On February 4th we made our way from gorilla territory in Rwanda to Kili territory in Tanzania. We landed in the not-so-large Kilimanjaro airport and strategically sprinted ahead of our fellow Rwanda Air passengers to be the first through Customs. We were first off the plane, first to fill out our immigration forms, then first in line for passport control. The Immigration Officer kindly pointed us to the visa counter since all foreigners need to purchase a $100 visa in order to enter Tanzania. No problem!
Except one: we had exactly $7 in cash, they didn’t take credit cards, and the only ATM in the airport was located outside Customs and was out service.
Fortunately, Dan was able to reach Simon, who runs SENE (the company we climbed with — more to come on Simon and SENE). Simon told us to sit tight for an hour while he delivered $200 in cash to our driver, Joseph. Joseph was then able to get the money through Customs — actually, the police officers just let him walk right in and hand it to us. Pentagon-esque security.
So two hours after playing gin alone in the deserted Customs area, we made it out of limbo and into Tanzania. A huge thank you to Joseph and Simon for their successful rescue mission.
Joseph drove us from the airport into Moshi town, a suburb in the foothills of Kilimanjaro where we got our first view of the mountain along the way. It was so intimidating to see the giant, snow-capped peak in the distance — I’ll admit I started to have some minor second thoughts about our trek! Maybe gorilla tracking and table mountain day hikes were more my pace? Whose idea was this anyway?? (mine!)
Goodnight, Kili – we will see you in two days…