We arrived at Mt. Kiliminjaro Airport at 3:30 a.m. and after getting a Visa, going through customs,finding our driver, and getting to our lodge, it was nearly 5:00 a.m. and still pitch black outside.
When making the reservation at the hostel, I didn’t know I was going to have to climb a mountain to get to it. The driver/guide had a flashlight and was leading the way to the lodge. Bill was close behind him but, as usual, I was a few yards behind. It was difficult seeing where I was going. I knew I was walking on dirt, that it was a narrow, steep path and kept losing my footing while stumbling over rocks. We kept climbing.
Finally, we get to our room. It was hardly bigger than the bed! The bathroom door didn’t have a handle so you had to kind of punch it open and coax it close. The toilet wasn’t working. The blanket didn’t cover the entire bed. The room was cold. I put on extra layers and passed out thinking, this is too much! I’m too old for this. (Side note: You never know exactly what you’re getting into when you stay at a hostel. We’ve stayed in some great ones and some that I wanted to leave as soon as I walked in.) We had reserved our room for two nights and I kept thinking there’s no way I’m staying the second night. I was willing to lose our money, if necessary. I’m not sure Bill was feeling the same way.
After only a few hours sleep, we wake up so we could start planning a safari. After searching the complex for someone, we finally find Justin, the owner of the lodge, in one of the outbuildings. He greets us with a big hello and invites us into his apartment for breakfast. He opens the shades and we are treated to a nice view of mountains.
Luckily, everything worked out fine. in addition to being the “CEO” of Arusha Lodge Hostel and Adventure (he is the only one running the place), he organized and arranged safaris. Bill had already done some shopping around,so we knew what to expect. Justin was able to offer us what we wanted at a reasonable price.
The icing on the cake, though, was what happened the rest of the day. Justin had his driver pick us up, carry my bags back down the mountain, take us to a bank, stop at a grocery store for personal supplies, get us a SIM card for our phone (going to two stalls when he thought the first one was too expensive), and went to not one, but two hotels until we were happy. He suggested a restaurant that we should try for our evening meal, but unfortunately, we didn’t listen and had an inferior meal. I think we will have another opportunity to try Justin’s suggestion, though, because we will be back in Arusha after our safari.
The next day, off we go to Tarangire National Park.