hotel.
It’s dark outside and there’s not lighting in the streets so that we can barely make out the places we are crossing in the moonlight.
Only after several miles we finally get to the city and even if its’ late, it is still quite chaotic and frenzied. John keeps driving through town when he suddenly turns on a narrow dirt road (where the hell is he taking us??) and stop in front a portal. A doormen opens up the two sides of the main door and let us in.
The feeling inside is totally different: there are green flowerbeds, benches and palms, a very pleasant place. We get the keys to our rooms and we all go to sleep, not before having decided what time we all meet in the morning.
September 20th, 2012 8:00am, we wake up, have breakfast and at 9:30 we head towards the entrance of the hotel to meet with John. We are going to take it easy today by visiting the city and buying souvenirs so we come to now a place in the middle of the city that is the exact halfway point between Cairo and Cape Town. John takes us to the bank where we can exchange our money needed to purchase water and pay for our grilled chicken based lunch, which is supposed to be some form of welcoming in Tanzania. We stroll around the city and later decide to go back to the hotel where we spend some time sitting at the outdoor tables planning the following day. John has few advices on what to bring and on much to tip our porters and guides. We end the night with a quiet dinner at the hotel restaurant and then go to sleep feeling the excitement for day ahead of us.