04-Oct-2015 -- Hakuna Matata - A bonus hunt after a great climb of Kilimanjaro
This is my first confluence point in Tanzania, and I am very glad that I had an extra day after a great trip to the top of Kilimanjaro.
Together with Felix and Harold, we had a great 6-days trek of Mt. Kilimanjaro supported by Zara Adventures (photo 10). Because I was not sure when the climbing trip would finish, so it work out nicely having an extra day in Moshi.
Because the car was organized through Zara Adventures, so a helpful guide named Hamisi whose mannerism just like Timon, the meerkat in Lion King, was assigned as part of the deal and Hakuna Matata is his motto. This confluence point is located on the western slope of Kilimanjaro in Masai country, both Hamisi and the driver Halid assumed that the purpose of my trip was to visit Masai villages to see a culture show even though I showed them the point on the map at the hotel lobby.
One handicap I had for this hunt was not having my regular GPS since I did not plan on a hunt. Instead I had to use the GPS App of my Nokia phone for navigation which was much harder to use.
This point is located about 35 km GPS distance from Moshi. A good part of the drive repeated the route we took 6 days earlier to our starting point of our trek – the Lemoso gate. Even though we came from the south, by the time I checked the bearing we already were 3-4 km north of the point. As we tried to drive toward the point on a sandy dirt road, it started raining and the road quickly became a muddy mess resulting in very poor traction and forcing us to turn back. Reluctantly, we started driving back and I declined the offer to see a culture show for $40.
On the way back, as we were passing west of the confluence point, I noticed a road heading in the right direction, so we turned into it. As we were getting about 2 km from the point, we met a couple of villagers on the road and they indicated that this is a reserve area and we did best to go to a nearby lodge to seek permission to enter the area. Given it is wide open area, I would prefer to press on, but was outvoted by Halid and Hamisi to play it safe.
Following the road, we entered the compound of a rather fancy resort. The guard called the manager and I explained my desire to hike about 1.5 km to take photos, and was told it can be done under proper protection of a guard and the said service requires $50. I was not going to let this charge stand in the way after coming more than 7,000 km. After having paid off the fee for entering the reserve, four of us started the hike.
As it turned out, this area has many zebras and we pretty much followed one herd to get near the confluence point. Getting all the zeros was maddening hard because the GPS of the phone is just not suited for such purpose. By the time we were done, it was already 2:30 pm, and I had a 4:30 pm flight while being still about 50 km away from the airport.
Thanks to Halid who is an expert driver, I made it to the airport within 30 minutes before my flight took off, including a 15-minutes delay toward the end when the highway was cleared to wait for the President’s convoy to pass by.
All in all, a great line-hunting trip post Kilimanjaro climb. I got to see the Masai villages, and a little bit of a game reserve. I was very glad that I had the extra unplanned day.
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 2 – Finding the route was not easy in the absence of a decent GPS and map, otherwise it should be an easy approach (1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
Scenery: 4 – Hilly foothill of Kilimanjaro and a classic savannah with many zebras zooming around (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: 4 – True rural Tanzania and Masai country, nice folks with wonderful features (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)