Kilimanjaro Diary- the beginning
All too soon it was time to depart for Tanzania - the heady excitement of not knowing what lay ahead!
Where's the bags? (10 Oct 2000) "We land at Kilimanjaro Airport at 8.15 pm, queue for a while at health & passport check desks, and then go to collect our bags.
We wait while some people's luggage appear, but none of it belongs to anyone from our group. Em quietly announces that ours has missed the connection in Amsterdam.
A few enquiries reveal that it will be with us maybe tomorrow, or at least within 3 days. Luckily most of us have got basic equipment with us, enough for the first day or two.
Two buses take us to Ndarakwai tented lodge - a good 2 hours along a very bumpy track. It's nearly midnight when we arrive and are shown to our tents. These are much more luxurious than we expected - proper beds, paraffin lamps and towels! But the toilets make aeroplane loos seem like luxury - we'll have to get used to that.
After a 3-course dinner it's time for bed."

After a superb breakfast and a shower, the last for many days, it was time to get back in the buses which had brought us from the airport, and make our way over bumpy and dusty (no words can do justice to the dust!) roads to the National Park gate (Londorossi, to the west of the mountain) where we signed in.
 Then another bus journey to the end of the road, and the walking started. 
"Lunch is a spread of bread, salad, crisps and biscuits, and hot drinks -plenty of food and nicely filling"
It was delightfully warm and sunny that first day, as we made our way up through rain forest (with a startling display by Colobus monkeys en route) to our first camp at 2600m. Here we picked our tiny two-man tents and learned how to get comfortable. Paul, our leader from Charity Challenge, tells us about our day tomorrow.
To Big Tree camp, 11 Oct 2000