As I mentioned on the previous post, our Tanzanian adventure was a mixture of cultural shock and magical life changing experiences.
My DH really wanted to do this for obvious reasons, being a wild life photographer, and saved for 18 months to do it. I, on the other hand was a snivelling wreck of fear that I would either be eaten by a man/woman eating lion, contract a fatal disease or get stuck in a country that was in the middle of a military coup.
By the time we came to board the plane at Heathrow my anxieties had hit an all time high. I hadn't flown on a long haul flight since I was 21 and wasn't looking forward to an 8 hour flight.
Needles to say it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
The arrival at Nairobi was somewhat of a shock though, I hadn't expected the departure 'lounge' for the connecting flight to Kilamanjaro to resemble a cross between a depressed school classroom and a Bedouin tent.
My initiation into travelling outside Europe had begun, and I wanted to record my feelings every step of the way.
We flew to Kilimanjaro in a plane that resembled something I'd flown to Jersey in when I was 15, only I'm sure the take off didn't threaten to split it in half with all that noise and vibration.
Needless to say we arrived safely, but to a reception of masked airport attendants and immediately had to fill out medical forms with regard to the Swine flu pendemic. We also discovered the my DH's bag had been lost somewhere in the flight transfers, not a good strart. It did catch up with him 4 days into our holiday, thank goodness.
Finally we made it to our tour vehicle and were on our way to the first hotel. This was our first taste of Africa.
A snatched shot on the outskirts of Arusha
We were both overwhelmed by the real life sights and sounds of Africa as opposed to what we'd seen on TV, for a while the journey, of about an hour, felt quite surreal.
But this was the sight that I had conquered my fears to see, a Massai village, later in the holiday we had the privilege of visiting a village and I was spellbound.
We finally arrived at our swish, luxuriant hotel, which was situated at the end of a dirt road, where people were living their daily lives and children were having their morning break in school.
I found the contrast of going though the lodge gates into luxuriant watered gardens very hard to come to grips with, when people on the other side of the gate had to collect their daily water in large drums on their bicycles or on their heads. Also the rainy season had been extremely dry this year and many of the crops had failed. I'm still trying to process this.
The following morning we left for the Ngrongoro crater and the start of the game drives, which will be in the next post.